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Japanese Shoes: Bespoke & RTW Super Thread

Stefan88

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That's the most impressive part to me, that everything always is tasty and well-cooked. That one can go to relatively fancy restaurants and be served amazing food isn't really anything, but that everything from the noodle place with paymachine outside to the Asakusa tourist restaurant with English menus also serve good stuff is incredible.
Yes. Can't go wrong. A small hole-in-the-wall kind of restaurant may offer the most amazing anything.
 

j ingevaldsson

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I think that's generally true in Asia (walking around sit down in some rando can at least met expectation), in Europe I think Italy is the case as well, didn't feel that's the case say in Germany..., France I guess depends on where you're these day, feels like Paris jus gets more and more tourist trap (still have good stuff, but more and more tourist trap)
Of the countries I've visited only Italy is close to being similar, but it's not that uncommon to get meat of lesser quality at some places, even if the rest is good.
 

BColl_Has_Too_Many_Shoes

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I think that's generally true in Asia (walking around sit down in some rando can at least met expectation), in Europe I think Italy is the case as well, didn't feel that's the case say in Germany..., France I guess depends on where you're these day, feels like Paris jus gets more and more tourist trap (still have good stuff, but more and more tourist trap)
Definitely depends where in France. Down south is where you must go for food. Speaking the language helps.

Not really the case in Italy with regards to language, but if you are in the Tuscan area in the smaller towns a little Italian goes a long way. You definitely get more traditional foods in central Italy. Pretty sure everyone knows about Bologna. Pienza though is a must.
 
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Noirkw

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I just spoke to Ken-San from Siroeno Yosui. He is launching his MTO program at 136k this month, handwelted, hand stitched outsole with trees included. I will be meeting him this Sunday. Also saw Corno blu's trunkshow at Ginza next week. Slots are super limited but at 135k for MTM, I'm torn between both 😂
 

BColl_Has_Too_Many_Shoes

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I just spoke to Ken-San from Siroeno Yosui. He is launching his MTO program at 136k this month, handwelted, hand stitched outsole with trees included. I will be meeting him this Sunday. Also saw Corno blu's trunkshow at Ginza next week. Slots are super limited but at 135k for MTM, I'm torn between both 😂
Thank you very much for providing that information about Ken's shoes. That sounds like a phenomenal price, especially given that it ticks all the craftsmanship boxes most of us snobs look for in an upgraded shoe 😂.

Haven't seen the finished product of either maker firsthand, so hopefully someone can provide more context. On the surface though, it sounds like a tough tough decision.

One thing I would do, if possible, head on over to see the shoes personally. I know you mentioned you were going to meet with Ken, but don't miss the opportunity to make an appointment over with Corno Blu. If one maker's style calls out to you more than the other, go ahead and select it.
 
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BomTrady

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Thank you very much for providing that information about Ken's shoes. That sounds like a phenomenal price, especially given that it ticks all the craftsmanship boxes most of us snobs look for in an upgraded shoe 😂.

Haven't seen the finished product of either maker firsthand, so hopefully someone can provide more context. On the surface though, it sounds like a tough tough decision.

One thing I would do, if possible, head on over to see the shoes personally. I know you mentioned you were going to meet with Ken, but don't miss the opportunity to make an appointment over with Corno Blu. If one maker's style calls out to you more than the other, go ahead and select it.
With all the amazing lower, but by all means not cheap, prices starting to materialize, I sometimes wonder if we are trading in better leather in exchange for the craftsman's boxes, as mentioned above. I know that conventional wisdom says labor cost explains the lower price, but would you knowingly accept leather quality lower than , say, Carmina and Vass, in exchange for handwelted, hand stitched outsole with trees, etc.? I don't have an answer and it's likely a personal choice.

I am thinking more of the Chinese made shoes, but the concept is the same. Of course, we'll have more data on this question as we get some well-worn shoes made by some of the new lower cost makers, but this question was posed to me by a shoemaker who said that in lowering cost, the most significant factor is acquiescing on the leather quality and that training and labor cost is the next pertinent factor. He said that poor leather will produce some "horribly ugly footwear" after a year or two of being worn and will defeat the purpose of having hand-made shoes.

He is biased of course, as a producer of higher-end relatively expensive bespoke and MTM/O shoes, but he definitely said he likes the different price markets that are popping up all over the world. I do think he certainly raised a question that appears legitimate, at least on its face to someone who knows nothing, like me.

He said shoemakers, even at the highest price point, are not getting wealthy from making shoes. It's a constant grind training people who are only with him long enough to start their own shops, and training more and more people, many who prove to not have the skill needed to do top quality work, etc. And if you find significantly cheap hand-made shoes, something has to give and compromising on leather quality is a big mistake.

I know less than most people about this stuff, I just like nice shoes. I don't claim to understand this business and defer to those that do.
 

BColl_Has_Too_Many_Shoes

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With all the amazing lower, but by all means not cheap, prices starting to materialize, I sometimes wonder if we are trading in better leather in exchange for the craftsman's boxes, as mentioned above. I know that conventional wisdom says labor cost explains the lower price, but would you knowingly accept leather quality lower than , say, Carmina and Vass, in exchange for handwelted, hand stitched outsole with trees, etc.? I don't have an answer and it's likely a personal choice.

I am thinking more of the Chinese made shoes, but the concept is the same. Of course, we'll have more data on this question as we get some well-worn shoes made by some of the new lower cost makers, but this question was posed to me by a shoemaker who said that in lowering cost, the most significant factor is acquiescing on the leather quality and that training and labor cost is the next pertinent factor. He said that poor leather will produce some "horribly ugly footwear" after a year or two of being worn and will defeat the purpose of having hand-made shoes.

He is biased of course, as a producer of higher-end relatively expensive bespoke and MTM/O shoes, but he definitely said he likes the different price markets that are popping up all over the world. I do think he certainly raised a question that appears legitimate, at least on its face to someone who knows nothing, like me.

He said shoemakers, even at the highest price point, are not getting wealthy from making shoes. It's a constant grind training people who are only with him long enough to start their own shops, and training more and more people, many who prove to not have the skill needed to do top quality work, etc. And if you find significantly cheap hand-made shoes, something has to give and compromising on leather quality is a big mistake.

I know less than most people about this stuff, I just like nice shoes. I don't claim to understand this business and defer to those that do.
Good question.

I am not involved on the business side of things. Mentioning that, it would not be prudent nor fair of me to opine on a subject I know very little about.
I will, however, comment on my personal preferences as it pertains to the selection of a shoemaker and leather.

Coincidentally enough, I just alluded to the experience level being critical in pursuing a commission with a potential shoemaker in a private conversation with one of the members here. I also mentioned experience being an important aspect with regards to raising one's prices in an earlier post.

Experience is one of the first pieces of information I want disclosed (if it is not already listed on their site's profile page) when I select a shoemaker. The experience level of a maker greatly influences his/her capacity for determining a proper fit and selecting a quality piece of leather for my shoes (or anyone else's). Both fit and leather quality are extremely important to me. In fact, these two points establish whether the commission will commence or not.

So, to answer the question directly would higher tier construction (HW) supercede my necessity for fit, leather, and experience. In a word...No! Which means I must either make a concession OR pay a higher price for all my requirements to be met. Unfortunately, I usually end up paying more for everything I want.

If I were to make a compromise anywhere, it would typically be components first (celastic instead of leather puffs, leatherboard stiffeners, etc etc) followed by (I hate even writing this) construction details.
I am certain some members here would think differently, especially the staunch flag bearers of everything handwelted*. However, I can say I would be content purchasing a pair of shoes/boots that are utilizing high quality leathers, and fit really well made by an experienced company/maker.



*Of course I would always prefer a handwelted shoe but we are talking hypotheticals
 
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BomTrady

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Good question.

I am not involved on the business side of things. Mentioning that, it would not be prudent nor fair of me to opine on a subject I know very little about.
I will, however, comment on my personal preferences as it pertains to the selection of a shoemaker and leather.

Coincidentally enough, I just alluded to the experience level being critical in pursuing a commission with a potential shoemaker in a private conversation with one of the members here. I also mentioned experience being an important aspect with regards to raising one's prices in an earlier post.

Experience is one of the first pieces of information I want disclosed (if it is not already listed on their site's profile page) when I select a shoemaker. The experience level of a maker greatly influences his/her capacity for determining a proper fit and selecting a quality piece of leather for my shoes (or anyone else's). Both fit and leather quality are extremely important to me. In fact, these two points establish whether the commission will commence or not.

So, to answer the question directly would higher tier construction (HW) supercede my necessity for fit, leather, and experience. In a word...No! Which means I must either make a concession OR pay a higher price for all my requirements to be met. Unfortunately, I usually end up paying more for everything I want.

If I were to make a compromise anywhere, it would typically be components first (celastic instead of leather puffs, leatherboard stiffeners, etc etc) followed by (I hate even writing this) construction.
I am certain some members here would think differently, especially the staunch flag bearers of everything handwelted*. However, I can say I would be content purchasing a pair of shoes/boots that are utilizing high quality leathers, and fit really well made by an experienced company/maker.



*Of course I would always prefer a handwelted shoe but we are talking hypotheticals
What is a "puff" and where is it on a shoe?

I see your point; in practice, once you choose a highly experience maker, you pretty much assure yourself that everything else will be high quality.

Maybe an example is when Mark Cho spoke about designing the Armoury brand shoes at a low price with Fukuda, Fukuda-san was uncomfortable putting his name on a shoe where corners had to be cut to bring the cost in where they wanted it.

But if forced to choose, you would not compromise fit or leather quality, but possibly would with components and handwelting, hand-stitching sole, etc.

My wife says only us shoe nerds notice or even care how the bottom and seamless heal looks on a shoe. 😂 She says we were all hypnotized by Kirby Allison and his pencil illusion trick when he used a pencil to demonstrate the distance between the side and the sole of a shoe - showing how a beveled waist looks on a handmade shoe. My intrigue with shoes provides countless hours of laughter for her
 

BColl_Has_Too_Many_Shoes

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What is a "puff" and where is it on a shoe?

I see your point; in practice, once you choose a highly experience maker, you pretty much assure yourself that everything else will be high quality.

Maybe an example is when Mark Cho spoke about designing the Armoury brand shoes at a low price with Fukuda, Fukuda-san was uncomfortable putting his name on a shoe where corners had to be cut to bring the cost in where they wanted it.

But if forced to choose, you would not compromise fit or leather quality, but possibly would with components and handwelting, hand-stitching sole, etc.
Puff would be the toe of the shoe. Takes a bunch of hours to set the proper shape of the toe with leather, so some makers compromise in this area to cut time which cuts cost. Additionally, you have the cost of the leather itself.

In my judgment, a highly experienced maker does improve things, or minimizes errors. As we should all know though, there are no guarantees. Hell you go on the Bespoke thread and there are errors a plenty from "experienced" makers. But again, I've noticed when they value their reputation and care to maintain their brand in high esteem (like Fukuda) they tend to go the route of superior quality.
Unfortunately, experience comes at a cost, but you do get what you pay for.
 

Noirkw

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So I just met Ken-san today for a quick chat on his upcoming MTO. For now, he is planning 3 models - a simple derby and a long wing. For the last model, he's still considering and I slipped the idea of a split toe option. Only 1 round toe last will be offered, which is not exactly my cup of tea.

MTO at 136k
Bespoke at 191k

Have an appointment with corno blu next week, at 135k for MTM, I'm really interested.
 

BColl_Has_Too_Many_Shoes

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So I just met Ken-san today for a quick chat on his upcoming MTO. For now, he is planning 3 models - a simple derby and a long wing. For the last model, he's still considering and I slipped the idea of a split toe option. Only 1 round toe last will be offered, which is not exactly my cup of tea.

MTO at 136k
Bespoke at 191k

Have an appointment with corno blu next week, at 135k for MTM, I'm really interested.
Sounds like you are well on your way 👏🏻.
 

clee1982

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My misses used to laugh. She just hates men's shoes these days. I believe the hate began about 6 or 7 years ago. No surprise then that my cloak and dagger operation began around the same time.
speaking of the spouse, she discovered the AM :p, guess no new shoe this year for sure...
 

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