As a young lad, Lalu Dass travelled from Bihar to Kolkata to take up an apprenticeship with a Chinese shoemaker. The job then took him to Mumbai before bringing him to Bangalore. And in 1965, having become a master shoemaker in his own right, Lalu Dass started off his own business on Brigade Road. Over half a century later, the shop still stands. It’s a small enterprise and easy to miss unless you are actively looking for it. While Lalu Dass does make an appearance at the shop still, it’s his young, cheery son, Sunil, who takes care of customers. Sunil tells us that the entire family is involved in the shoemaking business, and while his brothers have ventured into starting shops of their own, Sunil has chosen to take the Lalu Dass legacy forward.
Customised, handmade shoes are Lalu Dass’ USP. When customers come in, their foot is carefully traced onto paper before taking down notes on the pattern, fit and materials that they want the shoes in. When you mosey around the shop, you’ll see formal shoes and boots mostly meant for the men. The shoe makers will also replicate any pattern you fancy (take a picture along) and we’ve even spotted some neat looking pairs in happy colours and others with tassels on them.