I’m currently in Japan, and one of the highlights this far was picking up my fourth pair from the bespoke shoemaker Eiji Murata, alias Main d’Or. An exquisite pair of split toe derbies in a medium brown embossed grain leather, made to the same extremely high standard as he’s known for.
Eiji Murata with his brand Main d’Or has his workshop and showroom in Matsudo, in the Chiba prefecture east of central Tokyo. He makes everything himself – patterns, lasts, upper closing, bottoming, finishing – and he does all to the absolute highest of standards. Nowadays he doesn’t produce more than 10-15 pairs per year and with relatively low prices still (320,000 yen, but upcharge for shoe trees etc.) he has more demand than he can handle. The waiting time is about five years for new customers, including two fitting shoes, but he has stopped taking new customers several times the past years to not get the waiting time longer. You can read more about Eiji Murata in this report, in this buyer’s guide, and in many other articles on the site if you check here.
These are my fourth pair from him, and my first derby shoes. They are made in an embossed calf leather from the French tannery Haas, which they call Utah, with a hatch grain pattern. The apron stitching is made with butt stitching, not so called pie-crust (read more about apron and split toe seams in this article), which I think looks even better on lighter coloured grain leather since you have a more uniform look without the edge on the latter.
I opted for a square outside waist and bevelled inside, giving a good balance for this type of shoe. Sole stitch at 14 spi (stitches per inch). Since this is a model I want to wear during autumn and spring also in harsher weather, they have full rubber heel top piece and a flush leather topy, along with metal toe taps. Better grip and moisture resistance, with the same craftsmanship and look of regular leather soled shoes. I’m pretty certain these will be worn a lot the coming years.