An Interview with Japanese Bespoke Shoemaker Kentaro Soyama

A bespoke shoemaker base in Kyoto, Japan, experienced as outwork for many English shoemakers and also Japanese. His shoes are very classic reflecting his study in England. Strong and contrast lines spark his own aesthetics and flavor.

Let us look into his story.

Could you introduce yourself?


I am Kentaro Soyama and forty three years old now.

When did you fall in love with shoes?

When I’ve been to England for my university graduation trip, I was stunned by the beauty of Tricker’s shoes at shop.

And it made me interested in shoes and shoe making.

Where did you learn shoemaking and who are your mentors?

I have learnt shoemaking in England for 2 years at Cordwainers college and Tresham institute in England in my twenties.

After graduation, I trained as an apprentice for handcrafted bespoke shoemaking under professional shoe maker who works for John Lobb ltd. over 30 years.

Having finished it, I’ve started to work for some shoe companies, Foster and Son, John Lobb, Gaziano Girling and Edward Green as an outworker.

Returning home, Japan, after 7 years stay in England, I’ve worked at an order made shoe store in Kyoto for 10 years.

I’ve finally started my own shoe brand, Kentaro Soyama, about 2 years ago in Kyoto.

Which shoemakers do you admire most?

I prefer classical type shoes, such as Henry Maxwell and Foster & Son.

Why do you think are there so many bespoke shoemakers in Japan and they are all at very high level?

Although fast fashion is popular in Japan, on the other hand, slow one like bespoke shoe captures some attention on a specific person.

What is your housestyle?

I don’t have any particular housestyles, but I prefer traditional British style.

Clients normally waits 8 to 12 months for his shoes, how do you feel about this long time waiting?

Some might say it’s a bit longer to get theirs, but it takes time in every step.

Our customers have been waiting normally for 6 months.

What is your plan for the near future?

I have practised the whole process of shoe making that I have to handle, so I wold like to face to each customer sincerely.

And I’d like to share a fruitful time together.

Price: Start from 329,000yen+tax〜(included with shoe trees)

Delivery time: About 8months

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