Men's Clothing Forums banner
1 - 20 of 381 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
27,615 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I think they might be. A bold question or perhaps only a foolish one. But superlatives beg comparisons. First I haven't personally traded with all the world's shoemakers, or even all of those in Japan. So I'm going strictly by eyeball scrutiny of those to which I've been exposed. And foolish also because of the proper esteem held for the many fine makes of Northamtonshire, Italy, Spain and eastern Europe.

And what do I mean by best? Because it can quite properly mean different things to different people. My definition is simple, the most beautiful shoes, of the most careful precision made from exquisite materials. And based solely upon this description, the shoes I'm seeing are not of the best, but among the best ever!

Now should you wish to ask how you may acquire such, it's really simple, all you will need is $3,000+, a round trip 1st class ticket to Japan, and about a year's patience. :D

Seiji McCarthy -





TYE Shoemakers -



Yohei Fukuda -





On the hoof -
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
27,615 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
For some reason I am seriously uninterested. $3K? For something to put on my feet? I think not.
I love fine automobiles. I would very much enjoy and appreciate a Bentley. For me it's not a status symbol, it's an experience. I've never had one, and shall not, and I'm fine with that. But that makes one no less beautiful or wonderful.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
27,615 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
I also agree that they are a bit hard to obtain and probably aren't worth it. As for I would never spend that kind of money on shoes its all a matter of disposable income and wants.
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
27,615 Posts
Discussion Starter · #22 ·
^ 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!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
27,615 Posts
Discussion Starter · #26 · (Edited)
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!

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
27,615 Posts
Discussion Starter · #39 ·
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
27,615 Posts
Discussion Starter · #40 · (Edited)
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.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
27,615 Posts
Discussion Starter · #44 · (Edited)
These shoes are works of art, but some of them, I have to wonder, whose feet are shaped like that??
The wise-*** answer is the guy they were made for, as they're pretty much all bespoke. ;)

But I take your meaning as they generally appear longer and curvier than much of what is depicted. And while none of them actually looks like most feet, the foot is also curvier than it often appears. If you look at two footprints in the sand, or footprints from someone who had wet feet walking by a pool, what you'll see is something that looks rather like commas, elongated, broader and rounded in the front, thin in the middle and with a heel much narrower than the forefoot. You can actually often tell more about the fit of a shoe by looking at the sole than the upper.

And if you look at the sole of the last Fukuda shoe I posted, the sole isn't all that different from the comma I described. The upper only looks very different because we're not accustomed to seeing shoes made with this degree of precision and art. Very narrow waists are one of the hallmarks of great shoes, and actually very comfortable because they mimic the contact patch of the sole of the foot.

Shoes with an elongated last are deceptive because you're quite right that feet aren't shaped that way. But in such lasts the forefoot doesn't fill the full length of the toe box and is instead nestled in the broader portion behind the tip. It may not look comfortable, but it can be. I have only one pair of footwear on an slightly elongated last, and it fits as I describe, but is very comfortable. I attached a photo of the boot's sole below.

So while the curvy, elongated lasts with a last that appears very narrow may not look like a foot, they can in fact provide these sleek curves while often also furnishing a very comfortable fit.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
27,615 Posts
Discussion Starter · #45 ·
These shoes are works of art, but some of them, I have to wonder, whose feet are shaped like that??
Added today, this photo of a sole level head-on (I guess that should be toe-on. ;)) view of a pair of Yohei Fukuda shoes, while not swoopy and curvey actually has a shape remarkably similar to what a foot would look like photographed from the same perspective.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
27,615 Posts
Discussion Starter · #52 · (Edited)
I am curious why you have the aversion to a "boxed-off" aka chisel toe?
Thanks for explaining the term "boxed-off" as I had not encountered it before. The epitome of the chisel-toe, the English maker Cleverly -



And these, credited as Yohie Fukuda RTW. At least I think that is what is trying to be conveyed. If so, they look as good as his bespoke -


 

·
Registered
Joined
·
27,615 Posts
Discussion Starter · #62 ·
^^
Egad, at that price and given my past demonstrated inclinations, I suspect if I were to buy a pair, I would be afraid to wear them out in the real world...and I would be stuck with another pair of closet queens! However, they are so, sooo beautiful. :(
Momentarily disregarding that $2,300 is likely closer to my remaining lifetime footwear budget, I'm not certain that they would suit me. This degree of elegance and precision would require an amount of buffing up on my behalf that might now be beyond my realm.

I frankly never find myself in a suit anymore; rustic and blurred around the edges might better describe the aesthetic that typifies both my persona and existence. Corduroy and tweed sport jackets, and the like. A more formal style of dress was my norm for 40+ years of business, but I rarely miss it, and enjoy what I have now.

However none of this makes such footwear even slightly less beautiful, or desirable for those who dress within that milieu.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
27,615 Posts
Discussion Starter · #63 ·
It's so far past my budget, that I can only talk about them like I do art work in museums. It's in the budget area of "if you have to ask how much..."

All that said, if serendipity brought them to me, like you, I'd have a hard time wearing them as nothing I do / nowhere I go in my life lives up to or demands the artistry and skills of Yohei Fukuda nor the cost of his creations.
Me too! :eek:
 
1 - 20 of 381 Posts
Top