The Asian quality shoe industry, outside Japan, is much more evolved than what most Westerners tend to believe. And more is happening – fast. In this episode, we hear shoe expert Robin Chang, founder of the Taiwanese shoe store Oak Room, talk about Asian-made classic shoes.
Robin Chang started the leading shoe store in Taiwan, Oak Room, located in the capital Taipei, over five years ago. He has been involved in the shoe business for many years, and is considered one of the foremost experts on the classic shoe industry in Asia.
In this episode we will focus on the situation for factories making classic quality shoes as well as bespoke shoemakers in Asia, outside of Japan. It’s a topic that many in Europe or the US don’t know much about. Things are happening quickly in this part of the world, and this industry has come further than many believe. We will talk about how China has already moved away from being a low cost production country for shoes, nowadays it’s countries like Laos and Vietnam where manufacturing of quality shoes is growing the quickest. This has meant that we now see a lot of new Chinese independent shoemakers making fully handmade shoes, raised in a shoe industry that in parts have moved on, and now thanks to social media they can reach customers themselves.
We also talk about for example how the very affordable, often very well-made Asian made quality shoes will be pushing European manufacturers, as they come into play as proper competition, we will go into the situation with customers in the domestic countries, and much, much more. You have a very informative half an hour in front of you, enjoy.
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Well, given the article/news on John Lobb London, and how the quality of the bespoke shoes they produce (see comments on poor quality compared to Lobb Paris), it’s not surprising we are seeing Asian shoemakers pushing though with increasing quality. Perhaps it will make Europe/rest of the shoe-making world sit up and take notice.
Anthony Jones: Yeah, as we talk about towards the end of the podcast, many European makers will likely be pushing themselves and what is offered, when competition gets more fierce, from Asia among others. Some cases we still see that Asia is behind in terms of work environment, but it’s also something that has improved and is improving, especially in luxury goods segment like this is, where customers are caring about sustainability and have high demands. It’s up to us customers to not only care about price and quality of the product to have this improved even more, wider and quicker.
do you have a transcription?
Chin-Chen Lee: Unfortunately not. Tried a couple of automatic transcription services but work poorly, and takes too long time to do manually. Anything particular you wanted to know?