Japanese Shoes: Bespoke & RTW Super Thread

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

  1. nutcracker

    nutcracker Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    A Visit to alte Art, Tokyo

    alte Art by o.e. is the boutique/atelier of shoemaker Egawa Osamu. A very charming showroom with a vintage feel, the atelier is tucked behind, where Egawa-san and his partner Tsurusaki-san work in tandem. True to his atelier's name 'alte art', German for 'ancient art', Egawa is inspired by the fine craftsmanship of the old era, such as during the Victorian and the Edwardian age. Not only are his shoes completely handmade, his research into the old methods has lead him to adapt natural materials (flour paste glues, dyes, thick leather shanks, antique hardwares etc...) as well as some construction details that are rarely seen these days.

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    A charming store with a vintage feel

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    Two of the many shoe display cabinets

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    Two of Egawa-san's musical instrument shoes: testaments to his creativity and skills. A number of them are now part of the city's musuem colleciton.

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    o.e.'s Lady's shoes are also quite gorgeous. Also with a bevelled waist!


    o.e. only offers full handmade MTO shoes: a method they believe will provide the best fitting shoes for the price. Egawa-san painstakingly prepared a vast collection of fitting shoes with 6 widths for each size. I struck a near perfect fit after trying several fitting shoes (his last has an excellent fit to begin with), and the fit could be further improved by last customisation/personalisation. Unlike a Bespoke, I can be assured a very decent fit from the beginning, which I think is a big plus. With the proper initial fitting and measurement, o.e. assures a great fit even without a trial fitting session. By omitting the trial session, time and cost can be shaved off, ultimately providing phenomenal shoes at a more affordable price.

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    Fitting shoes Cabinet

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    Already a snug fit! My toes could wiggle too.

    Price for o.e. shoes (full hand made shoes) starts from ¥100,000 ($1000 or so) for Standard Line. Price starts from ¥180,000 ($1800) for the Vintage Line, which is finished to a higher degree (with bevelled waist), and uses wooden pace, thick leather shanks, and other natural materials such as flour based glue. They are Egawa san's homage to the Antique era.

    My thanks to Egawa-san and Tsurusaki-san from o.e.

    handsewn welted bootmaker o.e. website
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2013


  2. clee1982

    clee1982 Senior member

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    I wish all RTW shoe have that options to start with
     


  3. nutcracker

    nutcracker Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    my bad, its 6 widths, and 3 toe shapes to choose from (not instep height). Instep height/fitting is adjusted directly on the last.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2013


  4. meister

    meister Senior member

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    Wonderful take on vintage Stetson Saratogas but from memory Stetson did not do a Saratoga spectator.

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    Now here is something you don't see anymore that harks back to the 40s....the use of off white thread/stitching.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2013


  5. chogall

    chogall Senior member

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    Holy crap. o.e. might be nirvana for me. Do they have enough size 10 US wide or size 9 UK trial shoes? And how's their English/international shipping?

    Been looking for a value priced hand welted shoemaker. Meermin doesn't cut it with their quality or last customization. Vass MTO is very out of the way for me. This might be the answer!

    p.s., just realized I had their website saved for a few years now. :p
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2013


  6. nutcracker

    nutcracker Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Oooh...you may not be happy after you hear this..... the biggest size he currently offer is 27 (US9). I'm not sure if he is does custom work or to expand on sizes. (I've seen several makers recently expand to 28...l)
     


  7. chogall

    chogall Senior member

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    Just revisited the website. Now I know why I shelved the idea. Apparently size 10 US is for ogres at Japan.
     


  8. nutcracker

    nutcracker Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    :facepalm: quite a shame about the size restriction.....

    I recall Clematis's house last going up to very big sizes....and I've heard that Sumo wrestlers order shoes for him
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2013


  9. nutcracker

    nutcracker Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Sarto Recamier Shoe Trees

    Some of you may recall that the La Cordonnerie Anglaise (LCA) shoe trees used to be sold in just about every shoe stores in Japan. Their longtime importer, R&D Corporation, is a major manufacturer of shoe polishes (M.Mowbrey brand), so they pretty much had access to all the shoe outlets in the country.

    However, the contract between LCA and R&D was terminated (or not extended) late last year, presumably since LCA was purchased by Saphir (they have their own distribution line in Japan). So all of a sudden, LCA shoe trees disappeared from the store racks. That is a bummer because I'm quite a fan of LCA trees (owning 5 pairs). Good news is that LCA shoe trees are due to be back under a new importer (or perhaps by Saphir themselves), but the bad news is that the price will be up (starting price of ¥10,000, or $100 USD) .

    R&D, on the other hand, figured out a way to keep their customers happy by replacing the LCA trees with their own collection of trees that are essentially LCA knockoffs. They literally took the patterns of LCA trees and have them made cheaper in China. They are called the Sarto Recamier, and are available in Birch or Cedar (not offered by the original LCA). Prices are also lower, starting from ¥5700 ($57 USD) for the birch model. Having handled them myself, they don't feel as sturdy as LCA, and the birch wood feels lighter (perhaps not Euro birch). But they are priced quite reasonably.

    They are available from size 39 to 45 (US5 to US12), so maybe some of you may want to pick them up on your next visit.

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    Last edited: Jun 4, 2013


  10. nutcracker

    nutcracker Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    more aftermarket shoe trees from Japan...

    Nakada Last Shoe Tree

    Made by Nakada Last, a major last manufacturer, these trees looks and feels like a wooden last. I held them and they weighed about twice as much as the LCA type trees mentioned above. The surface was left unfinished, presumably to absorb moisture. The solid brass parts are all custom milled (not just a drawer knob). While the shape is supposed to fit a wide range of shoes, they probably go well with full bodied English shoes. Costs ¥29,400 (almost $300), making them the most expensive aftermarket trees in Japan. May have been more appealing if they could have done a better job with ventilation ala St.C style.

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    They are all available at the newly opened FANS shoe repair shop in Aoyama.

    from M's Blog
     


  11. bboysdontcryy

    bboysdontcryy Senior member

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    Those trees look as stunning as OTR shoe trees can get. Good thing my fetish for accessories doesn't extend to shoe trees.

    I bet there must be a huge range of fine shoe creams/waxes etc for the Japanese market. I was told that C & J makes their shoes to a high standard for the Japanese market -- not sure if that's true.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2013


  12. add911_11

    add911_11 Senior member

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    the shoe maintenance part is true. C&J not so. They are still C&J with tidier stitchings, I don't think they waste more leather for the clicking of Jap market shoes.
     


  13. nutcracker

    nutcracker Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Those trees do feel quite substantial, and the solid brass parts look quite nice. But yeah, the price.....

    There are quite a few shoe polish makers in Japan, but the two major brands are M.Mowbrey (made by R&D), and Boot Black (by Columbus), both have quite an extensive range.

    btw, Boot Black has been a regular exhibitor at the PITTI every season. If anyone happens to be there in a few weeks, don't forget to drop by their booth to get some free goodies.

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    Post Cards

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    USB card with full digital catalog of their lineup

    Boot Black HP: http://bootblack.jp/en/index.html
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2013


  14. clee1982

    clee1982 Senior member

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    why spend that much on non-lasted tree is my question...
     


  15. dddrees

    dddrees Senior member

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    Exactly, why would you?
     


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