RTW Map – China

Back to 2015 and 2016, Hugo Jacomet (Parisian Genlteman) created a list of all ranges of shoemakers, from Corthay, John Lobb Paris down to Bexley. With each brand, the average price, pros and cons are mentioned.

Unfortunately, many shoemakers in Asia are not included, it is understandable due to languege, distance and brand footprint.

To contribute my knowledge of Chinese shoemakers to the wonderful list, and also promote their reputation, I summarize the list following the same format of Hugo’s.

In fact, many shoemakers cover both Amekaji style and dress shoes, I exclude most primary- Amekaji ones, but incorperate those who make dress shoes extraordinarily.

WM1978

Average price: 12000 RMB

The emperor in China dress shoes field. MTM is the main service. The super high price is justified by its focus on comfortability and customers are mostly elder wealthy people.

Handcrafted by very experienced craftmen/women, while best materials are picked and used.

In the meantime, patina colours are very bold. I am not sure whether elder businessmen/politians like it or not.

Von Wang

Average price: 5000 RMB

A very atypical shoemaker, because it is a leather goods maker rather. Still solid skills and design ability in shoemaking.

Pings at the bevelled waist

Price is very high for Chinese customer and not easy to swollow as others using top level leather only charge half. The selling point may be the design.

It IS beautifu, but too pricey.

Drawback: no focus in shoemaking. Polished leather is used on this level of price, disgusting!

J.S

Average price: 4000 RMB

This one is not really a shoemaker, because insider told me that it is Yanming to produce its low end shoes, and TGC high end.

Acctually from TGC

Then what makes it stand out? Customer. This one focuses on Chinese celebrities and got some momentum.

Mer-Caducei

Average price: 3750 RMB

A very new shoes manufacturer who focuses on high end products. It has a big factory which works as ODM for foreign brands for a long time.

Norwegese stitches are their iconic models, but models are not very attractive. Target to compete with WM1978.

Chengcheng/Jimjun

Average price: 3000 RMB

The shoemaker Jimjun behind the brand Chengcheng is a very passionate craftman. He studies shoe making like mad, and skills are impeccable.

Entry level is 1880 RMB for MTO, 4250 for Made to Measure, of which one pair of shoes cut from one hide.

Who is the best, TGC or Jimjun? Many says Jimjun (I don’t know).

SLIMSHOES

Average price: 3000 RMB

A Chengdu Based shoemaker, founded in 2018. All shoes are fully handmade (of course except upper stitching) and with close channel. Fiddleback charges 3800 RMB while non bevelled 2200 RMB.

This museum affect is achieve by patina

Patina is also their weapon to develop more vivid and lively models.

Unlike Jimjun just above, it is a RTW focused brand with strong marketing team, two brick and mortal shops open at most prestigous locations in the city. MTO can accommodate irregular feet with only 500 RMB surcharge, not bad.

Taobao E-shop

JInLoftySh

Average price: 2900 RMB

This one only cares about one thing, how to make the sole outstanding. check their 3980 RMB products.

Saddle heel, Daniel Wegan is saluted.

how about entry level, 1680 RMB?

Not my type.

The upper design is also eccentric, anyway, someone loves, I hope.

TGC

Average price: 2700 RMB

Owner is my friend, shoes are very well made, and lasts and pattern design are the top level in China.

MTO price is 1800 RMB and offers JR leather sole.

MTO Sole

Fully handgrade asks for 3500 RMB, and the waist makes you scream it worths every penny of it.

Full handgrade waist.

Every model is a masterpiece, will be famous worldwide very soon.

Luo’s Handmade

Average price: 2400 RMB

Classic models are very mature, Goodyear welted for 1000 RMB and same model but Norwegian for 3800 RMB. Newly designed models are hard to understand.

Open channelled sole cannot justify the price of Norwegian line. Not competitive in China.

Mattina

Average price: 1800 RMB

Lead by Zhao Ruoda, a bespoke shoemaker who graduated from Stefano Bemer studio.

The factory has very modern goodyear lines.

Goodyear models are 2000 RMB and Blake models are 1500 RMB.

The last is developed by Zhao Ruoda, I believe everyone can admire.

As the very few modern Goodyear factories left in China, this one could become Chinese Edward Green, or at least Crockett & Jones.

The Native Dream

Average price: 1700

Founded in 2010, loves exotic leathers. Shoes are not beautiful at all.

Ostrich

I think exotic leather is for very high end shoemakers and same high end customers, maybe I am wrong.

CWV

Average price: 1700 RMB

Ugly shoes at unreasonable price, almost the same as the one just above.

But it tells most Chinese’s taste is here. No arguement at all.

James Taylor & Son

Average price: 1600 RMB

This is a Chinese shoemaker, am I kidding? Probably not. The factory or workshop is in Shanghai, and this brand may be only for marketing.

Models are classic and I suspect whether James Taylor & Son in England provides lasts or anything.

Looks not bad, does it

I heard the Goodyear process is very solid but never touch their shoes. Maybe someday, still, I don’t like they use a unknown brand to cheat Chinese customers.

Handle Zhang

Average price: 1600 RMB

Open channel Goodyear welted shoes at 1600 RMB. Design is conservative which is a good thing in my eyes. Lasts are average and not moving which extinguishs apetite of purchase.

When combine Goodyear process with Chinese traditional boots, it is FANTASTIC!

Goodyear Welted Tratidional Chinese Boots

Chioryn & Michael

Average price: 1500 RMB

Somehow like aforementioned J.S, this one has no workshop, no design, only distribute other makers’ shoes.

Clearly it adds some markup on the price, then the question is why to buy from you? I don’t have an answer.

Gulun

Average price: 1400 RMB

A brand founded in 2013, however run as ODM from 2000. An able copycat. Because they copied great lasts from Gaziano & Girling, Saint Crispin’s and Yohei Fukuda.

Try to mimic Yohei Fukuda, not bad

Details are decent, and the sole are hand skived and painted.

Haipai Shengshi

Average price: 1300 RMB

Brand name means Shanghailish Gentlemen. What is the flavor of “Old Classic” Shanghai gentlemen? look:

Pointy toes are the feeling.

But recent years, more main stream lasts are adopted, patina is applied, shoes are not funny then.

Recent shoes

Old Overseas Chinese

Average price: 1300 RMB

Fully handmade shoes, not only hand welted, the outsole is also hand stitched just like Vass or Rozsnyai from Hungary. And the price is only 1300 RMB.

Must admit the design is not good, the upper is not top level, but it offers some oppoturnity to some who want to implement his own design with very extensive hand works.

Truffaut

Average price: 1250 RMB

The owner is a close friend of owner of Weinheimer leather works, so shoes are mostly made of Weinheimer Boxcalf. Blake for 800 and Goodyear for 1600.

Maybe the lasts are accomodated to Chinese, but shoe are not very beautiful.

Rsshoes

Average price: 1200 RMB

An unable copycat. All models look like copying some else, and no elegence is perceived.

I am not sure who are the potential customers.

Common

Average price: 1100 RMB

Hangzhou based start up shoemaker, not sure whether they own factory or not. Minimalism design and good quality leather (I think it is not top quality) are a very solid choice for who needs a pair of formal commuting shoes.

Yanming

Average price: 1000 RMB

1200-1300 for open channel Goodyear welted, and 800 for Blake stitched loafers. It is the Chinese Carlos Santos. Because their focus is on patina.

Patina is far away from Carlos Santos

To be honest, the path may not be wrong, but the patina is not as good as Carlos Santos, not mention the cultural content (Carlos Santos’ patinas are named after Portugese cities.).

Jinzhi

Average price: 980 RMB

Chinese name means produce from now, which is order is placed, then shoes produce starts.

A Shanghai (Hangzhou?) based MTO shoemakers. Three lasts remains after trial of 60 lasts. Leather is solely from Germany, but not mentioned whether it is Weienheimer.

The owner is a Shoe Shine Championship participant and well known, service to customers is outragous.

Drawback: Lasts are not so good, either too pointy or too round/bulk。

Qinzhen

Average price: 900 RMB

The Chinese name means industrious needle, I believe it is a good name for this shoemaker who stitches welt and outsole fully by hand.

Three layers Norwegian welted

Norweigian welted shoes hit 900-1000 RMB, which is a big bang for any market.

Drawback is the leather used is not prestigous and sole treatment is ordinary.

Cie

Average price: 900 RMB

In fact, not a single pair of shoes cost 900 RMB, becasue 1000 for Goodyear welted open channel, and 800 for Blake stitched. 700 for cemented, the price gradient is funny.

Model LO04, Anyone can tell who is copied.

Top sales volume in China, the reason is very simple, CHEAP Berluti. Personally I feel Berluti is cheap except the price.

Guciter

Average price: 800 RMB

A Blake stitch only brand, establish in 2005, Shanghai. Most shoes are ugly or visibly low, and some have good last and pattern.

This pair is good.

Leather is not impressive either, so competence is a problem.

Hongjin

Average price: 700 RMB

Open channel for 650 RMB, closed channel 750 RMB. Most models are quite ugly, the others are OK. Design is relatively better on boots.

Colour clash is impressive. Polished leather is the only choice.

Kaipeng

Average price: 680 RMB

Run for 10 years, and the design is quite average. Only fur-inside dress shoes are a great point.

Some outstanding designs are there, but most are ordianry. Sole treatment is not exquisite.

Colourful

Average price: 450 RMB

Rubber sole for 300-400 RMB, leather sole for 500-600 RMB. All models are Goodyear welted. When westerners say 200 USD is a killer with Goodyear welted, please look at China!

Not too bad, is it?

Yihong99

Average price: 410 RMB

Another entry level Goodyear only shoemaker. At this price, cutting corner is inevitable. For someone never tried welted shoes, it is a very small step to leap.

Constrained to very classic models, pattern making is not bad at all.

18 Replies to “RTW Map – China”

  1. Impressive! I hope this article sets up a milestone for the shoemaking in China. I would just like to point out (again) that James Taylor & Son is indeed a bespoke maker, although lesser-known and mainly focuses on orthopedics, in the Paddington area in west London.
    Zhang Dong (may he rest in peace!) used to work there, after his apprenticeship at Lobb St James and studies at UAL. The RTW line you mention here, although only marketed in China initially, is a unequivocally legit partnership between the bespoke workshop and the factory near Shanghai initiated and led by ZD, who devoted everything he has to this project, from pattern making, manufacturing to marketing. The response from the Chinese market turned out great and I have no doubt this RTW line would have gone global if not with the sudden death of ZD. The factory and this brand have gone through a staggering period afterwards but I am really glad the baton has now passed down to ZRD, who can further fulfill the legacy of ZD.

    1. 张先生真是中国皮鞋界的一尊大神啊。希望后面我能搜集到更多的信息,给大家讲讲他的故事。
      我为我的无知道歉,如果你有James Taylor & Son中国负责人的联系方式,请告知我。
      ZRD目前在马氏任职,这家厂目前应该不是赵了吧?
      这篇文章我会继续扩充,完善,也希望更多的外国人能够了解中国的缝制鞋匠和行业。

  2. You should also add the following internationally acclaimed makers:
    YIM (Gray Yim)
    Iron Boots/Iron Dress
    LuYang
    Flamepanda (HuoMao)
    WM1978

    1. 铁履已经写了,但是我这个清单主要关注正装鞋,主打工装或咔叽的,就不放在里面了。如果他将来把正装分成一个品牌,肯定会加进去,目前正装就三个款式,看起来还可以,价格优点高。
      Lu Yang应该只有定制。
      YIM不太知道成鞋放在哪里,网站,或者网店,都没找到。
      WM1978这个后面会加上。
      Flamepanda我还是第一次听说呢。
      如果您有他们的联系方式,可以发给我吗?

      1. JTS是马氏产的
        YIM自己的淘宝店今年会上
        Iron Dress是铁履偏正装线
        火猫您搜一下就行

        1. 如果James Taylor & Son是马氏产的,那无怪乎您说它固特异扎实了。
          YIM上了就介绍。
          铁履的文章已经发过了,的确是有三款鞋,但毕竟在一个大店里,就那么点,不引人注意,比较难把它单独来看。
          火猫一直知道,我甚至没看到他家的正装鞋,或者正装也太工装风格。

  3. I couldn’t find websites or any other contact details on Google for many of these shoe makers. Can you please include their websites/web stores and contact details please? Thanks

    1. These makers almost sell on a platform called Taobao which is a subsidiary of Alibaba.
      If you don’t speak or read Chinese, it is a big struggle.
      Most of them have no website, I think that is where they should catch up quickly if they want to expand oversea.

          1. 👍 Looking forward to the links!

            中文不太方便但可以勉强沟通 😁

            可能的话想试试质量好,价格划算的国产鞋!

              1. Thanks! What’s your opinion on Meermin and Grant Stone, which are Chinese-made shoes that are somewhat known overseas?

                1. Meermin is better than Grant Stone, because US company always wants higher markup.
                  Meermin is strong at design, while Grant Stone is nothing spectacular.

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