Time to announce the third World Championships in Shoemaking, where the final takes place during the London Super Trunk Show on May 7 2022 (postponed from 2020 and 2021 due to corona). In the prize pool is £6,000 (€7,000 / $7,700), handmade shoemaking awls, 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, with support from Edmund Schenecker (very sadly, Edmund passed away in 2021. He was an important part in creating this contest, and will always be with us in heart). The contest has been a huge success, with two amazing years. First round was won by the German Patrick Frei, with Daniel Wegan and Philippe Atienza as runner ups. This year Daniel Wegan took the crown, with Christophe Corthay in second and Eiji Murata in third. The quality of the top shoes has been astonishing, with craftsmanship that we haven’t seen in many decades.

Some of this year’s contest shoes, exhibited at the London super trunk. Top picture: Yohei Fukuda

The top three shoes each year go on a world tour, this time it’s taken the shoes to Dallas, New York, Hong Kong, Seoul, Beijing, Shanghai, Tokyo, Stockholm, Oslo, Singapore, Bangkok and soon Taipei and Paris. In Tokyo they were part of the huge shoe event Isetan Shoe Expo, and the three top contestants and me were part of a panel discussion about the contest and the shoes, and they were exhibited for the thousands of visitors that attended the event during five days. It’s great to see that 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 have acknowledged the competition, feedback from shoemakers and shoe people have 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 can be a positive thing for the industry and the specific brands/makers.

The top three shoes from 2019 on the their world tour, here at Medallion Shoes in Shanghai. Picture: Medallion Shoes

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

The top three shoes from the first year, here at Unipair in Seoul, South Korea. Picture: Unipair

Now it’s time for the third round. Below in the official call for competition you can find all the details on 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 reddish brown/burgundy longwing brogue derby with a 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. With the type of shoe this time, we are opening up more for a variety of styles of making, I think we will se more chunky stuff as well as some elegant goodies as usual. Note that we have also decided to add a width criteria, apart from being UK8 in length, it can’t be more than two width sizes up or down from an acceptable standard width size (we are looking at standard width in the same way as the length, we accept variations but if it’s too much off from these criteria we can see deduction of points or even disqualifications).

A classic American styled longwing. Perhaps we’ll see contest shoes along this style. Picture: Leffot

But longwings can also be made very elegant (although medallion is missing here, if you compare to contest criteria). Picture: Stefano Bemer

1st prize is £3,000, 2nd £2,000 and 3rd £1,000, the top three will get a handmade shoemaking awl from Phil Norsworthy, plus all podium placed shoes will be exhibited as usual be exhibited at the Isetan Men’s department store in Tokyo, Japan (likely in a new version of the Isetan Shoe Expo, it was such a success this year that it will likely be an annual event, even if the Shoe Shining Champion of Champions part will only happen every third year), and at other stores in various locations around the world, similar to previous tours. 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 31 2020 (NOTE: We have not opened up for new registrants even if 2020 edition was postponed to 2021 and finally 2022, since we had over 90 registered contestants and it’s already on the verge of what we can handle administratively). Any questions about the competition can also be sent here (do read the call for competition found below first though).

World champion Daniel Wegan.

World champion 2019, Daniel Wegan.

Shoemaking awls by Phil Norsworthy

Shoemaking awls by Phil Norsworthy, part of the prize pool. Picture: Phil Norsworthy

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 below (for example, wearability is not a criteria, since it’s more or less impossible to draw the line of what is wearable or not, and it’s the craftsmanship of the shoes that are in focus since fit is more or less impossible to judge, and it’s not something that is especially thrilling to make a contest around).

In the jury who will review the shoes are several bespoke shoemakers and professionals within the industry, the preliminary jury members are shoemakers Jean-Michel Casalonga of Berluti (workshop manager and lastmaker in Berluti’s Paris workshop), Nicholas Templeman (previously John Lobb London), Masaru Okuyama (Japanese bespoke shoemaker, previously based in Hong Kong, now in the UK), Sebastian Tarek (independent shoemaker who previously have done outwork for many of the London West End firms), and Daniel Wegan of Catella Shoemaker (world champion in 2019). 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 te sponsors who are making this contest possible (together with Parker Schenecker, brother of Edmund Schenecker who was part of starting this contest and sadly passed away last year): Kirby Allison and Gary Tok, author of Master Shoemakers.

The final of the World Championships in Shoemaking will take place at the 2022 London Super Trunk Show, which will take place on Saturday May 7 2022 (postponed from April 25, to October 10 2020, to May 8 2021, to October 9, to the new date) due to the coronavirus situation), in the same venue as 2019, Showcase.co on Regent Street just below Piccadilly Circus. 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 World Championships in Shoe Patina. So put a mark in your calendar for May 7. And as before, please help us spread the word about the contest!

Crowded in front of the stage ahead of the award ceremony for the patina and shoemaking world champs.

Crowded in front of the stage ahead of the award ceremony for this year’s contest.




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

– One left shoe, size UK8 (or corresponding size), maximum 2 width sizes up or down from an acceptable standard width
– Reddish brown / burgundy box calf upper (aniline dyed leather)
– Leather sole
– Hand welted, handmade sole stitch
– Dark 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. Gold medal. Shoe showcased at Isetan Men’s department store in Shinjuku, Tokyo, plus other stores around the world.

2nd prize: £2,000. Silver medal. Shoe showcased at Isetan Men’s in Tokyo, plus other stores around the world.
3rd prize: £1,000. Bronze medal. 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 31 2020, 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 May 7 (but the shoe cannot be shown to the public prior to the event).

The competition shoe should be sent to England to be judged and displayed at the London Super Trunk Show 2022 at Saturday May 7. They have to be delivered in London no later than May 4 (we had shoes coming in too late previous years who missed being part of the contest, so please send shoes in time, for example if sent from 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 May 6, 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 May 7, and they cannot reveal that they are entering the contest. The shoes will be displayed during the London Super Trunk Show event on Saturday May 7, 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 many of them in our social media channels.

The jury:
Jean-Michel Casalonga, lastmaker and workshop manager, Berluti

Nicholas Templeman, bespoke shoemaker
Masaru Okyuama bespoke shoemaker
Sebastian Tarek, bespoke shoemaker
Daniel Wegan, bespoke shoemaker
Kirby Allison, sponsor, founder of the Kirby Allison store
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, the contestant need to sort the return shipping with a pre-paid return shipping label.

*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.