This Saturday in Tokyo at one of the world’s largest deparment store’s – Isetan Shinjuku – the top three shoes from the this year’s World Championships of Shoemaking were on display, me, third placed Louis Lampertsdörfer and second placed Victor Vulpe were there to talk to visitors about the shoes and the contest, and the latter held a shoemaking masterclass. Here’s a brief summary of the event including a bunch of photos.
We were located at the large shoe department at the bottom floor of Isetan Men’s huge bulding, where you find mostly classic men’s shoes from a crazy large selection of brands from around the world, including of course a bunch of domestic ones, and in literally all price reanges. Business has picked up well again after the pandemic. They sell about 100 pairs of shoes here every weekday, on weekends there can be 500 pairs per day that’s sold.
In one corner of the department there is a separate room hosting the deparments most popular brand at the moment – J.M. Weston, a couple of premium Japanese brands and a 3D scanner to help find sizing for mainly sneakers. Here we gathered for this small celebration of top craftsmanship, where apart from displaying the podium boots and shoe patina world’s winner, we had sort of a meet and greet with Japanese shoe lovers. I was there as an organiser of the world champs contest, and two of three podium placed makers could make it here: silver medalist Victor Vulpe from Romania and the German bronze medalist Louis Lampertsdörfer.
Victor Vulpe also hosted a shoemaking masterclass, where he during about an hour showcased some techniques used when making shoes by hand, some of them with his own unique tools, and let visitors try some of it themselves. Not only shoe interested came, some journalists were present, and a bunch of shoemakers took the chance to look at the masterpieces which made it to the top of the contest and talk to the makers. A lovely afternoon. Note that the shoes will also be displayed during the final of the Japanese shoe shining contest next Saturday at Mitsukoshi Ginza. The shoes will then continue their world tour, with next stop being India (full tour schedule in this article, where you can see more of all contest shoes).