As you walk the streets of Old Town, the seductive display of leather shoes in Hoi An can really tug on your heart strings. But if you aren’t careful, it’s your purse strings that will feel the blow as you realize you have bought a very low quality shoe for a lot more than you should have. A lot of the shoes in Hoi An look beautiful but will only carry you far enough so that you can’t come back and complain. But if your heart is set on a new pair of shoes, or your feet are a strange shape that cause you endless issues, there is hope.
Most of the shoe shops in Hoi An offer both ‘off-the-shelf’ shoes as well as bespoke, so you’ll be able to get shoes made specifically for your feet and no one else’s. Like the tailoring on offer, it can be difficult to know where to begin, and quality can differ greatly from one cobbler to another. Our guide to shoes only covers tried-and-tested shops where we’ve found the quality to be first-rate, so with these in mind you’ll come away with shoes that will last, made from quality materials. And if you try another store and find the results fantastic, please let us know!
Take a look at our recommended shoe shops in Hoi An, for both ‘off-the-shelf’ and bespoke footwear below.
Handmade Shoes: What to Ask
Have an idea of what you want when buying handmade shoes before you go. Otherwise you may be influenced by the sales person or spend a lot of time looking through random catalogues. This also means when you get to the stage of choosing leathers and negotiating prices, you won’t be exhausted. Do not be embarrassed about being clear about what you want or pointing out any defects you notice.
When you choose your leather, check the material isn’t plastic leather stuck onto cheap suede. If the leather does look cheaper, but you love the color or texture, make sure to ask for a strong lining and ensure the lining will be stitched on. Leather linings cost extra but if you get a plastic lining your shoes will start to smell very quickly.
Ask what soles the shoes will have and ask to see an example. Many places have cheap soles that will wear through or pull away no matter how well the uppers are made. Again, the better materials cost extra, but if you want the shoes to last longer, it’s worth it.
Have an idea of how much the shoe should cost going in and make sure the price you are quoted is fair. You can lose nothing by trying to negotiate, but if you push the price too low, be aware it could affect your final shoe.
To learn more about finding good leather products, read our How An Now Travel Guide to Leather Goods.
Best Hoi An Old Town Shoe Shops
Linh Shoe Shop
This little shop located close to the Central Market is a favorite among locals and expats living in Hoi An. Here you’ll find high-quality items at a relatively low price. The staff are friendly and they speak English very well.
The process is usually quite fast and if you are happy with your first fitting, you should be able to walk out in your new shoes in about 24 hours.
Friendly Shop is one of the best known and highest rated shoe stores in Hoi An. It sets itself apart with a 6-month money-back guarantee. In a town of quick-sale cobblers, Friendly is working hard to uphold their reputation. The store has a handful of welcoming women who will go through designs or materials with you. For simpler designs, it will only take 12 hours to produce a shoe but most shoes take a mere 24. This is your safest bet, and at a reasonable price, can you say no?
Shoes Shop Lukey
If you ask many expats in Hoi An what’s their go-to shoe-maker in the city, they will probably point at Shoes Shop Lukey.
Located in the Old Town’s Central Market, this is definitely one of the places you have to check out. With a 5-star review online and great customer service offline, it’s easy to see why they have such a good reputation.
Avana specialize in designer clothes but you’ll find a scattering of female boots, sandals, and heels. They stock a variety of sizes, but for no extra cost, they will make one of their designs to your measurements. It is an interesting combination of off-the-shelf and handmade shoes. The choices are limited, in both design and material, but you will be able to see and inspect samples before you order a pair. Ideally they will have a pair in store that you can put on and happily walk out in.
The Central Market
Many expats have become frustrated over the years with handmade shoes that didn’t last. The quality in the markets is actually equivalent to a lot of the smaller shops, and a lot cheaper. You can still choose your leather, style and specify what you want. It is a bit more of a gamble, but a gamble of 15 USD (345,000 VND) instead of 50 USD (1.1 million VND) is maybe one you are more willing to take. The ladies in the market are far more pushy than in the stores, so go in knowing what you want. If you are worried, ask to see some shoes that need to be collected by other patrons and make your own conclusions.
Outside the Old Town
Tu-Chi Leather Shop
This little corner shop feels like a family cobbler with a sowing machine next to the front door and piles of leather in the corner. If you’re looking for a knockoff pair of Birkenstocks, they have a variety made with good quality leather straps. Their leather samples are the standard array of thin leathers that require lining, but they also have rolls of raw, soft leather that are beautiful. This material doesn’t come at any extra cost, but they only have two shades of brown. The quality here is high, the prices mid-range and the experience very personal. The owner of the shop told me they only make shoes for people who can come for fittings to ensure that the fit is perfect, even if they have your measurements on file.
09 Shoe Shop
This is not a place for buying off-the-rack shoes, their thing is handmade shoes and they do them beautifully. The sales women are friendly, honest and patient with any questions about shoes or Hoi An in general. The choices can become overwhelming so let them guide you to intelligent choices if you are unsure. Their catalogs are rather random and you could be there forever if you don’t know what you are looking for. Instead of the standard rings of sample leather, they have neat piles of it at the back of the shop that you can just run your hands over and enjoy. This shop also offers buffalo leather if you are looking for something different.
If everything else fails, go and grab a pair of shoes from a brand that is known internationally for the level of comfort it provides: Rieker Antistress Shoes.
Luckily, they have a small outlet in Hoi An, where you can find different types of shoes, from sandals to boots. The prices start at around 35 USD (800,000 VND) which means you’ll pay a fraction of what you would pay in a European outlet.
An and Nam are a couple that means business. You will feel incredibly welcome and relaxed in this store surrounded by beautiful shoes. Their service is impeccable, including very clear English. In addition to the standard arrays of leather, they have a variety of buffalo leather which has a slightly different look and feel. It is thicker and spongier, great for boots, especially if you want something a little unusual. If you are in a rush, they can also produce a pair of shoes that can be ready on the same day, but the quality of your handmade shoes may suffer in the rush. For the best of every option, allow for a day or two.
CATS Shoe Shop
While not as famous as some other shops mentioned here, CATS Shoe Shop is known for providing high-quality products at very good prices.
Having a pair of shoes made up in Hoi An is pretty much the same as having a custom made dress: the more famous the tailor, the more expensive the clothing items.
So if you’re looking for a more affordable option without making a compromise when it comes to quality, you should really stop by this shop.
Yaly deals primarily in clothes, but their footwear options deserve a mention too.
The two-story colonial villa that houses one of three Yaly stores is uncluttered and classy, with friendly staff stepping up to help you the moment you cross the threshold. The staff are patient and speak English confidently, happily answering all questions. They have comprehensive catalogs, sorted by style and gender, but are willing to use photos you provide and have an incredible array of leather samples to choose from.
You will get the luxury experience but it comes at a price, with their fairly fixed guide starting with sandals at 65 USD (1.5 million VND) and boots at 110 USD (2.5 million VND). The quality is definitely good, but you find equivalent quality for less.
Frequently Asked Questions
In all honesty, you can get any style you like. All you need to do is show the staff a picture of the shoes you want and they’ll make them for you in just a few days. We would recommend you invest in some high-quality boots or sandals but if you feel like splurging on pointy-toe flats, by all means, do it.
To get shoes made in Hoi An usually takes between one and three days. The first fitting will be after 24 hours and the more changes you want, the longer the process will be.
While you will be able to find cheaper options, you should expect to pay around 50 USD (1.1 million) for a high-quality pair of flats.
You can get any kind of shoe made in Hoi An. Shops may be experienced in certain styles and there will likely be some ‘off-the-shelf’ shoes to choose styles from. But if you’re after a specific design then a sample pair of your own shoes, or photographs of the style you want, will really help.
Yes! Not all shops will be experienced in this service, but we can recommend Linh Shoes for making both orthopedic shoes and sandals. Wherever you go, be sure to take a sample pair of your own shoes if you can. Photos are also a good idea.
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