The Shoegazing London Super Trunk Show is finally back and this was the 2022 Edition!
Misiu Academy was there to cover the event and bring you lots of insights, thoughts, excitement and photos.
Join me in this visual delirium of shoemaking!
3 Years In The Making
The Shoegazing Super Trunk Show in London is an event that has a special place in my heart.
It was then 3 years ago that I decided that I love being in this space and around such people.
Then and there I decided to go back to Sweden, quit my job on the spot and create my own shoe store.
This is how The Noble Shoe came to life.
Curated by Shoegazing, The Shoe Snob Blog & Kirby Alisson it is an annual event held in London during the first months of the year.
Which of us would have guessed that the 2019 Trunk Show would be the last before a global pandemic?
And that there would be a long 3 year hiatus before we could finally pretend we are back to normality?
After 3-4 postponements it finally opened its doors on Regent Street once more for all of us.
People from all over the world flocked to visit and the numbers were higher than pre-Covid with over 1200 people attending.
It was an amazing opportunity to meet new people, speak about shoes, explore new brands and catch up with friends.
I will briefly discuss about each brand that I visited since they would all need days of individual analysis.
Just like last time, the venue was Showcase in an excellent accessible space with very friendly staff.
Each brand has a booth to display their products alongside a few representatives.
Apart from the shoemaking brands there were also others, including popular shoe shining company Saphir.
In the front one could find the entries for the World Shoemaking Championship which were stunning as always.
Lastly, on the right there were stands and tables for the shoe shining and patina competition.
Bridlen is a rather new company from India.
I heard about them before from various sources including coverage from the Shoegazing blog.
A few customers and friends of mine also inquired about Bridlen, while I briefly covered them in the latest Best & Worst List.
They have a few different ranges which I must admit are very clearly presented in their website.
For example there is the Main Line ($275) which is full of contemporary classics and affordability.
Then there’s the Founder’s Line which costs a little more at $325 but offers higher quality materials and characteristics.
It is indeed impressive that you can get good French calfskin and a slight fiddleback waist at this price point.
I cannot speak about the quality yet, however I did speak a lot with the owners.
Very passionate people full of questions, desire and ideas.
With the market full of cheap imitations they do face a battle to change the silly perception that “Made in India” automatically means lower quality.
Their lasts are a bit too contemporary for my personal taste (I like chiseled and square lasts) but honestly for an entry level shoe they look good value.
Hopefully we will work together on a review in the future so I can speak with more expertise.
It was lovely to meet such enthusiastic people.
Jesper of Shoegazing also works with Swedish retailer Skolyx.
An online store selling not only fine shoes from brands such as TLB Mallorca and Yanko but also their own in-house brand and accessories.
Skolyx shoes are pretty good for the price point at just $230.
Then you have TLB Mallorca which is a Spanish brand producing shoes in the eponymous island of Mallorca.
Their shoes are excellent not only in build quality but also in appearance and reputation.
Excellent features for $450 in the Artista Line while also offering value through their Main Range at $385.
I might as well add that the owners of TLB and Skolyx are lovely people to interact with.
Time to leave Spain and go to my adopted country of Italy.
Specifically Napoli and one of my favorite shoemakers of all time.
Paolo Scafora makes Bespoke Shoes but also has a RTW Range with a very distinct look and identity.
He characterized by very sharp lasts, shapes and with probably the most stunning looking sole in the market,
All the RTW shoes are hand-welted and hand-lasted with a machine stitched sole (unless you pay the surcharge).
In my opinion the thing that stands out the most is the Norwegian and Tyrolese Construction which they specialize in.
In very simple terms it is a form of braided construction and coupled with the very sharp last it produces a very unique aesthetic.
If you want, you can even MTO whatever your heart desires, with bold (or not) patinas and exotic leathers.
Expect to pay anywhere between $900-$7000 depending on the construction and leathers.
The Noble Shoe is a proud retailer of Paolo Scafora Shoes.
It was finally the time to meet Acme Shoemaker in person.
An ambitious project from China since their shoes are breathtaking in look and construction.
They also come with a hefty price tag ($1250-$1475), something unusual for the region.
However you do get what you pay for and that’s pretty much some of the finest looks on the market, backed by the best leathers and construction you can get.
I heard a lot about them but it was a different experience to see them in person.
Unfortunately, due to the lockdown in China they couldn’t fly and almost cancelled their appearance.
Luckily, a friend of Jesper’s was there to stand in as the curator and give some information.
He gave me a fancy shoehorn and we are actually working on a Review pair together.
The hype seems to be real as the shoes were truly something else.
Even the unboxing experience was elite with a pretty big custom box and the aforementioned shoehorn.
One of their defining moments in the show was the Black Panther wholecut.
A black shoe with purple hues in honor and memory of the titular Marvel hero.
It also had a crazy medallion resembling his helmet.
Great stuff and I hope to see them again soon.
CNES Shoemaker is an incredibly popular shoemaker and producer of welted shoes in Vietnam.
Their range of shoes and models is impressive and the price point varies.
Lately they have been trying to expand more internationally and the launch of a new website certainly helped.
Some of their higher end stuff and MTO is pretty good quality.
The basic RTW Range is the one I reviewed before and it was ok but nothing spectacular for me.
Honestly even though I haven’t spoken with the warmest of words about that particular range, they were very friendly to me and even took a picture together.
I would encourage you to take a look at their higher MTO offerings.
I already have 2 pairs of shoes from Septieme Largeur and I like them very much.
A French brand making shoes in Spain, they specialize in Patinas, a wood-pegged waist and a variety of trend-setting models.
For example their iconic Triple Monk Boot and the recent influx of commando sole versions of classic shoes can be attributed to them.
I like the patinas, the leather and the overall fit I get from them and at less than $350-$400 they are pure value.
Fun fact, I am good friends with the owner for the past 2 years and without knowing we stayed in the same hotel, 3 doors away.
Argentinian Norman Vilalta was a prime inspiration for my shoemaking journey.
He quit his job in the age of 30, moved to Italy to study shoemaking at Stefano Bemer and then moved to Barcelona where he opened his atelier.
Reminds you of something? If it does it’s because I am doing the exact same journey at the exact same age.
Norman offers a variety of RTW and MTO shoes as well as Bespoke for those who need it.
It is rare to have a very clear, unique identity in such a saturated market such as the shoe industry.
But once you see a few Norman Vilalta shoes then you will be able to always recognize them.
The patinas and sharp lasts are important for Norman, as well as the special more adventurous versions of his commando sole shoes.
He can even do a patina on Suede or a special 3D Scotchgrain version.
Probably the most famous model he has is the Decon Chelsea Boot.
I have one pair of Norman Vilalta and it’s one of my favorites (read the review here).
The shoes generally run around the $1000-$1400 mark and are Goodyear Welted in Spain.
There are even frequent GMTOs where you can make significant savings.
The Noble Shoe is a new proud partner of Norman Vilalta.
Daniel Wegan is one of the best bespoke shoemakers in the world, with huge experience working at the Gaziano & Girling Bespoke Department.
A few years back he left his position to create his own small Bespoke workshop.
Catella is actually the name of his cat if I remember correctly which is very funny and awesome.
He produced the winning shoe in the World Shoemaking Championship in 2019 and that’s all you need to know.
Daniel had a small booth with a display of his amazing work and shared some space with Phil Norsworthy.
Phil was such a pleasure to talk to and he makes Bespoke and custom made awls and shoemaking tools.
Mori Of Shoemakers
A brand that I don’t admittedly know much about and had to research more is Mori of shoemakers.
A Hong Kong based brand producing shoes in China with a mix of RTW and Bespoke qualities at a fair price point.
There were a few samples at the booth and they looked pretty well made.
Unfortunately the only real way to speak with them was through a video call.
Now couple that with hundreds of people around the room and speaker mode on the phone and I barely understood anything.
I will probably have to email the owners and ask for more information.
Hand-welted with a mix of machine and hand-sewing at the waist and sole for $630.
I genuinely believe that 3D printing and scanning can be part of the future of shoemaking.
This is what German brand Modum Shoes is trying to do these days.
To use technology and applications to scan your feet and produce custom lasts.
There were some examples and while it looked very interesting it seems that the technology is still at its infancy.
If it works well it might be good value for $600.
Saphir is a brand that needs no introduction.
The most famous shoe care company in the world.
Whether you are looking for cleaners, conditioners, dyes, waxes and polishes they have everything.
The booth was full of lovely friendly people and even Samuel from Tricker’s to offer free 15 minute shoe shining for everyone.
Bresciani was a booth that I did not spend much time at.
An Italian sock brand with what seems to be great reputation, although I have no personal experience.
They seem to specialize in contemporary luxurious classics but also have more adventurous designs and colors.
It might be worth checking out for me after some issues I encountered with Viccel Socks.
Cad & The Dandy
One of the main partners of the Shoegazing Trunk Show was Cad & The Dandy.
A tailoring firm trying to modernize British tailoring since 2008.
It’s not a small feat to become one of the biggest tailors in Saville Row.
These range from machine made to full bespoke and for rather affordable prices considering the industry.
World Championship In Shoemaking
One of the main events of the trunk show is the announcement of the Shoemaking Champion.
The organizers decide on a specific model and certain details and then shoemakers from all over the world send their entries.
At the main even they announce the winner with a jury of experts.
They were some crazy stuff going on there and most of the entries were from Asian Shoemakers.
This year’s design was a burgundy/red-brown longwing derby with a leather sole, hand welted with handmade sole stitch.
The prize was a total of 6000 British Pounds split between the first three winners.
The winner this year was Wataru Shimamoto.
World Patina & Shining Championship
Lastly, there were two more competitions all with their respective rules and prizes.
The first one was the Patina Championship where three contestants had 5 hours to create a unique patina by hand on a pair of shoes.
It was quite cool to see them work in real time and watch the progress during those long hours.
Then we also had the shoe shining competition where a friend of mine managed to be in the final three.
Christian Vingsand from Norway gave us a great performance and it was so cool to see him on the big stage.
Unfortunately, he didn’t manage to snag the win and came second but I am immensely proud of him.
They only had 20 minutes to produce the best shine possible on a pair of Loake Shoes.
Honestly the results were stunning and I would need 23 billion years to achieve the same.
It was such a pleasure to be in the Shoegazing trunk show again.
To be amongst so many like minded people of all statures and tastes.
I spent a lot of time greeting people that I had never met, knew only their feet or they knew me from the store or YouTube.
In a place that means so much to me, it meant the world to be back there again.
I hope you enjoyed this mini coverage of the Shoegazing London Trunk Show of 2022.
Have the nicest of days and I will see you next week!
Thank you for reading,