Langham

Honors Member
^ I think you've offered us a very fair assessment there, Flanderian. The Japanese are superb craftsmen in many fields, with a long and rich history of perfecting and improving on foreign concepts and inventions (e.g. watches, motor cars, naval architecture).
 

Flanderian

Connoisseur
^ I think you've offered us a very fair assessment there, Flanderian. The Japanese are superb craftsmen in many fields, with a long and rich history of perfecting and improving on foreign concepts and inventions (e.g. watches, motor cars, naval architecture).
Thank you!
 

JBierly

Advanced Member
The cost I offered, $3,000+, was estimated only by locating the cost for one of the makers as starting at $2,900. The others may well be more. And while I have neither the means, nor would that be the chosen allocation of such if I did, I think it's important to put those prices in perspective.

Perhaps I assumed incorrectly that all would know these shoes are all true bespoke. And disregarding the comparative values between such and RTW, most fine true bespoke shoes are dramatically more costly than even top quality RTW. The amount of the artisans' time just one pair consumes can be weeks, and Japan is not an inexpensive country. Such a price for these shoes is not out of line, or price gouging, at all. If the quality is as it appears, it's actually a rather good value.

For example, every indication is that Foster and Son in Britain still makes exceptional bespoke shoes. If you were to compare these costs to theirs, I think you'd find them quite modest. And while it's true that Foster and Son is far more famous and venerable and therefore commands a higher price, that's a marketing reality, and not in any way related to their comparative quality.

The market for bespoke shoes is a very small one because of the expense, and the fact very few men can't be well satisfied with what fine footwear the RTW market does offer.


Edit: OK, I located Foster's price. It's. $3,861.

Double Edit: American bespoke maker Perry Ercolino's bespoke shoes begin at $3,800.
After a bit more research it looks like most of these Japanese shoe makers are small production and do some RTW for about half the cost of their Bespoke. The greater point is that at the high end around 4000 dollars it is actually a pretty decent price for bespoke shoes of this quality. Obviously way above most peoples budget for a pair of shoes but still in comparison to other things that people routinely purchase such as computers and TVs and large appliances perhaps not so unaffordable. All I am saying is most people could never conceive of buying a jet airplane for example. On the other hand, if a pair of bespoke shoes from Japan was on your "bucket list" maybe one could find a way.
 

JBierly

Advanced Member
The other interesting Caveat is at least a couple of these artisans trained with Tony while he was at EG. So it's still is a small world for bespoke.
 
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Langham

Honors Member
The other interesting Caveat is at least a couple of these artisans trained with Tony while he was at EG. So it still is a small world for bespoke.
I was going to say that one or two did remind me a little of G&G.

The big difference, I think, is that most Northampton shoes are made for a much bigger (yet still quite select) market than can be catered for by bespoke shoemakers.
 

Flanderian

Connoisseur
For contrast, this is a vintage Henry Maxwell bespoke half-brogue. I have very little information on HM, but my understanding is that it was one of the finest bespoke shoemakers of its era, and perhaps the finest.

A great obvious difference between this and the Japanese makers is the shape of the last. The young Japanese makers are following the fashion trend of elongated lasts with the vamp extended making the foot appear longer, whereas, the approach and intent of the Maxwell shoe is the opposite.

I think both are elegant and beautiful, but my personal preference is for the approach taken by the Maxwell shoe.

Sorry folks, it seems as if the copy and paste function I've been using isn't working again.

OK, there it is!

 
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Langham

Honors Member
For contrast, this is a vintage Henry Maxwell bespoke half-brogue. I have very little information on HM, but my understanding is that it was one of the finest bespoke shoemakers of its ear, and perhaps the finest.

A great obvious difference between this and the Japanese makers is the shape of the last. The young Japanese makers are following the fashion trend of elongated lasts with the vamp extended making the foot appear longer, whereas, the approach and intent of the Maxwell shoe is the opposite.

I think both are elegant and beautiful, but my personal preference is for the approach taken by the Maxwell shoe.

Sorry folks, it seems as if the copy and paste function I've been using isn't working again.

OK, there it is!

Maxwells are owned by Foster's - have been for quite a long time. They are well-known for making riding boots - in fact I didn't know that they had ever made shoes, but it makes sense.

Maxwell riding boots are famous - their name (or rather that of 'Craxwell' - Siegfried Sassoon was fond of a bit of word play with names, especially place names) appears in his Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man.

If you visit Foster's shop in Jermyn Street today, they will still sell you, or rather measure you for, a pair of Maxwell boots. They cost just over £5,000 last time I asked - I was well out of my depth there. You go back a year later to try them on.
 

Langham

Honors Member
Are you left to wonder how the differ from the bespoke shoes that Foster's sells made presumably the same craftsmen?
I did wonder. Presumably there is some subtle way of telling them apart. I think the Fosters might be a bit more elongated. The British Motor Corporation once had a very sly way of making the same car in slightly different ways to appeal to different socio-economic groups - Wolseleys, Rileys, Austins, Morrises, in descending order, but all basically the same car.
 

JBierly

Advanced Member
At least for my tastes - this type of elongated last shoe is so much more elegant than a rounded shoe that there simply is no comparison as to which last I prefer. I suppose if you have inordinately large feet for your frame this would not be a good thing. Conversely if you are 6 feet tall and have a size 8 shoe the elongated last is a good thing!
 

Flanderian

Connoisseur
What an incredibly pretty shoe!
I've owned a lot of shoes in my life - and some pretty nice ones - but not one of those even comes close to looking as beautiful as any of these.
Justin FitzPatrick who makes beautiful footwear of his own is a gentleman I respect for his knowledge of and candor about footwear. And he remarked to the effect that there's Yohei Fukuda, and then everybody else.

At least for my tastes - this type of elongated last shoe is so much more elegant than a rounded shoe that there simply is no comparison as to which last I prefer. I suppose if you have inordinately large feet for your frame this would not be a good thing. Conversely if you are 6 feet tall and have a size 8 shoe the elongated last is a good thing!
Despite my enjoyment of, and appreciation for these beautiful shoes, my own preference is for a less elongated last. TYE Shoemakers which does such careful, precise work is often more classic, and Yohei Fukuda's bespoke is literally a one-off with significant differences in shape for each pair depending upon his aesthetic inspiration and the client's individual preferences.
 

Flanderian

Connoisseur
At least for my tastes - this type of elongated last shoe is so much more elegant than a rounded shoe that there simply is no comparison as to which last I prefer. I suppose if you have inordinately large feet for your frame this would not be a good thing. Conversely if you are 6 feet tall and have a size 8 shoe the elongated last is a good thing!
Another Japanese maker is Corno Blu. They're a small workshop, but I don't know who are the individual artisans there. Their work is very lovely, though I do think makers such as Fukuda are at a higher level. But the shoe below is credited to them, and is particularly notable for employing a classic last of the sort that was once the hallmark of bespoke, similar to that of the Maxwell shoe above.


 
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