Last week I spent in Tokyo, where we had a World Championships in Shoemaking exhibition event at Isetan Men’s last weekend. I was there together with the world champion Patrick Frei, and obviously the top three shoes and the three top Japanese contributions. Here are a number of pictures from the well-attended event.


We were located at Isetan Men’s large shoe department, where you find mostly classic men’s shoes, ranging from cheap Blake-stitched models around €100 all the way up to bespoke shoes from some carefully selected Japanese manufacturers. They sell about 150 pairs of shoes here every weekday, on weekends there are 500 pairs per day that’s sold. About 1 750 pairs a week, not too bad.

In one corner of the department there is a section dedicated to premium RTW as well as bespoke, which is newly renovated, here was the world shoemaking exhibition event hosted. I was there as an organizer with world champion Patrick Frei, who also showed a few parts of bespoke shoemaking live, which was much appreciated. The three podium-placed shoes were on display, along with the three best-placed contributions of Japanese shoemakers. Several hundred people visited the event in the afternoon, great to see that there was a mix of visitors, such as other bespoke shoemakers, shoemaking students, shoe nerds and just ordinary people who visited the department store. The six shoes have since been shown in a booth during the following week for more visitors.

Patrick Frei discusses his winning shoe with some visitors.

Patrick showed how to make a seamless wholecut, which lots of people were interested to follow.

Everyone wanted to watch.

A lot of leather to be streched out.

The contest shoes on display. Bottom line from left, the shoe made by Patrick Frei (1st), Daniel Wegan (2nd), Philippe Atienza (3rd). Upper row from left the three best placed Japanese: Wataru Shimamoto (4th), Fumiya Ando (5th), Kiyo (7th).

Eiji Murata, considered by many to be one of the best spokesmen in the world, visited the event and inspected Daniel Wegan’s dense sole stitching.

Patrick Frei also showed how he welds the thread for welt seam and the special technique used when he attaches it on the pig bristle he sews with.

Many took pictures of the shoes.

Phillipe Atienza’s shoes studied up-close. In the foreground to the left in the picture, the bespoke shoemaker Kimura.

Some students from the shoemaking school Taito Bunto are trying to learn as much as possible from the contest shoes.

Below a movie like the popular Japanese Youtubern Okuno did at the event, where in film format you get a closer look at all six shoes that were released (the non-Japanese can jump in 00.47 into the movie where the part of Isetan Men’s begins):


More about the World Championships in Shoemaking in this post. More about Isetan Men’s shoes department in this report.