E. Vogel, the 127-year-old custom cobbler in Lower Manhattan, New York, has a distinct stance about shoes. According to their cobblers, you don't have to have a shoe fetish to need at least one pair of really, truly great shoes; the type of shoes you are proud to wear, the type of shoes you know will be appropriate for any special occasion, the type of shoes you feel taller and prouder just slipping your feet into.

So, when Maggie Barrett decided to spend over $1000 on a pair of custom made oxford dress shoes for her husband, Joel Meyerowitz, she knew that the purchase could either be a big hit, or a really expensive flop. Luckily, Mr. Meyerowitz, a self-proclaimed shoe dummy, loved the gift. "I wore them out of the store, right onto Broadway," said Meyerowitz. "I found myself looking down at my feet every so often to see how they looked."

E. Vogel specializes in custom made shoes for men and women. The cobblers employ a special measuring technique that involves making a cast of the customer's feet to be used for future pairs (nice to have confidence in your product!), use only top quality calfskin and other leather materials, and will design the shoe to your exact specifications.

When you learn everything that goes into the making of only one pair, maybe $1000 isn't so much to pay. Or maybe that's just my aching feet talking.