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Heading to Japan......need some recommendations for Japanese shoemakers/ shoe shops

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

Hi guys,

 

First post and only just got acquainted with the forum so my apologies if this topic had been covered before -- still feeling my way around.

 

I am looking at buying some shoes when I visit Japan next week. Any shops to recommend me?

 

There was a previous thread that mentioned:

 

1. Guild of crafts

2. Works on the Knees

3. Spigola

4. Kokon

5. Otsuka M-5

6. Regal of Tokyo

 

And some more..... However those few links don't seem to work very well. And I'm trying to check around with forum members if there are any cool shoe shops that I can visit and perhaps pick up some ready-to-wear shoes.

 

Thanks in advance!

 

Kind Regards,

Gatzby

post #2 of 15
Shoes are massively overpriced in Japan. Possibly one of the most expensive to buy nice shoes in the world, apart from Australia. I think Crockett and Jones benchgrade are like 79,000Y or something, near $1000USD. Everything else is pretty accordant with that kind of markup.

I have bought Sanyo Yamacho (Sanyo Shokai's dress shoe brand) in Isetan before at 49 or 59,000Y, they are well made shoes - good import calf, extremely fine stitchwork, pretty nice last - but the last shape and style overall seem slightly Asian.

Anyway, if you want to see shoes, check Isetan Men's B1F or Strasburgo
post #3 of 15
I'd discourage you from buying shoes in Japan, unless you're just interested in having a "Japanese shoe," in which case Regal is probably the best place to check out, as they have stores in every major city and they carry a wide range of shoes. I'm not familiar with all the makers you listed there, but in general, Japanese-made RTW shoes are obviously (at first sight) made with lower quality materials and inferior construction to the makers usually discussed on this forum. They just can't compete with the like of C&J, Alden, even Allen Edmonds. Hence, there's a 40% import tax on leather goods, which makes imported shoes crazy expensive (they're usually double the price that I'm used to seeing them in the US).

I love shoes so I'm always looking around. If you visit United Arrows, Urban Research, BEAMS, or SHIPS you'll find a lot of shoes at different price points.
post #4 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrGatzby View Post

Hi guys,

First post and only just got acquainted with the forum so my apologies if this topic had been covered before -- still feeling my way around.

I am looking at buying some shoes when I visit Japan next week. Any shops to recommend me?

There was a previous thread that mentioned:

1. Guild of crafts
2. Works on the Knees
3. Spigola
4. Kokon
5. Otsuka M-5
6. Regal of Tokyo

And some more..... However those few links don't seem to work very well. And I'm trying to check around with forum members if there are any cool shoe shops that I can visit and perhaps pick up some ready-to-wear shoes.

Thanks in advance!

Kind Regards,
Gatzby

There are about 30 or so notable bespoke shoemakers located in Tokyo alone. Unless you're planning to return for test fitting or two, Guild, Works on Knee (Hiro Yanagimachi) wont work out. Spigola is located in Kobe and Kokon is located in Kanazawa.

For higher end Japanese RTW brands, Otsuka has a spanking new store at the Roppongi Hills, offers a wide range of RTW shoes. the World Footwear Gallery at Harajuku offers some really nice shoes by Miyagi Kogyo and Central.

You're best bet is Isetan Mens. They are starting a storewide clearance sale starting this friday (will be very crowded). If you specifically want Japanese brands, Isetan will have Sanyo Yamacho, Regal, Union Imperial, Corno Blu, Otsuka (including their high end RTW handsewn welted models), Scotch Grain, and Perfetto on 30% sale. My pick among them is Corno Blu.

If you're lucky, you might also find some JL, EG, Bemer, Vass, or Lattanzi on sale in your size, or even some Crocket Jones in 367 last (Japan only) might be on sale.
post #5 of 15

Want Japanese bespoke shoes?  Travel to London or Florence.  Foster & Son's key maker is a Japanese lady.  Stefano Bemer has three Japanese craftsman.  Il Micio is a Japanese maker at Florence.

 

Yohei Fukuda, Clematis Ginza, Marquess, Guild of Crafts, Benchmade are all in Tokyo AFAIK, but it would not be a good idea to get bespoke shoes in just one short trip.
 

Otherwise pick up your copy of Men's Ex and try to dig around the Japanese makers.

post #6 of 15

I lived in Japan for 3 years and didn't buy a single pair of shoes- for the reasons mentioned by Makoto.  Nutcracker's post is a great answer, and there is no debating that Japanese craftsmanship and attention to detail is unparalleled so if you have the Yen to spend, let us know how it goes for you!

Good luck, and if you don't buy shoes you can spend that $1000 on the most outstanding food on the face of the planet.  Call and make an appointment for dinner at Jiro's in the Ginza train station or his son's place in Roppongi Hills!

post #7 of 15
Some of the nicer Japanese RTW shoes IMO


Central shoes, priced 54,600 JPY ($613 USD) and up














Corno Blu RTW shoes, priced also 54,600 JPY (613 USD). Size offered by 1/4" (2.5mm) pitch

*
*
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AppleMark
AppleMark

They also have lazy man's shoes

AppleMark
AppleMark
post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by nutcracker View Post

Some of the nicer Japanese RTW shoes IMO


Central shoes, priced 54,600 JPY ($613 USD) and up














Corno Blu RTW shoes, priced also 54,600 JPY (613 USD). Size offered by 1/4" (2.5mm) pitch

*
*
*
*
AppleMark
AppleMark

They also have lazy man's shoes

AppleMark
AppleMark

Those worth a re quote.
post #9 of 15

If your feet are NOT wide, do check out Union Imperial.

 

I regret not getting one of them when i was in Japan last week.

 

Pricing is reasonable. Starts around USD350.

post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 

Thank you so much everyone....speechless with all the helpful responses! I will definitely listen to the kind suggestions given. And yes.........I will head to Jiro! :-)

post #11 of 15

Great post Nutcraker.   Alvinbmx, I asked my wife (who is from Japan) to search the Union Imperial shoes in Japanese.  I have dropped the link here for the OP.  I think I'll have to look into a pair next time I visit Japan. 

You also mention wide feet, Japanese people have wider feet than caucasians and also tend to have flatter arches, so their RTW shoes don't fit me with my high arch and narrow foot.  (I wouldn't recommend buying a motorcycle helmet there either!)  

 

MrGatzby- here is the link:

http://www.union-royal.jp/item/unionImperial/premium/premium.html

 

Also, if you are a beer guy I hope you can try a Suntory Premium Malts or a Sapporo Yebisu! 
 

post #12 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by AmericanGent View Post

Great post Nutcraker.   Alvinbmx, I asked my wife (who is from Japan) to search the Union Imperial shoes in Japanese.  I have dropped the link here for the OP.  I think I'll have to look into a pair next time I visit Japan. 
You also mention wide feet, Japanese people have wider feet than caucasians and also tend to have flatter arches, so their RTW shoes don't fit me with my high arch and narrow foot.  (I wouldn't recommend buying a motorcycle helmet there either!)  

MrGatzby- here is the link:
http://www.union-royal.jp/item/unionImperial/premium/premium.html

Also, if you are a beer guy I hope you can try a Suntory Premium Malts or a Sapporo Yebisu! 

 

Union Imperial shoes are all handsewn welted, use French Annonay leathers, and priced quite competitively among Japanese shoes manufacturers. However, that doesn't mean they are made in Japan. Most UI shoes are made in China.

The bottom tiered line (29K JPY) are made completely in China, the mid tiered line (39K) are made in China and Japan, and only the highest tiered (60K JPY) shoes are all made in Japan.

Not that it mattters where they are made as long as the quality is good, but just dont expect Japanese branded shoes to always be made in Japan. A lot of Regal and Sanyo Yamacho branded shoes are also made in China.
post #13 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by nutcracker View Post


Union Imperial shoes are all handsewn welted, use French Annonay leathers, and priced quite competitively among Japanese shoes manufacturers. However, that doesn't mean they are made in Japan. Most UI shoes are made in China.

The bottom tiered line (29K JPY) are made completely in China, the mid tiered line (39K) are made in China and Japan, and only the highest tiered (60K JPY) shoes are all made in Japan.

Not that it mattters where they are made as long as the quality is good, but just dont expect Japanese branded shoes to always be made in Japan. A lot of Regal and Sanyo Yamacho branded shoes are also made in China.


That's too bad, but I guess it's not unheard of for brands to pawn their lower lines out to Chinese workshops.  I try to avoid anything made in China, but its impossible.  The iMac I'm typing on, for example. 

But it appears that the Union Imperial "New Prestige" line is made in Japan so that is where I would start.  No sense in the OP traveling to Japan and buying Chinese shoes! 

___

 

A sidebar if I may: Nutcraker- you must have traveled/lived in Japan?   I am always talking-up my experiences in Japan and it seems like it's lost on most people. 

post #14 of 15
Without knowing more about your situation, I'd second the idea of Isetan Men's, especially if you are pressed for time. There isn't any other place with so much under one roof. Even if you come away emptyhanded, it is a great window shopping experience. I bought a pair of Meermin shell cordovans in navy blue and a pair of Grenson shell cordovans in whiskey in New Years clearance sales in the past. Please bear in mind that even sale prices in Japan are expensive.

If you are into ready to wear Japanese shoes that cannot be gotten overseas, Otsuka, Scotchgrain, and Yoshinoya Ginza are three possiblities. Can't really say whether or not they will match your asthetics. They may very well not.

If you are up for it, Guild of Crafts offers a made to measure program. After trying on one of their sample shoes, you could choose a style, leather type, and place an order. If my memory serves me correctly, the last time I looked, this option was Y130,000 yen or so. I have yet to order anything from Guild, and I live in the neighborhood. The ABC Mart in Yurakucho offers bespoke and made to measure shoes by Saion. The made to measure shoes are between Y40,000 and Y50,000 and are McKay stitched, so their capacity to be resoled is somewhat limited. I have not tried them, but Azabu Tailor also claims to offer made to measure shoes starting at Y40,000 or so.


Bic
post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 

Thanks again to everyone. I really, really appreciate everyone's feedback!

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