The options, and with that the interest, of Chinese made hand welted shoe brands have taken a hike lately, and many great offerings can be found. It’s also getting easier for people in Europe and the US to order, where one of them taking the lead in this race is Belgian Sons of Henrey with their collaboration with Oct. Tenth / Xibao Shoemaker.
Been writing a fair bit of Chinese brands lately here on Shoegazing, and it’s apparent that the interest is big from you readers, with several questions coming in through mail on these brands and others. One of the brands many have had interest in is Oct. Tenth. This is a collaboration between Tom Brone from Belgium, who runs Sons of Henrey with Goodyear welted Spanish midrange shoes and luxury sneaker brand Vekla (listen to him talk about starting a new brand in this episode of the Shoegazing Podcast), and the Shanghai based Xibao Shoemaker. Xibao is a relatively large manufacturer of mainly hand welted but also cemented (casual loafers), Blake stitched and Goodyear weltedshoes. They sell in China via Taobao under TGC brand and started Oct. Tenth as their international label co-developed with Tom, and they produce for a number of other brands out there.
With Oct. Tenth Tom Brone and Xibao have worked close to develop a number of models offered on a number of lasts, with options of a number of great leathers often sourced by Tom, which is sort of his specialty. There’s everything from cool lazyman oxfords to so called spiral wholecuts, and best seller seam to be their lovely split toe derby. Focus is on more elegant models, which can be done thanks to the hand welting and hand sewn waists, while the front part of the sole stitch is made by machine, and with very close-cut tapered heels and slim bevelled or fiddle back waists.
One thing I’ve noticed that some new Chinese-made brands have problems with at first is the fit of the shoes and giving the right fit info to customers (we saw this for example when Yeossal launched their Chinese hand welted range), which actually is one of the reasons that I haven’t written about Oct. Tenth until now. The first batch of shoes delivered had some misses in fit, but now that more input have been gathered on how customers experience the lasts, it should be no problems with finding a good fit with the assistance from Tom Brone.
Oct. Tenth is focusing on Made to Order, with a delivery time of 4-6 weeks. The price point is very good for shoes with this spec, starting at only €575 including VAT. You get shoes that certainly looks more expensive than that, even if it’s evident when you look up close that the production is quicker and finishing isn’t fully on pair with good bespoke shoes or so, which of course is expected and realistic. But as bang for the buck goes, Oct. Tenth x Sons of Henrey is up there with the best around.