Have you ever heard of the World Championships in Shoemaking? The very first ones have taken place nearly one year ago, with the final having been held in April 2018 in London during the Super Trunk Show. Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to visit the trunk show and have a closer look at all those 30 black cap toe oxford shoes which have been sent in for this competition by both professional and amateur shoemakers from all over the globe. However, I was one of the lucky ones who could admire the podium placed shoes (ranks 1, 2 and 3) while they were on their “world tour”. Find out about details of the competition, see pictures of the winning shoe, the second and the third placed and figure out when the next championships will take place. 😊

Details on the criteria

The award ceremony of the World Championships in Shoemaking has taken place during the London Super Trunk Show in April 2018 and was organized by Shoegazing and The Shoe Snob. Not only companies but also single persons were able to enter the competition and had to follow a certain stack of criteria. Here are the specifications, which were detailed in the call for competition:

  • Plain cap toe oxford model
  • One left shoe, size UK8 (or corresponding size)
  • Black box calf upper
  • Single leather sole
  • Hand welted with handmade sole stitch
  • Black sole and heel edges, natural colored bottom
  • No branding
  • Displaying shoes without last or shoe tree for the jury

It was also important, that the shoe consists of at least three separate leather pieces. 30 contestants from 12 different countries have sent in their hand welted black cap toe oxfords which have been reviewed by a jury of 9 persons from the shoemaking industry. The jury anonymously evaluated the degree of difficulty (maximum 10 points), the execution of the shoemaking itself (maximum 10 points) as well as the design/ overall look of the shoe (maximum 5 points).

Top three shoes

The top three shoes were awarded a prize money and were displayed at various shoe and menswear stores around the world for several months. I had planned a trip to Stockholm mid September 2018 to have a closer look at those three stunning shoes at the premium shoe store Skoaktiebolaget.

1. Place: Patrick Frei

The first place was awarded to Patrick Frei from Germany who had worked on his own for around 160 hours to craft this single shoe! Although the shoe tree was not part of the evaluation, it is definitely worth mentioning it as also this is a true piece of art. Patrick and a professional violin maker have worked for 20 hours each to make this stunning shoe accessory. The winning shoe is absolutely elegant and delicate and has an extremely narrow waist. It is not made for wearing, however this was not a requirement for this competition. Have a look at this beauty, especially at the sole!

2. Place: Daniel Wegan

The second placed shoe has been made by Daniel Wegan who is originally from Sweden and leading the bespoke department at Gaziano & Girling (G&G). In this case he joined forces with another G&G employee, Kay Anderson who made the upper of the shoe. Its pretty unique feature which makes you directly recognize the shoe is its heel. Perhaps it might be slightly too high for some gentlemen, but the shoe is an absolutely outstanding and superb craftsmanship. Have a look yourselves:

3. Place: Philippe Atienza

Finally, the third place has been achieved by Philippe Atienza from France who made an excellent shoe entirely himself. From the podium placed shoes, I would say that this one is the most classic version of a cap toe oxford. It is not as sophisticated as the one made by Patrick Frei. Nor does it have such a very distinct and recognizable feature as the heel of Daniel Wegan’s shoe. However, its classic shape, it’s perfect execution and the interesting pattern make it an absolutely desirable oxford model to own. I wish more men would have such a shoe in their collection! 😊

World Championships in Shoemaking 2019

This year, the second edition of the World Championships in Shoemaking will take place. The final will be held during the London Super Trunk Show on Saturday, March 23. This time, a full brogue oxford model in a dark brown box calf upper shall be made. Also, the World Championships in Shoeshining will take place like last year already. For the first time, the World Championships in Patina have been added.

I’m totally excited for this event and am already looking forward to going to London at the end of March. Perhaps I’ll see some of you there? 😊