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The world is fast changing and it is quite impressive and scary at the same time to be honest. Thanks and to much demise to the industry (i.e. the brands), we now as consumers have the world at our fingertips in just a few clicks. This is great for the consumer. Now more than ever have the choices to get what you want never been more accessible. Even the little mom’s and pop’s shoemakers that only just got computers last year all of the sudden have an e-commerce website. And that goes from Italy to Vietnam and back again. 20 years ago you couldn’t even dream of getting a pair of shoes made out of the little Italian boutique shoemaker shop unless you traveled to Florence or by some crazy chance your local shop actually became a rare stockist of said brand. But now, you grab your phone, you go on Instagram, you find some obscure maker, click on the link to the website and can make a purchase all while sitting on your living room chair watching Netflix and drinking a soda.

The downside to the industry i.e. the actual shoe brands, is that choice is all too prevalent these days which makes brand loyalty nearly a thing of the past and instead what has been replaced by ‘consumer end price’ being the deciding factor in which brand gets the customer’s choice. Those who ship free, pay for your duties and accept free returns, win the game. The only problem is doing this cripples your entire business unless you have 8x margin on them. So here we are. And the more brands that come in, the more choices the customer has, the more the industry suffers. But such is the nature of life and business and everyone has to roll with the punches as only the strong survive in a cutthroat industry.

And that brings me to one of our latest arrivals to the game of shoes.Tōramally. An Indian made, handwelted, dress shoe specializing in patina and classic designs while looking nothing like your typically Indian made shoe (although I am somewhat skeptical about what tanneries the leather comes from as not all Italian leather is top notch nor best for high calibre dress shoes) But in some pictures it looks well enough!

Wanting to prove that Indian made can correlate to ‘well made’, I must say thatTōramally has done a good job at making something above the cut with regards to what we typically see coming out of India in which I won’t try to save face by being kind as what I usually see is a bunch of copycat shoemakers making garbage that is appalling to even see online (just think all of those fake eBay accounts copying everyone’s shoes). ButTōramally rises above this stereotype and is making what would be considered a luxury product and although I have yet to see a pair in person, can see that at least in pictures looks on par with the asking price, which you can see below:

Patina – approx 350 and above
Tattooed – approx 430 and above
Hand-painted – approx 500 and above
The patina is like a regular patina, hand done. The tattooed version is literally just that, a tattoo on the shoe made by the tattoo gun. And the hand painted is like drawing done by hand on the shoe directly.
While not yet having their own site you can find them at their Instagram account or their Facebook page or lastly at the website THAT YOU CAN FIND HERE.
And even though I have NEVER been a fan of anything coming out of India to be quite frank, I can say that I am impressed by these. Let’s see if this will become the next trend?
Justin, ‘The Shoe Snob’

6 thoughts on “Tōramally Shoes – Handwelted out of India!”

  1. The problem here is that the prices of these shoes are not justified.
    1: Consider buying a shoe made in Europe: Labor cost is high and this is a major reason why e.g. Dinkelacker or Crocket & Jones want at least 500 Euro for a pair of shoes. Labor cost in India is ridiculously low, say, 1/20 of European labor costs. This means that profits for Toramally should be extremely high. I wont accept this as a consumer for reason mentioned below in point 3.
    2: Taking into consideration the name with that uncommon O making the impression that it would be some Northern European brand might be cos the company wants to disguise its Indian low-cost country origin.
    3: Back to labor/working conditions: I have seen small workshops in India using dangerous chemicals etc. (tanning, painting…) Who gives me any guarantee that the working conditions are acceptable? Is Toramally guaranteeing that? If so, please forget my third point.

    1. Hello Nikola,

      – We at toramally with best of our intent and knowledge can guarantee that much for sure, that though we are freshers in the industry we try to use the best material possible to our knowledge and understanding. We try and will keep trying to use only the best.
      That’s the reason we try and avoid using Indian Raw materials / Lasts and Leather for making our shoes and import the material and hence end up paying extra that we can save. We want to `be the market leaders in terms of quality because right now its about generating a need of high quality material and we can see it coming really soon when India will start producing high quality material predominantly what we call ‘Export quality’ which is only a small part and is mostly exported today and that’s when we will procure everything from India itself and the prices can be further controlled.
      Trust me when we say that making a really good quality pair in Europe is easier than making it in India, its a struggle from finding good last supplier to the shoe maker only because as a country we do not have a history of shoe making.

      – Also, We do not wish to disguise any one that we are not an Indian label because we are proud of it and we clearly mention it everywhere that we are an Indian brand that’s trying to make a difference.
      ‘The uncommon ō’ is actually an O with a ‘Macron’ which indicates a long vowel or a stressed vowel when pronounced, the aim was only so that the readers pronounce the name correctly.
      With all due respect and for your kind information, The brand is named after a semi precious gemstone called tourmaline which is available in a lot of colors and has its origin in Sinhalese language used in the southern parts of India and Sri-lanka and the O is actually pronounced longer and higher.

      – We partially agree when you mention that labor in India is cheap. But with the knowledge of industry that we can see you posses, you must also be knowing that this is not something that can easily be mass produced also there are very few factories or companies in India who are able to achieve this quality.
      Which means there are no labor available who are already trained to deliver this quality. Hence it becomes a whole new circle for us and this is the reason I mentioned that its easier to get a good quality pair made in Europe than in India, because here even after paying a bomb we might not be able to get a required out put.
      We are training and trying to bring in people who have a knowledge of shoe making either by studying or with experience including students / local road side cobblers, who want to learn or work independently as shoemakers. To summarize it all we have a small workshop cum school where we educate and train people free of cost they are paid certain amount depending on the level
      – Entry
      – Semi Skilled
      – Highly Skilled
      Its not that we are any non-profit organization but we believe that if our training people cant uplift the whole shoe making industry in India why not ?

      Sadly unlike Europe or any other western county Shoe making in India is something that for years have been looked down upon. Not something that people are proud of and we are just trying to change that perception.
      The owner himself faced family issues when he wanted to approach Shoe making / Leather design as a carrier instead of becoming a doctor or an engineer which he could easily have been. But he did and against all odds, with his focus and hunger to learn he managed to build something without any external support.

      – Not only we are promoting high quality shoe making in India but also have opened a new area of earning for the art professionals and enthusiasts by training them how to paint leather with miniature paintings that our country is known for.
      If you look at the kind of intricate art works we do on shoes which is uncommon and has an Indian influence because these are Indians who are doing that.
      We are trying to generate jobs for such people as there are a lot of art professionals who are moving away from the profession only because there are very few jobs to top it they were payed peanuts and are not able to support their families.
      It struck the owner when due to family issues one of his friend had to stop painting and instead took up a job at a local restaurant only so that he can marry his sister and support his retired father.
      Today we are proud to mention that we have been able to generate jobs for such people, we have a team of around 10 ‘patina artists’ who were and are being trained directly by the owner. The team also consists of women and girls members who wanted to support their families but had no clue as to how, but today after they started working with us they are able to support their families and we feel happy to see their kids going to school.

      I hope after having an insight the image must be clearer that what people can see of toramally is just a tip of an ice burg.
      If we have missed on attending to any of you queries feel free to write to us at


  2. India has traditionally not been known for shoe-making except for certain regional styles, and those aren’t generally worn with western clothing. I’m sure that as a self-proclaimed shoe snob you knew that already. That you’ve never been a fan of anything coming out of India is of little, if any, relevance to reality.

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