Rickard Shah The glamorous couture lounge in Binith Shah and wife Elizabeth Rickard's Belgravia store has a high-tech scanner that takes 35 measurements of your foot and creates a 3-D image in a mere 12 seconds. The handmade shoes can be delivered to you in 10 weeks. Three years after they started in the business, Hilary Swank, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Kate Winslet are all devoted fans. Fashionable Londoners sip champagne on gray damask couches while picking swatches for their four-inch-heeled footwear (from $650) and matching handbags (from $865). Shah understands that bespoke is all about customization and discretion: "We stamp shoes with the customers' initials, so sizes won't be visible." 20 Motcomb St.; 44-207/259-5500; www.rickardshah.com.
Edward Green "I can blister someone's foot if I am off even one sixteenth of an inch," says Tony Gaziano, head of design at Edward Green, one of Britain's oldest shoemakers. "But if a tailor making a shirt is a quarter-inch off, no one notices." Gaziano trained at George Cleverley's, the Aston Martin of British shoemakers. His creations, hand-sewn with pig's bristle, can last up to 30 years (from $3,340). And his London boutique, with its bowfront window, is straight out of Dickens. 12-13 Burlington Arcade; 44-207/499-6377; www.edwardgreen.com.
Jimmy Choo Couture It may come as a surprise to most style-conscious women to learn that the company's namesake no longer creates their beloved sling-backs. In 2001, Jimmy Choo sold his ready-to-wear line in order to devote himself to his bespoke creations. He now works out of a dainty little boutique near Marble Arch, filled with row upon row of his shimmering stilettos (from $835), elegant boots, and foot-slimming court shoes. His genius lies in making even the widest foot seem dainty and in creating three- and four-inch heels that have an unparalleled feel of comfort. Choo says the secret is in the balance. His sling-backs never slip off because the arch contours closely to the foot. Choo, a second-generation shoemaker from Malaysia, insists, "You must wear a comfortable shoe so that your blood circulates properly and you feel energized and happy, not tired and pinched." 18 Connaught St.; 44-207/262-6888.
LUCIE YOUNG is a frequent contributor to Metropolitan Home, the New York Times Magazine, and British Elle.