We are happy to announce the second edition of the World Championships in Shoemaking, where the final takes place during the London Super Trunk Show on March 23 2019. In the prize pool is £6,000 (€6,800 / $7,700) and a chance to be showcased for shoe lovers around the world. Here’s all the info about the competition.


The World Championships in Shoemaking is organised by Shoegazing and The Shoe Snob, in collaboration with the webshop Kirby Allison’s Hanger Project and the book project Master Shoemakers. This year’s premiere of the contest was a huge success. We had 30 entries sent in from all over the world (see all contest shoes here), with a very high standard not least on the ones that ended in the top segment. During the final at the London Super Trunk Show this April all shoes were exhibited and the interest from visitors was great. Winning shoe was made by German bespoke shoemaker Patrick Frei, second place Daniel Wegan from Gaziano & Girling, and third Philippe Atienza. For winner Patrick Frei the world champion title has meant a large increase in interest for his shoes, and to handle the demand he has raised his prices.

Alla skor som deltog i årets VM.

All shoes that were part of this year’s contest, here on display at the super trunk in London.

These three shoes have then been on tour to New York, Chicago, Singapore, Seoul, Beijing, Hong Kong, Stockholm, Tokyo, Oslo and are now in Geneva, with final stop at Upper Shoes in Paris in the beginning of December. Shoe lovers around the world have had the chance to admire the craftsmanship, and people who don’t know much about shoes have discovered what can be done. I’m also very happy of the fact that the industry seem to have acknowledge the competition, feedback from shoemakers and shoe people have also been very positive.
Worth noting is that we who organise this make no money on it at all, everything we get from the partners goes directly to the the prize sum, to the shoemakers.

Around 100 years ago there were numerous of prestigious shoemaking competitions around the world. These competitions pushed the shoemakers in their craft, made them create amazing shoes which not necessarily would be ideal for actual use, but incredible as showpieces. With the World Championships in Shoemaking, we wanted to bring back some of this. And at the same time, do our best to show the competition shoes for a wide audience, something that hopefully can be a positive thing for the industry and the specific brands/makers. There were some existing competitions today, but they are relatively unknown for a wider audience and/or have the problem that they award basically everyone entering.

The top three shoes on the their world tour, here in Unipair in Seoul, South Korea. Picture: Unipair

The top three shoes on the their world tour, here in Unipair in Seoul, South Korea. Picture: Unipair

Now it’s time for the second round. Below in the official call for competition you can find all the details in how it unfolds, and for bespoke shoe brands or people who work with making shoes, how to enter the World Championships. But to summarise it, the contestants will make a dark brown full brogue oxford (some extra pressure on the closing of the uppers this time, in other words) with a single leather sole, hand welted with handmade sole stitch. The criteria that will be judged are the degree of difficulty and the execution of the making, but also the overall design/aesthetics.

This year a dark brown full brogue oxford is to be made. Here is a very classic example made by Marquess/Shoji Kawaguchi.

This year a dark brown full brogue oxford is to be made. Here is a very classic example made by Marquess/Shoji Kawaguchi.

1st prize is £3,000, 2nd £2,000 and 3rd £1,000, plus all podium placed shoes will be exhibited at the Isetan Men’s department store in Tokyo, Japan, and at other stores in various locations around the world, similar to this year’s tour. When the contest is over all shoes will be sent back to the shoemakers and can be used as sample display shoes (for top three after the tour). On Shoegazing and The Shoe Snob and in our social media channels we will also showcase all entries in the world championships.

We hope to get a wide variety of brands and shoemakers entering the competition this time as well. Both larger, more established firms and smaller less known one-man operations. To enter the competition, you need to register by sending an e-mail to shoegazingblog@gmail.com no later than January 15 2019. Any questions about the competition can also be sent here (do read the call for competition found below first though).

Second placed Daniel Wegan and winner Patrick Frei from this year's award ceremony, where luckily to top placed were on site.

Second placed Daniel Wegan and winner Patrick Frei from this year’s award ceremony, where luckily to top placed were on site.

From this year’s contest, we’ve learned a bit on how to make it as good as possible, so the info is a bit more specified and we have explained our points deduction system if guidelines aren’t followed properly. We do understand that there can be discussions on how this type of competition is set up and how it’s judged, but hope that people also this year will understand that what we do here and judge here is what is stated in this text. In the jury who will review the shoes are several bespoke shoemakers and professionals within the industry, jury members are shoemakers Patrick Frei (world champion in shoemaking 2018), Philippe Atienza (third in last year’s contest), Jim McCormackNicholas Templeman, Yohei Iwasaki of George Cleverley, plus Patrick Verdillon, Director bespoke at John Lobb Paris. But to also add a slightly different view shoe experts Jesper Ingevaldsson of Shoegazing and Justin FitzPatrick of The Shoe Snob are part of the jury, and the three sponsors who are making this event possible: Edmund Schenecker who is a bespoke shoe customer and shoe nerd, Kirby Allison, founder of The Hanger Project, and Gary Tok, author of Master Shoemakers.

The final of the World Championships in Shoemaking will take place at next year’s London Super Trunk Show, which we hereby announce will take place on Saturday March 23, this time at a new Mayfair location. Stay tuned for more info about the event in a while. The super trunk will as previous times gather more than 10 brands from all over the world, and it will among other things host the final in the World Championships in Shoe Shining and also for the first time the World Championships in Shoe Patina, completing the shoe world championships trio. So put a mark in your calendar for March 23, and book your trip to London straight away. And as before, please help us spread the word about the contest!

Crowd following the award ceremony.

Crowd who had followed the award ceremony.




Criteria for shoe:
– Full brogue oxford model (4-6 separate leather pieces, brogueing along all edges of the leather pieces, wingtip and medallion is mandatory, further decorative brogueing and decorations is ok though not necessary, but no contrast stitching)

– One left shoe, size UK8 (or corresponding size)
– Dark brown box calf upper (aniline dyed leather)
– Single leather sole
– Hand welted, handmade sole stitch
– Dark brown sole and heel edges, natural coloured bottom (decorations with for example wheels or nails are ok, but no dye or burnish)
– Finished inside of the shoe, with sock lining etc.
– No branding
– Shoes will be displayed without last or shoe tree for the jury, but if shoe tree is provided these will be used when they are showcased during the event

Errors in respect to the above specifications will result in deductions of points, 5% deduction of total points for small errors, 10% deduction of total points on larger errors. If the shoe does not follow specifications at all, it can be disqualified. Jury decisions on the above cannot be overruled.

Competitors can enter both as a company or as a person. All persons that have been part in the making of the shoe should be stated, and which process(es) each person have made.

Criteria that will be judged:
Degree of difficulty (maximum 10 points per jury member)
Jury look at how complicated construction methods that have been used, how advanced they have been built both in large and in smaller details, etc.

Execution (maximum 10 points)
Jury look at how well the various parts of the shoe construction have been made, how neat and clean the work is, how well executed the level of finishing is, etc.

Design / Aesthetics (maximum 5 points)
Jury look at the overall aesthetics of the shoe, proportions, etc.

1st prize: £3,000. Glass plaquette. Shoe showcased at Isetan Men’s department store in Shinjuku, Tokyo, plus other stores around the world.

2nd prize: £2,000. Glass plaquette. Shoe showcased at Isetan Men’s in Tokyo, plus other stores around the world.
3rd prize: £1,000. Glass plaquette. Shoe showcased at Isetan Men’s in Tokyo, plus other stores around the world.

How to enter the competition:
Competitors who wish to enter the contest need to register to shoegazingblog@gmail.com no later than January 15 2019, send in name/brand under which you wish to enter. Only one entry per competitor. It is free of charge to enter the competition. For any questions, send e-mail to the address above. We encourage brands/makers to take pictures of the making process to be shared after the final on March 23.

The competition shoe should be sent to England to be judged and displayed at the London Super Trunk Show 2019 at Saturday March 23. They have to be delivered in London no later than March 19 (we had shoes coming in too late last year who missed being part of the contest, so please send shoes in time, for example if sent outside the EU they may stay in customs several days etc).
Address to send the shoe to will be given once competitor send a final confirmation e-mail of finished shoe and is due to ship it.

Judging process and award ceremony:
Jury will review and judge the shoes on Friday March 22, at this stage the shoes will be anonymous*. Note that due to this, competing shoemakers can not show the competition shoes in for example social media until March 23, and they cannot reveal that they are entering the contest. The shoes will be displayed during the London Super Trunk Show event on Saturday March 23, where the award ceremony will take place at 16.00. Then the World Champion in Shoemaking and the podium places will be announced (competitors don’t have to be in place themselves), with the full top ten list (the other positions will be revealed later). All competition shoes will also be showcased on Shoegazing and The Shoe Snob’s blogs and social media channels.

The jury:
Patrick Frei, bespoke shoemaker, world champion in shoemaking 2018
Philippe Atienza, bespoke shoemaker, third in the World Championships in Shoemaking 2018
Jim McCormack, bespoke shoemaker

Nicholas Templeman, bespoke shoemaker
Yohei Iwasaki, bespoke shoemaker at George Cleverley
Patrick Verdillon, Director bespoke John Lobb Paris
Edmund Schenecker, sponsor, bespoke shoe customer
Kirby Allison, sponsor, founder of The Hanger Project
Gary Tok, sponsor, author of Master Shoemakers
Jesper Ingevaldsson, Shoegazing
Justin FitzPatrick, The Shoe Snob

The jury decision cannot be overruled.

The shoes will be returned to the contestants and can be used as display shoes (for top three, after the tour to Isetan, Japan, and other stores). In the case they need to be shipped back, shipping costs apply.

*Jesper Ingevaldsson of Shoegazing will know who enters the contest, due to him taking care of the registration and answering questions. However, he will not know which shoe belongs to whom when reviewing and judging them. For all other parties of the jury, the shoes will be strictly anonymous.