Testing Ingenuity shoes by Kamioka

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by nutcracker, Jul 21, 2013.

  1. nutcracker

    nutcracker Senior member Dubiously Honored

    Messages:
    1,820
    Likes Received:
    879
    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2010
    Location:
    Taipei
    Testing Ingenuity/Shinsho Shoes by Kamioka

    Recently I was given an opportunity to become a (shoe) monitor for a shoe company called Kamioka. Kamioka is a Japanese subsidiary of a Taiwanese shoe manufacturer that mainly takes OEM orders from shoe brands around the world. They manufacture shoes at own their factories in Taiwan and Laos, and from what I have seen in person and from photos, they are quite capable of making exquisite shoes.

    [​IMG]
    Ingenuity/Shinsho shoes at Kamioka's Tokyo Showroom. Priced from ¥39900 ($399)

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Samples of their upper-end, handsewn welted shoes, available for MTO.

    Kamioka recently launched their own factory brand called Ingenuity, or Shinsho in Japanese, and the shoes I'm testing out is part of its inaugural collection. Basically, I was lent a pair of shoes to wear for a month or so, and over the course, I am expected to report my observation and to give some honest opinion. I'm not being paid to do this, but nevertheless quite ecstatic to be offered this experience. So I thought it would be great if I can share my experience here on SF, and post some pics along the testing period.

    [​IMG]
    The box. Written with 'Shinsho', or 'Shen-jiang' in Chinese.

    I selected a pair of plaintoe oxfords in brown Annonay calfskin to spend a month with. They are goodyear welted, with open channelled leather soles. The last (RE07) was designed by a Norwegian shoemaker who spent the past seven years in Taiwan instructing and guiding the young shoemakers of Kamioka. Designated as a 'comfort last', the oblique shape, the volumous toe, and the tightly supported arch seem to reflect the orthopedic knowledge of the shoemaker. He also designed the last with a compact heel to better accomodate Asian feet.

    [​IMG]
    Plaintoe oxfords in brown calfskin. I just realized how good a round toe can look with a nice polish.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    The leather (French Annonay calfskin) looks very uniform and tightly grained. I'll see how it fares after it gets creased and roughed up from wear.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    A rather small throat and a cusped heel

    [​IMG]
    The last. Oblique shaped, ample toe room, and a narrow waist.

    [​IMG]
    The soles are done right by giving it a slight bulge.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Details. Fit and finish are excellent. Very clean job all around.

    The pair shown above is currently priced at ¥39900 yen, or roughly $400 USD. They are not cheap (considering they are made in Laos), but from my initial handling, I think they are solidly made with high grade materials (usually reserved for shoes costing much more), and have an unique last that seem quite comfortable and tailored to fit Asian feet.

    So this is how my test session starts. I've just started to break them in, and will do a report on them soon. Stay tuned!

    www.ingenuity.co.jp
    Kamioka FB
     


  2. chogall

    chogall Senior member

    Messages:
    6,564
    Likes Received:
    1,106
    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2011
    Is it the same company as 神岡右線/Turn Right? Or there's quite a few makers at 神岡? lol

    One of their recent facebook post
    [​IMG]
     


  3. nutcracker

    nutcracker Senior member Dubiously Honored

    Messages:
    1,820
    Likes Received:
    879
    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2010
    Location:
    Taipei
    
    There's more than a few shoemakers at the Shengang area, I believe most of them make sneakers. My dad is actually from around that place in Taichung. Yes, Kamioka's parent company is indeed Turn Right, and they also make sneakers. :) I just checked their FB page, lots of great prototype images.
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2013


  4. chogall

    chogall Senior member

    Messages:
    6,564
    Likes Received:
    1,106
    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2011
    Ya they have quite a few good prototype photos and been following them around before their facebook page. It seemed someone there was doing bespoke work before doing all these factory rtw stuff. Not sure if they are hand sewn welted. Would be interesting to visit their factory sometimes.
     


  5. nutcracker

    nutcracker Senior member Dubiously Honored

    Messages:
    1,820
    Likes Received:
    879
    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2010
    Location:
    Taipei
    

    They have a team of shoemakers who seem to spend a lot of time making one off shoes. I presume they are all handmade, and are possibly the prototypes for their RTW collection. A slideshow of their works can be seen from here:
    http://www.ingenuity.co.jp/staff
    Mostly Taiwanese, plus a Japanese and a Malaysian.

    Some of their one-off works are available for display at the Tokyo showroom. I'm not sure if those folks are involved in running the factory, but I highly doubt it.
     


  6. nutcracker

    nutcracker Senior member Dubiously Honored

    Messages:
    1,820
    Likes Received:
    879
    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2010
    Location:
    Taipei
    Today I visited Kamioka's office for a chat and an update. Saw a lot of prototypes that may or may not end up on the store shelves. Here are some of the shoes that have caught my eyes....

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG][​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    and my shoes got absolutely drenched on the way home....they are out of service for at least 2 days :uhoh:

    [​IMG]
     


  7. sparrow

    sparrow Senior member

    Messages:
    1,665
    Likes Received:
    673
    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2012
    thanks for the nice post, the pics are really helpful.
    the brown calfskin is quite beautiful.
     


  8. nutcracker

    nutcracker Senior member Dubiously Honored

    Messages:
    1,820
    Likes Received:
    879
    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2010
    Location:
    Taipei
    

    Thanks! :fonz:

    So far they've creased surprisingly well....I believe the leather is Annonay's Vegano calf.
     


  9. UnnamedPlayer

    UnnamedPlayer Senior member

    Messages:
    763
    Likes Received:
    120
    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2012
    Sizes on the website are tiny.

    Do they plan on making size 12/13?
     


  10. nutcracker

    nutcracker Senior member Dubiously Honored

    Messages:
    1,820
    Likes Received:
    879
    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2010
    Location:
    Taipei
    

    Yeah, no 12 or 13 for now. They stock from sizes 6.5 to 9, and can do MTO up to size 10.5. (28.5cm or so) So far they are a Japan-only operation, hence the small sizes.

    I believe they are planning to expand to other markets (Asia, US, Euro) in near future, and I assume there will be a better size selection then.
     


  11. nutcracker

    nutcracker Senior member Dubiously Honored

    Messages:
    1,820
    Likes Received:
    879
    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2010
    Location:
    Taipei
    Testing Integrity / Shinsho Shoes: 2 weeks update

    So for 2 weeks, I've been wearing this pair every 2 days or so, and here are my impressions.

    Fit-wise, the last could be classified as a dress/comfort last in line of Alden and such, with a wide toe room. The heel hold has been excellent, with absolutely no slippage from the start. I've been told they were designed with cusped heels to accommodate the tiny heels of most E.Asians. The waist is quite tight/narrow (even for my skinny feet), and the arch lift/support is also quite decent. All in all, this pair has been been treating my (tiny, low, and skinny) feet quite well. However I suspect it may not be so for men with a wide feet with a high instep. It's only been 2 weeks, so the shoes definitely need more time to be broken in.

    I'm also quite impressed with the quality of the leather (Annonay's Vegano). The color is cognac/ dark tan, and when polished, they look quite good. Creases/wear don't look as bad (or problematic) after 2 weeks, perhaps because the shoes have relatively low insteps, leaving very little gap between the vamp and my instep.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    The creases don't look bad at all. The leather looks a bit dry though, because a week ago I managed to get the shoes absolutely soaked in rain, with major water stains appearing here and there. So I took my shoes in to the shoeshine guru Fujimoto-san (@ Kutsumigaki Honpo) for conditioning and for touching up the finish.

    [​IMG]
    Fujimoto-san applying delicate cream to 'remoisturize' the leather.

    [​IMG]
    Working on a shine

    [​IMG]
    Finishing touches

    [​IMG]
    2 weeks old and re-polished with a medium brown. I think it looks even better with a slight darker tint.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Sole wearing quite evenly.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2013


  12. masernaut

    masernaut Senior member

    Messages:
    422
    Likes Received:
    51
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2012
    Great work! Keep the updates coming :)
     


  13. chogall

    chogall Senior member

    Messages:
    6,564
    Likes Received:
    1,106
    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2011
    Your pair looks to be in very good quality. The design on the last is mediocre; a plain toe blucher would be much suitable.

    Contacted them and will probably pay them a visit this year.
     


  14. nutcracker

    nutcracker Senior member Dubiously Honored

    Messages:
    1,820
    Likes Received:
    879
    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2010
    Location:
    Taipei
    Testing Integrity / Shinsho Shoes: Homecoming?

    [​IMG]

    I`m back in Taipei, Taiwan for a couple of weeks to tend to some family and business matters, and have decided to take my new buddy Kamioka along for the trip. Kamioka is a Taiwanese brand after all, and it will be a (sort of) a homecoming for the pair. Ironically though, these shoes aren`t available in Taiwan.

    Admittedly, the streets of Taipei aren`t nearly as clean as those in Tokyo, and I expect the shoes to be beaten by the extreme heat and humidity during this time of the year. Perhaps the extra humidy and heat will make the leather softer and more supple.

    [​IMG]

    So here are the shoes after an evening walk in Taipei (and over 3 weeks of total wear). The sole has gotten quite pliant and flexible, which makes walking a lot more comfortable. There are obviously more creases, but I really do like how it looks. Again, I`m impressed by the upper leather (Vegano by Annonay), which seems to have a very tight/fine grain. The creases almost looks like those on a shell cordovan (or is it just me).

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The soles don`t seem to have completely recovered from the rain they encountered a while ago. The grain seem to be `looser` and prone to wear. An acquaintance told me the toes seemed to have too much wear for a new pair of shoes. Have the soles really gotten mushier? I suspect the wear is caused more by the way I walk.

    [​IMG]
    A night on a Taipei street: not exactly clean..... however, I still love the shape of the last.

    [​IMG]
    Too much wear?

    [​IMG]
     


  15. chogall

    chogall Senior member

    Messages:
    6,564
    Likes Received:
    1,106
    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2011
    How many times have them been worn? It does seem a lot of wear and tear around the toe areas of the sole for its relative age. Did your other shoes have similar wear patterns?
     


Share This Page

Styleforum is proudly sponsored by