Kit is a writer, raconteur and inveterate user of vague & pretentious words.
Published April 16th 2012
There is a limited range of expected responses when someone looks at you and exclaims "Nice shoes". In my experience, if the shoes are uncomfortable, the answer is "Thanks, I got them from an expensive and fancy shoe store" and if they're comfortable, it's "Yeah, my old pair of Volleys wore out." The advent of Brisbane-based Vein has created a third possibility: "Thanks, I designed them."
Vein is a unique shoe store for men and women which allows complete customisation of all its styles of shoe. Basically, you pick a style – say, a loafer – and then get to choose the colour and material of each piece of the shoe, from the insole to the toe. You can even customise the stitching and laces. The shoes are then made to order according to your design. With more than 35 styles of shoe and a plethora of colours and materials to choose from, it's hard to decide on one single design.
If you're having trouble visualising all of this, the Vein website has an online shoe designer which lets you fully customise any of their shoes and see the final result before ordering. Don't get carried away, though: a trip to the Vein store in Adelaide Street or the Valley is a must, at least for your first purchase. Vein shoes have their own sizing scale which can only be properly explored and understood through the time-honoured tradition of trying shoes on. It's worth doing, though; I was so comfortable once I found shoes the correct size that I forgot I was wearing them and nearly walked out of the shop.
That brings me to the other reason to visit the store – the staff. Not only were they very understanding about my attempted theft, but they're incredibly knowledgeable about shoes and more than happy to provide a second opinion if you need one. They've clearly had a lot of practice at dealing with indecision.
Vein doesn't sell anything to replace your old Converse – the shoes range in price from $159 to $249. Vein sells well-made, comfortable dress shoes which look exactly the way you want them to. And for that level of customisation, I'm willing to pay a little more.