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Japanese Shoes: Bespoke & RTW Super Thread

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by nutcracker, Apr 4, 2013.

  1. j ingevaldsson

    j ingevaldsson Well-Known Member

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    And check back in this thread! Nutcracker has given a lot of superb info on many, many brands during the years.
     
    2 people like this.
  2. nutcracker

    nutcracker Well-Known Member

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    Hi there,

    I've tried the high end MIYAGI KOGYO before. Initially inspired by Edward Green, they now have many American style shoes too. Fitting is unique (neither UK or US), and some of their lasts have curved, banana-esque lasts that seem to optimise fitting for Asian feet. Has a small heel cup, and accommodated my flat-feet very well (generous space / cup in the quarter area, reminded me of the Modified Last shoes). In this past year or two, they expanded their selection to include a full range of styles.

    MK RTW shoes are great shoes for the price $500 USD or so? Solid making, clean sole. However, leather is Japanese kip, and looked and felt sub-par from high end shoes that I have handled such as Edward Green. May not be a fair comparison though.

    CENTRAL shoes, sold alongside MIYAGI KOGYO, is also an equally good choice. A well-known shoe factory brand, and they make shoes for Sanyo Yamacho, Trading Post, Rendo, among others. Cost about 10K JPY more than Miyagi Kogyo, but apparently they use Euro calfs (Annonay and what not).

    JOE WORKS: Heard great things about from fellow shoemakers such as Takano san. A brand new business, JW is a group of industry veterans who operate a tiny, but a fully equipped factory (with good year welted machine) in Asakusa. MTO shoes go for 70, 80K? They also make shoes for Clematis RTW range, which is also quite nice.

    Other Japanese shoe industry members that I chatted claim that GENTRY COMPLEX makes hands down the best RTW/MTO shoes for the money in Japan. Starting about 65K JPY, they are hand sewn welted. High grade leathers such as vintage Freudenbergs are also available. Made in Fukuoka, Japan. Its a small operation of well trained shoemakers, done on the side of a mainly suits/apparel store, so they can keep the price down.

    Check it out
    http://www.renn.co.jp/shoes.htm

    CORNO BLU RTW shoes seem to be popping up here and there online and elsewhere. A brainchild of bespoke maker Seigaku san, the RTW line is, in my opinion, not as well executed after they switched to the Taiwanese OEM KAMIOKA, and made in LAOS. Used to be made by CENTRAL.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2015
    6 people like this.
  3. usctrojans31

    usctrojans31 Well-Known Member

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    No familiarity with fit or quality, but from aesthetics alone, JOE WORKS is incredible. I routinely find myself clicking on shoes I fancy while cruising instagram, and they're routinely JOE WORKS.
     
  4. j ingevaldsson

    j ingevaldsson Well-Known Member

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    Yeah saw Keitaro's shoes from Joe Works, and those looked really nice. Gentry Complex sounds and looks very interesting, do they have a retailer in Tokyo?
     
  5. manasdirge

    manasdirge Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the replies gentlemen,
    nutcracker, I have looked at the pictures of Gentry Complex, quite nice shoes for the price, plus hand welted construction, However I can't find a way to order or to contact the makers. I have send an email to the shop link on the gentry complex page: http://my-shop.jp/cadetto/. I'll see if this can work out.

    As for Joe Works, can't find anything by searching "joe works", any clues?
     
  6. j ingevaldsson

    j ingevaldsson Well-Known Member

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    Here's Joe Works' Instagram.

    In this blog post you see some pics I took of Clematis RTW-range made by Joe Works.
     
    2 people like this.
  7. Leaves

    Leaves Well-Known Member

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  8. nutcracker

    nutcracker Well-Known Member

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    I don"t think GENTRY COMPLEX shoes are offered in Tokyo, and to my knowledge the shoemakers who make the GC don't do works for other stores either.

    Priced at $65K, I"m told that they look uncannily similar to Edward Green in style / last, but in construction and finish, equal or even better (hand sewn welted, of course)

    and with an extra 64K JPY (or double the price), they can make a custom last for you (with full measurements and also a trial/fitting session). Subsequent pairs are back to 65K JPY

    Really tempted to try out one myself just out of curiosity!!
     
  9. Stefan88

    Stefan88 Well-Known Member

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    Tempting. I'm in Fukuoka many times a year :D
    Difficult to get a good image of the shoes, but the machine stitched soles looked a bit messy in my opinion. I've seen this on various japanese brands, and I keep wondering why they can't make them look as nice as the decent+ european brands.
     
  10. nutcracker

    nutcracker Well-Known Member

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    You mean the closed channeled sole?
     
  11. Stefan88

    Stefan88 Well-Known Member

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    No, that is fine and all, but I'm thinking of the top of the welt where the sole is stitched to the welt. It seems like they use something to imitate the fudge wheel, but doesn't get used on the actual stitching. Or maybe the length of each stitch is longer? In any case, it looks a bit off to me.
    [​IMG]

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    Not the easiest in the world to see, but there most certainly is a difference.
     
  12. j ingevaldsson

    j ingevaldsson Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Patrik!

    I don't think that there is such a big difference between the Japanese and European RTW-market really. Basically most welts look kinda lousy, it's mainly when you come up a bit in the price range that it start looking good, if you generalise a bit, like G&G's and Edward Green's above. Same in Japan as I experienced it, but maybe with the change that some shoes felt better in many regards except of upper welt finishing, which might lead to your experience Stefan. But when you looked at the price I could never feel that I could expect more (at least not if you compare to the European brands) even in this regard.

    A couple of examples of Japanese brands that does it quite well IMO, first Miagi Kogyo (not the best pics to see it, I know, but best I had):

    [​IMG]


    And here's Clematis by Joe Works:

    [​IMG]

    And here Otsuka M-5 from their website:

    [​IMG]

    Considering both Miagi Kogyo and Otsuka are priced below €450, and Clematis at €600, they are quite nice.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2015
  13. Stefan88

    Stefan88 Well-Known Member

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    Those do indeed look nice, but the gentry complex and also others I've seen, really looks hideous. Comparing to same price range shoes, my Sargents and old bench grade C&J look cleaner. It's sad, because some of the models and the leathers look really good otherwise.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2015
  14. j ingevaldsson

    j ingevaldsson Well-Known Member

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    I can't see anything on the pics on Gentry Complex website, the picture quality is to bad, so can't say how I think those look. Nonetheless both Sargent and C&J BG are like €100 more expensive, but sure the price range is similar.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2015
  15. Stefan88

    Stefan88 Well-Known Member

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    Have a look at the pics I uploaded above. Top 3 are from there. It's just a deal breaker.
     
  16. j ingevaldsson

    j ingevaldsson Well-Known Member

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    Aha didn't realise those were from them. Yeah those don't look too good at all.
     
  17. nutcracker

    nutcracker Well-Known Member

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    The finish on those OTSUKA is really nice!

    Not sure when those pics of GC shoes you posted were made. Styles / finish of many brands have improved over the last few years (such as incorporating beveled/pseudo fiddle waist)

    Not that shoe factories aren't capable do doing a better job, just how much hand work / details they are willing to put in for shoes with certain price point.

    A relatively "bland" welt finish may have been fine for shoes costing $500 or so in the past, but many makers are stepping up their game by offering better finish at the same price range.

    Since all GC shoes are made MTO by a relatively small number of craftsmen, I think it won"t be hard to nudge them to do a better job on the welt / sole finish! :)

    Below are detail samples from TURNRIGHT KAMIOKA, made in Laos. They make RTW GYW shoes (such as CORNO BLU of Japan) of various quality . I asked them to show me the best they can do. A finish like this retails for $800 USD or so. Nice, but they themselves are not sure if there is a market for $800-$1000 USD Made in Laos shoes. I also doubt there is a market. (disclaimer: their $400 shoes are finished no where as nice as this)

    [​IMG]
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    Last edited: Dec 12, 2015
    1 person likes this.
  18. clee1982

    clee1982 Well-Known Member

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    Probably isn't a market for $800 made in Laos, or made in Taiwan for that matter. Consumer assume they're getting ripped off if it's over $300~400? On any shoes made in Asia outside Japan
     
  19. clee1982

    clee1982 Well-Known Member

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    By the way if it's still $800 even in Laos then I guess raw material cost on shoes is pretty high then
     
  20. nutcracker

    nutcracker Well-Known Member

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    Actually its the hand detailing (sole) that drives the price up. A mock-fiddle waist costs less than bevelled waist (that requires the edge being shaped / rolled up??)
     

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