Yohei Fukuda, A talented Japanese bespoke shoemaker, a leader amongst the new upsurge of Japan’s highly-accomplished bespoke shoemakers
After spending a few years working in London at the side of renowned shoemakers like Nicholas Tuczek and Anthony Cleverly, sharpening his knowledge by mending bespoke shoes. In 2008, he returned to his home country of Japan to start up his own bespoke shoe company.
Fukuda decided to settle on the rich district of Aoyama, At the time he was one of only two or three bespoke shoemakers in Tokyo. Today, there are more than thirty bespoke shoe companies in Japan with other prominent names like Shoji Kawaguchi of Marquess and Hiro Yanagimachi.
Fukuda has a team of five assistants, all of whom are graduates of shoe academies from around the globe. There are primarily four types of shoes made by Fukuda and his team , These pairs include ready-to-wear (four house style Oxfords), made-to-order, house style bespoke (a combination of made-to-order and custom fit) and full bespoke, which are the zenith of his craft and are fully customizable.
It takes them about 120 to 150 hours to complete the first pair of bespoke shoes. Annually they make about 100 pairs of bespoke shoes and 200 pairs of ready-to-wear (including made-to- order) shoes.
For a bespoke pair the waiting period could be anywhere between six to twelve months and can even go up to 18 months now that Fukuda has become an well-known name. There are numerous stages from the first appointment to another meeting to decide style, materials and customization details, the measurements and fitting before the shoe is ready for delivery.
Fukuda’s bespoke pair starts at JPY400, 000 (R 57,054), the ready to wear are priced from JPY240,000 (R 34,232). Fukuda prefers materials used by traditional English shoemakers. For the bottoming – be they of Oxfords, Derbies or Monk Straps, among others – he uses materials by Baker while for the upper he uses leather sourced from different countries, mostly he buys leather from Europe.
Currently the Japanese shoemaker has got only one permanent store in Japan, and it’s already drawing a famous crowd. He insists that expansion will not come at the cost of quality, the most important thing for them is to focus on quality, rather than on making more shoes. The company will eventually grow in size. Fukuda’s shoes are also very well refined from the get-go, with spit shine made on both the toe and heel. The total amount of quality and workmanship displayed by Fakuda is simply brilliant.
For more information visit: yoheifukuda.jp