Sunday, 20 April 2014

China in your hands, well shoes


THERE IS something uniquely Japanese about Shoes Like Pottery, that may seem an obvious thing to say, as they are manufactured in Japan, but from the design, the styling, to the choice of colours SLP has a total Nippon feel.
As someone who has visited Japan several times, it is difficult to describe, it relates to the precision and attention to detail, the loving craftsmanship which in the own words of SLP: ‘we have developed over many years a serious shoe manufacturing process’.

Again this may seem at odds with the subtlety of the shoes, but the vulcanised or Ka-ryu process, which is the final step in the shoes production and sees them baked in a kiln, which ensures the shoes maintain their ‘beautiful silhouette’ and remain 'unbreakable' and of course durable.

The process of these shoes which are built in separates parts, from hand sowing the laminated canvas uppers to the final kiln work is only done by the hands of specialist craftsmen at the Moonstar factory in Kurume in Fukuoka, in the north east of the country. Fukuoka is home to Ramen soup and Bridgestone tyres, which may go someway to understanding the Ku-rya process which have made the shoes legend, Moonstar being one of only three factories in Japan still using the originally American process.

Starting out as Moonstar, a highly respected shoe manufacturer in Japan with 140 year history, the first pairs of SLP were created four years ago, gaining their names when visitors to the factory noted the kilning process was similar to that used in pottery and ceramics.
The 130-degree heat used in the kiln produces a chemical reaction in the shoe creating an amazing flexibility and durability.

And of course amidst all this hand built beauty the shoe sports the company’s logo, embossed on the side of the sole, it is known as ‘Inuchide no kozuchi’ meaning lucky mallet or magical hammer.
Keeping things as beautifully simple as the lines of the shoes, the only difference in the name of each is the colouring of the upper part of the shoes, and Stuarts have three shoes to offer black, indigo or white and it really is difficult not to want to bag all three.

SLP have refined a well worked design and of course pushed it to another level, the contrast light blue sole, which matches the embossed logo, adds a lovely sparse sprinkle of colour which plays nicely against the stark one colour low cut upper of the shoes.

A rubber toe cap, matches the upper, except in the indigo, where the cap is contrast white, with metal eyelets (six) and cushioned insoles.