With almost 20 years of shoemaking experience under their well-worn and handmade leather belts, the two brothers Erhan and Erdal Aydın of Sofistik Çizme (“sophisticated boots”) are a fixture on the local biker scene. But it’s not only the guys with the big machines that frequent their charmingly messy showroom and workshop on a backstreet just off İstiklal Caddesi. Costume designers, celebrities like comedian Cem Yılmaz, and basically anyone who can pull off yellow snakeskin boots with ornate silver spurs are among the Aydın brothers’ customer base.

Not every pair produced by their skilled hands is as gaudy as their eye-catching show pieces. Made to last, their expertly manufactured cowboy and biker boots are constructed from different kinds of leather and can easily be customized to their customers’ tastes, with or without ornamental stitching, spurs, chains, and optional exotic leather detailing. A regular pair of boots is constructed from different kinds of leather, the upper being the more sturdy and ornate and the inner lining a softer and thinner leather. Erhan carefully measures and cuts the leather into pieces, using a variety of stencils and tools to prepare the resilient materials for sewing on the brothers’ evidently long-serving sewing machine. After this, the shaft and upper (the shoe’s top part) are put together with the inner and outer sole, which is done by Erdal. These soles are made out of several layers of hardened leather, and a regular boot heel can consist of up to six layers of leather, carved into shape with sharp knives.

During all steps, the boots are modeled to fit either a standardized last (wooden or plastic form shaped to resemble a foot), or, if the customer wishes, a last shaped from their very own feet. This option may be a bit pricier, but your feet will thank you for it with every step you take in these boots. So whether you want to complete your summer road trip outfit with a pair of simple suede biker boots or go all in with something rebellious like black stingray, we recommend taking a detour off your normal shopping routes to take a walk on the wild side of shoemaking.

İstiklal Caddesi, Toprak Lüle Sokak No.3, Taksim; T: (0212) 244 30 16