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Lee Kee Shoes- Does anyone know anything about them?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by loser21, Jan 20, 2012.

  1. Ed B

    Ed B New Member

    Feb 11, 2013
    Yes, I had shoes by Lee Kee and Sam Kee for many years in the 60's, and 70's. they were in a small alley off Hankow Road. I still have 2 pair and they fit like a glove from the lst day.

    Sam retired in the late 70's and I have never found another shoe maker like him.

    The ally ( passage way caught fire in the late 90's and the store never opened again
  2. GsbLtd

    GsbLtd New Member

    Jun 29, 2013

    YES: I can tell you about Lee Kee shoes, since I ordered a pair myself back in 1973. I can't remember now how I heard about the company, but thought it would be really cool to own a pair of custom-made shoes - so I sent them a letter asking for ordering info. In about three weeks, I received a bulging manila envelope with instructions on how to measure and trace my foot, along with a nice little folder of leather samples. I recall it had a heavy brown cover and the postage stamp-sized samples were stapled to the inside. There must've been about 25 different leathers, including: Ostrich, Crocodile, Water Buffalo [it was the thickest], Snakeskin, Sharkskin, Tortise, Cowhide, Goat... the variety was amazing! All of them were offered in your choice of colors and there too, the selection was huge... or you could send a color sample for them to match. The shoe soles were also offered in several different materials. Further, you could send them a drawing or photograph... or even a picture out of a magazine and they'd duplicate the style. The basic shoe cost? $65.00 + about $5.00 shipping! When they arrived, I also had to pay a Customs Fee of around $6.00. They took about a month to arrive after I ordered them. BTW: after you traced your foot on a piece of paper, you took a piece of string and wrapped it around the widest part of your foot. You sent the tracing and the string along with any pictures, etc. and they'd go to work!

    I was 22 years old at the time, a student working in the theatre on a monthly salary of $500 and that $65 bucks was pretty precious to me - but I wanted a pair of shoes I could wear backstage that would be completely silent, so I chose their Crepe Rubber sole. I wanted my shoes to be super-soft, so I chose their Glove Leather. My color needed to be fairly dark [for backstage use] so I chose Dove Grey [I remember I actually found some paint in the color I liked and brushed a swath on a piece of card for them to match]. For my style? I looked through every catalog I could fiind that carried men's dress shoes and finally found a pair of square-toed slipon loafers in a Sear's catalog that fit the bill. The shoes in the picture were plain, so I decided to add three stitched Chevrons across the vamp as a subtle addition [good thing too, since this extra stitching kept the leather from stretching after ALOT of wear!]. And: sure enough, in about a month my shoes arrived and they literally fit like a glove. The sole was a Beige nubby rubber that had several 1/4" indentations impressed into the surface for better traction, and those shoes were absolutely silent when I walked backstage. They were also an exact match to the picture/paint color I sent. I cannot remember whatever happened to them, but I did wear them for several years. And, yes: I got the usual jokes when I bragged about my custom-made "leaky shoes!" Somewhere I know I have a pic of myself in my theatre control booth wearing a Tourquoise Polyester Leisure Suit in a broad plaid pattern [GOD! Remember those abominations???] and... my Lee Kee shoes! And, let me tell you: those shoes were the most fashionable part of that outfit!

    The coda to this story is how I found this website/forum: I remembered those Lee Kee shoes just yesterday and decided to see if the company was still in business. Google brought me to this forum in the hopes that someone would know if the company was still around. How I wish they were! But, thanks for letting me share my story with you about the finest pair of shoes I ever owned!
    2 people like this.
  3. emptym

    emptym Senior member Moderator

    Sep 22, 2007
    ^Very interesting story. Thanks for posting.

    The first I heard of Lee Kee was during a search for Florsheim Yuma/Lansford/Cobra loafers. This image popped up:

    Can't remember the website it was from. German or Austrian guy, who sells a lot of vintage shoes online.
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2013
  4. Machbuster

    Machbuster New Member

    Aug 10, 2013
    I had him make a pair of 'Gator shoes in1965 - I've worn them A LOT since then and they were still in great shape after two sets of new heels and soles - they make a great shoe
  5. DocRushing

    DocRushing New Member

    Aug 16, 2013
    For many years Lee Kee was a custom bootmaker in Hong Kong.
    I bought several pairs of boots and shoes from him in 1971, while I lived and worked in the Far East.
    He had already been in business many years then, and he continued many years later.
    His products were of high quality, and they fit extremely well.
    Sadly, though, he eventually went out of business.
  6. landcruiser67

    landcruiser67 New Member

    Aug 23, 2013
    My family used to have our shoes and boots made by them. I once sent a photo of a pair of Tony Lama boots, along with my measurements. The boots I got from them were more comfortable and better looking. They fit like a pair of socks. And, they were $29
  7. GaryWons

    GaryWons New Member

    Aug 26, 2013
    Thanks for the lead on the Classic Shoes For Men site - great selection there! And, I really enjoyed the write ups on the shoes - they must love their work!
  8. Chiefe71

    Chiefe71 New Member

    Sep 24, 2013
    I have three. Here is the first one on the card I got from him when I was in Hong Kong on shore leave back in the 70's. Lee Kee Boot & Shoe Maker, LTD, 65 Peking Rd., Universal Commercial Bldg., Kowloon Hong Kong., TEL. K-674903 I contacted him a few years back and he responded. Was willing to make me a pair of shoes if I would send a picture of the style I wanted and an impression of both of my feet. Just never got around to it. I was doing a search when I found these postings because I thought the company may of had a web presents now. Not having much luck so will send info to them via snail mail. Hope this helps. Chiefe71
  9. brokentelephone

    brokentelephone Senior member

    Jun 8, 2009
    Why are there like 10 people whose first (and only) post is about Lee Kee shoes? EERIE!!!
    1 person likes this.
  10. MyOtherLife

    MyOtherLife Senior member

    Sep 30, 2009
    The Arena - Centerfield

    Legend has it, that once one owns a pair of the revered shoes, all other conversation pales by comparison. Enough said.
  11. Raul daSilva

    Raul daSilva New Member

    Mar 24, 2016
    Lee Kee is or was (have not used them for many years) a custom shoemaker
    in Kowloon (Hong Kong). The shoes were virtually handmade and superb.
    One could send them foot dimensions and a photo of any style. They
    would create a perfect copy using the finest materials available. If
    you have found a pair, treasure them.
  12. Skip Newman

    Skip Newman New Member

    Sep 12, 2016
    I had Sam Kee shoes made while in HK in 1968, they were tan camelhide with buckles, low heels. My individual foot dimensions were on file at the shop for future orders.They were the most impressive set of quality, custom footwear I have ever encountered, unbelievably comfortable set of shoes ... made all other shoes look like draconian torture machines...
    To this day I remember them fondly... wish there was someplace like it today...

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