Superstar and style icon Sarah Jessica Parker’s most famous alter-ego, Carrie Bradshaw says it best: “When I want a ridiculously extravagant pair of shoes, I find a way to buy them.”
Shoes protect our feet. They make walking around outside easier and more comfortable. Let’s face it: we need shoes. However, the need these days, is very closely related to the want. Many women, and yes, men, have become avid shoe collectors. We collect by style, colour, heel height, and designer. It’s not unusual for women and men to pay upwards of $500 for a pair of statement shoes. For some, shoes have become a style signature, and for others, the quest for the perfect bespoke shoe can be elusive. Look no further…
George’s Shoe Repair is the place to go. Don’t let the name fool you. George does excellent shoe repair. He has brought back to life many a pair of shoes that were at death’s door, but George’s talents really lie in custom-made shoes.
George Munizaba was born in Croatia. After the war, he moved to Serbia, and eventually immigrated to Canada. He brought with him his family. One may think that the art of shoe-making is something that would be passed down from generation to generation, but George is a first-generation shoe-maker.
“I went to a college for 4 years to learn how to make and repair shoes. There was a big shoe industry in Croatia and Serbia. I decided to open my own shop.”
Looking for a better life and more opportunity, George and his family arrived in Canada in 1995 where he set up shop in the Toronto area. He has been at his present location for two years.
Stepping into his little shop on Thorold Stone Road, the heavenly and luxurious smell of leather is in the air. You will be welcomed in by his wife, Aleksandra, and his daughter Ana, who also work in the shop. This is truly a family business. Your eyes won’t know where to begin to look. The assortment of shoes is amazing, from traditional to extravagant both in styles and in colours.
When asked just how a pair of shoes are custom-made, George becomes very passionate in his explanation. He goes on to say that, “All of my shoes are hand-made. The only part that is not done by hand is the stitching. I talk to my clients and find out their measurements. We sit down and make many decisions. We decide on style, type of leather, quality of leather, colour, stitching. There is so much that goes into making these shoes.” After George has gone over the details and minutiae with his clients, he goes on to the shoe-forming. This is where the leather is stretched by hand over several hours to ensure that it will be perfectly formed and molded to the precise measurements of each individual.
One might think that the process is very long and drawn-out. Well, from the moment that George takes your measurement and goes to work, the turnaround for your very own pair of bespoke shoes is a mere 5 days. And of course, you get what you pay for. The quality of these hand-made shoes is exquisite and for this near perfection, the cost begins at $500 per pair, well-worth the price, not only for the originality but for the comfort.
When asked if he has ever made a pair of shoes for a celebrity, George answered, laughingly, “Not for any celebrities in this country. But I would like the chance to here in Canada.”
George will be quick to tell the story of the favourite pairs of shoes he has made throughout his career. That’s because these little shoes hold a special place in his heart. When his older daughter Ana began walking, George fashioned her with a beautiful little pair of boots. When his second daughter Sara began school, George custom-made her a pair of shiny, new shoes for that first and important day.
George’s Shoe Repair is a treasure. There are styles to suit everyone’s taste. There are colours that go with everything in your closet, and there are price points to suit everyone’s budget.
As Cinderella has said, “One shoe can change your life!”