Last weekend it finally happened. The fourth edition of the London Super Trunk Show took place, a wonderful day who gathered almost 1,200 visitors from around the world, who enjoyed quality shoes in all its shapes and three world championship contests. Here’s a report from the day with loads of photos.
Originally planned to take place two years ago, the pandemic postponed it several times, but now we could move forward with it. Organised by me and Justin FitzPatrick of The Shoe Snob blog, the event took place right in the center of London, on 12 Regent Street just below Piccadilly Circus. Here the event venue Showcase.co is located, same place as last time, and equally appreciated. It’s located on street level, is bright and airy, and have a bar serving drinks, coffee and snacks. Since we’ve just come out of the pandemic, we were quite uncertain about how the turn up would be, especially since many visitors usually travel in. Already 20 minutes after we’ve opened the doors me and Justin looked at each other and could conclude that it was going to be a good day. And it surely was! New visitor record with almost 1,200 in total with much more international visitors than we expected (it was only people from Asia who were fewer than previous years, due to many countries there still having restrictions when one travel back home again etc.), a great atmosphere during the day, lots of shoes being tested and ordered on site and many more ordered the following weeks. The London super trunk is still the meeting place for the quality shoe industry.
We also saw that the trend with content from the event being spread in various channels online grew even further, with lots of photos, films and written conclusions of what one saw and tested during the day was spread, so also those not able to visit could take part partially at least. We also live streamed from the stage happenings and showed the exhibitions (see these films below, unfortunately the two from the shining and award ceremonies had technical issues with black screen half way in) and on Saphir’s Instagram, and videos were shot by among others Kirby Allison for his Youtube-channel later on and by Carréducker for the Independent shoemakers conference. What’s also nice to see is that, albeit certainly not being something like Pitti Uomo, the super trunk day is a day to see many wonderfully dressed persons showcasing classy clothing and of course footwear. We’ll try to show a bit more of these in this article as well.
On the exhibition floor we had ten exhibitors showcasing a wide variety of quality footwear in various price ranges. Chinese premium brand Acme Shoemaker impressed visitors with their absolute top class RTW and MTO offerings (unfortunately they couldn’t travel here themselves due to the covid restrictions still in place in China for people coming back from Europe, so they were represented by Tor Jonsson on site). From India we had Bridlen, with nicely styled shoes Goodyear welted the old style with welt stitching done directly to the insole. Daniel Wegan, former world champion in shoemaking, displayed his Catella Shoemaker brand which offer the absolute best bespoke shoes one can get a hold off. The brand who perhaps created the most fuzz was CNES Shoemaker from Vietnam, who focused on their newest range of hand welted shoes available at about €400.
Modum Shoes from Germany do things differently, with the use of a 3D scan mobile app to gather data for a personalised last, making it possible to offer a type of bespoke shoes for only €500. Mori of Shoemakers, who are based in Hong Kong and have their hand welted super sleek shoes made in China, was represented by bespoke maker Masaru Okuyama who has been part of starting up the project. Spanish premium and bespoke shoemaker Norman Vilalta has been part of the event before, and his playful creations are always a sight to behold. Same with Paolo Scafora from Italy, with amazing patinas and many designs that one basically can’t see anywhere else, on their fine hand welted footwear. Septieme Largeur from France have Goodyear welted shoes in the €300 price range, all from the classics to bold patinas, look for example on the spectacular blue triple monk strap boots. Another popular exhibitor is the Swedish retailer Skolyx, who showcased a large selection of TLB Mallorca’s praised Artista range, as well as Yanko offerings like their Belgian loafers, boots and sneakers.
The main partner of the event, the world leading premium shoe care brand Saphir, of course also exhibited and sold loads of shoe care during the day. A very nice new addition was the free shoe shining service they had set up, where Sam Norsworthy of Tricker’s / The Valet did shoe shine jobs on visitors shoes. Sam was probably the hardest working man on site, don’t know how many pairs he ended up shining during the day but it was many, there was basically a line with folks waiting to take advantage of the service during the whole day. Also exhibiting was partner Bresciani, the Italian sock manufacturer who makes luxurious high quality socks, and plenty of visitors took the chance to get to know their offerings closer. Finally we had the British tailoring firm Cad & the Dandy on site, who have taken Savile Row by storm with their modern tailoring offering, doing things both in-house and highly affordable Asian-made full bespoke, as well as RTW garments and accessories. Also partner and helping us out with lots of things were The Valet, where Tom Beecroft (previously The Jaunty Flaneur) who offer superb shoe care service in London along with among other things alterations tailors and dry cleaner expertise.
Already 15 minutes after opening in the morning, the three patina finalists sat down at their tables to transform a pair of crust TLB Mallorca Artista shoes into something spectacular, with the use of Saphir leather dyes, creams and waxes. These were John Chung from Singapore, Sony Mai and Toan Junie, who both work for Corthay in France. After five hours of hard work they all presented some spectacular stuff for the jury, who decided to award Toan Junie with the world champion title. His shoe displayed amazing skill, with super smooth transitions, fine word along the leather edges also in difficult corners, hard parts like keeping the sole stitch light coloured at the toes for a lovely blend with the uppers, etc.
In the middle of the day the final of the shoe shining world champs took place, and it’s also this time that probably was the most crowded, with hundreds of people in front of the stage area. During 20 minutes Christian Vingsand from Norway, Naoki Ueda from Japan and Ash Samsudin from Singapore shined a brand new Loake 1880 Aldwych shoe. Three professional shoe shiners who showed off their skill, where finally Ash Sam was crowned the winner for his magnificent shine over more or less the entire shoe, manage to highlight the leather’s beauty and character.
The first thing that visitors saw when entering the venue was 30 red brown longwing full brogues. These were the entries in the world championships in shoemaking, and it sure was a spectacular site. A wide variety of interpretations of the models were on display, from extreme high heeled exhibition pieces to clearly utilitarian chunky ones with thick soles and brutal heels, and all in between. Shoemakers from 19 countries had pushed themselves to their absolute max. The jury of shoemakers and shoe experts, who during the afternoon before the event met to judge all the shoes, awarded the Japanese Wataru Shimamoto with the gold medal, Ken Kataoka from Japan silver, and South Korean-based Kenjiro Kawashima. Three very different entries, who all certainly achieved top class stuff on both difficulty, execution and design. What set Shimamoto apart in the end was the extremely flawless making and finishing. The trio will share a prize sum of £6,000 which comes from sponsors Kirby Allison, Master Shoemakers and Parker Schenecker, brother of shoe entusiast Edmund Schenecker who sadly passed away last year. The three also will get a bespoke handmade awl made according to their wishes by Phil Norsworthy. You can see more of the top three in this article, and much more of them and all the other contest shoes will come in two huge articles later on. These shoes along with the patina winner will go on a world tour later this year, will be more info about that coming as well.
We are already talking about next year’s edition of this event, plan some exciting new things and look to further develop it all. For now, thanks to everyone who were part in making last Saturday a day to remember!
Unfortunately some sort of technical issue resulted in black screens a bit into two of the videos below, we deeply apologise for this. Everything looked fine during the whole filming, and was controlled when we started the stream, but some issue appeared a bit in which wasn’t evident for us when shooting.