23 September 2015

BESPOKE BOOTS〈 ビスポーク靴 〉

I was given this amazing opportunity to have a pair of boots made to measure to my own feet!

My old friend Kentaro is a handmade bespoke shoemaker based in Japan's old capital Kyoto.
He had learnt traditional English shoemaking in London in early late 90's to 00's.

He measured my feet while he was in London a couple years ago, and the boots have arrived now!
     
     



These details are absolutely beautiful.
Never tired of looking at them and the smell of the leather is gorgeous to me…I know I can feel my families are rolling their eyes.
  
  



The soles are entirely hand sewn, but the stitchings are hidden under the surface of the leather sole.
To do this, he cut the edge corner of the sole in 45 degrees angle, lift up the flap to hand-stitch inside the ditch, then lay the flap back.
Now all you see is just a plain flat leather sole...as if nothing had happened!

    

What makes me struggle to understand is, after all those,  they are meant to be only first "try-ons"!
They're very well finished complete pair of boots.

He wants me to wear them for a few months then tell him how the fit is, then he works on the wooden lasts to adjust based on the information taken from the trial pair, then make another so-called "proper" pair, the first pair is to be destroyed.

Of course I would do everything to stop him chucking them off to the bin and hopefully I can keep them, but generally speaking that's how it works in the bespoke shoe making world…
  
   



I admit I'm a "Formally Casual" man.
I never wear suit or leather shoes unless absolutely necessary such as my family's weddings in Japan.
(I don't even know how to knot my ties!)
  
  


But these boots were way more than enough to change my mind, now I'm wearing them whenever it's dry enough!

His contact is here if you're visiting Kyoto at some point.
Kentaro Soyama
lfwsq@outlook.jp

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