Once again we saw some hugely impressive craftsmanship in the shoes participating in the World Championships in Shoemaking. Here is a look at the top three shoes, made by Daniel Wegan (1st place), Christophe Corthay (2nd), and Eiji Murata (3rd).

 

The super trunk in London last weekend was a huge success, there will be more on that in a large report this weekend, and later on I will summarise all the 40 contest shoes for the World Championships in Shoemaking, a contest organised by Shoegazing and The Shoe Snob, in collaboration with Kirby Allison’s Hanger Project and the book Master Shoemakers. But since there is a lot of work putting those contest articles together and it will take a while, here is a look at the top trio, who all made the whole shoes themselves.

As always, I expect a debate on wearability, I want you to note that this is not a part of the criteria (read more in the Call for competition), we only state a size EU42/UK8 in length. For this contest, the craftsmanship of the shoemaking (not lastmaking/fit since it’s extremely difficult to solve a contest judging fit) is in focus, and we see shoes that can be viewed more as concept cars, for example, where the maker creates a more artistic piece meant to showcase the craftsmanship possible. We saw all types of shoes in this contest, and more artistic shoes ended up both high and low in the list, as well as more practical shoes ended up both high and low (for example Eiji Murata’s shoe in third place is more or less a slightly refined version of his customer shoes). This is the way contest was held hundred years ago, which has been inspiring this contest, and we know that all makers whichever shoe they make learn a lot from participating in tis contest, which is a great thing.

So, on to the top three.

 

Daniel Wegan, 1st place

The Swede, working for Gaziano & Girling in England, made a shoe where everything is made by hand, with hand stitched upper at 21 spi (stitches per inch) and sole stitch of 25 spi. A super slim waist and horseshoe heel makes it spectacular, and the execution was super impressive.

A very slim shape enhanced by the pattern, with a fully handmade upper with lots of details, for example the braided stitching along the top line.

A very slim waist, partly made possible thanks to the narrow shape of the shoe, with the spectacular horseshoe heel.

 

Christophe Corthay, 2nd place

The French master who nowadays run Tranchet Vif, returned from last years 8th place with an even more impressive shoe. Very neat making, with the braided sole stitching as the cherry on the cake. Also the specially made heel is extraordinary.

With the orange piping and tassel laces, combined with the braided orange sole stitching, the shoe definitely has its own character.

Corthay’s shoe has a more normal last shape and waist, but the heel is everything but normal.

 

Eiji Murata, 3rd place

Japanese maker Eiji Murata, the man behind the brand Main d’Or, has an excellent reputation, with this shoe he shows why. This compared to some others is nothing special when it comes to the look and style, it’s actually quite similar to his regular customer work, just with tighter sole stitching and even narrower waist. What really stands out here is the flawless making, both the closing of the uppers, the bottom making and finishing is so perfectly made that it looks like it could have been drawn in a computer.

Not a shoe that gives you a wow factor at first glance, but when you look up-close you see what a masterpiece it is.

Well-built waist, heel and finished sole.