Next Level Sneakers – Masayuki Kaneko
I really think the hardest thing in shoemaking is combining sneaker elements with dress shoe design/style. And I tell you, these ones here by Japanese shoemaker Masayuki Kaneko, are easily the best ones that I have see yet. Being that the foundation of the two different types of shoes are so profoundly different, most attempts at combining the characteristisc of each turns into a Frankenstein result that is neither attractive and sometimes not even weareable. The common theme is to make something that resembles a bowling shoe, which is not to everyone’s taste and therefore not easily sold. But this model here looks like the new reinvented Asics models that have been all of the rage the last few years but naturally 20 times better in terms of quality and precision.
The hardest part about sneakers is their limited capabilities for last shape and that is because most are heat injected and to make a new mold to create a new last is very expensive and most makers of sneakers won’t entertain an order of less than 1000 pairs for the mold/last. And that is not feasible for most. Being that Masayuki created this himself and attached the mid sole to insole using traditional shoemakers techniques, he therefor was able to have free reign on shape of last/design the like. And it is impressive to say the last, that he was able to trim down the sole so close to the shoe as to give it that heat injected look of most sneakers.
And because he had that ability to use a dress shoe style last (in terms of shape) , he was able to pair the last and pattern flawlessly together to make, what I think, to be one of the coolest sneakers I have seen. My only critique would be the tassels at the end of the laces. I would have done without those, personally speaking. But love the medallion, the brogueing, the gimping, the ghillie style lace system and the unique design on the toe seams. And more so than anything, love that he made a saddle design which is my personal favorite style of oxford. All winning elements in my eyes.
The project is very exclusive with a limit of 40 pairs in total, 20 of each color. The price is $800 for the shoes and $80 for the shoetrees. Shipping on top of that, price depending on the location. The upper leather is full grain from Charles Stead (I believe, they told me the UK and they are the top so assumed this). Lining is from Du Puy. I was told that there are 3 lasts for different ‘feet circumferences’ which lead me to believe that this means different width options, so for those of you that might need narrow or wide, I believe that this can be accommodated
The production is 3-6 months. Quite a large time frame, but probably due to the fact that he is one man and if inundated with orders, might slow him down.
The price is not easy to swallow, but for those that can afford it, I can imagine that this will be your best sneaker ever and will be extremely versatile. I wish I had a spare $2000 to grab both colors!
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