An Interview with Chinese Bespoke Shoemaker WANG Zhencheng

Mr. WANG Zhencheng comes from Wenzhou, a city regarded as shoe capital in China, who is a veteran in this trade. His own brand is called Insignia. Let have a read of his journey.

Could you briefly introduce yourself?

My name is WANG Zhencheng, born in 1966. I barely finished elementary school. My hobbies are shoemaking and fishing.

When did you first meet handmade shoes? What was the feeling then?

I went to school when I was 9-year-old which is quite old by standard due to family reasons. My athlete talent immediately sparkled, first place was always in my pocket on Ping Pong ball and 100-meter race in the county.

I was not so into study, after graduated from elementary school, I dropped off and helped family on farming. At 15 year old, apprenticed under a local shoemaker by someone’s introduction.

I had no feeling that time as this was only a profession to make a living.

Because I understood and learned things quickly, and my muscle was strong due to my taking on farming, I was the best among many apprentices.

At the age of 18, I finished my apprenticeship and worked as an individual shoemaker. In so many years making shoes, it becomes love rather than a trade.

What is your strength in shoemaking?

Innovation is my biggest strength as every pair starts from last making, and all processes including pattern design, upper stitching and sole making are all done by myself.

Fineness of craftsmanship is second to nobody.

What are you still interested in shoemaking?

To push the boundary of shoemaking, such as Seamless Wholecut Oxford made of shell cordovan leather.

What is your plan in this trade?

Continue improving product and service to amaze customers.

Did you have any setback in the journey?

Except as a bespoke shoemaker, I worked as manager of a local shoe factory, tried to build my own business several times, the journey was full of excitement and bitterness. But I never strayed from shoemaking and the love ever deepens.

I opened a factory in Guangzhou which had more than 100 employees, that was a huge adventure.

In the end, I came back to my hometown and work in this tiny workshop as a simple craftsman.

The current difficulty is how to make more people know me and try my shoes.

What is most important for a pair of bespoke shoes?

It can only be last making because last is the soul of a pair of shoes.

No matter of making the shoes more attractive or finer and high level of craftsmanship, shoes are set to be worn. Comfort is always the first consideration. This is why I sit down to make bespoke shoes.

Why do you want to participate shoemaking contest?

The first purpose is to breakthrough myself. I love challenges and achieving things others cannot.

The second purpose is letting more people know this trade and my shoes.

Price: full bespoke 3000 RMB.

Delivery time: 1 month.