made in Golden Week

I made these on the last day of Golden Week at Tokyu Hands, Shinjuku. I’d walked past late the day before, seen people making their own shoes, and made sure to come back.

Apparently Tokyu Hands has been doing this in Golden Week for 25 years (although they had a 4 year break). They have people who come back each year to make new shoes for the holidays. I know why, it was really fun!

They said next time they might consider having extra-large size wooden soles … the largest size fit me, but was to small for my husband. There were Japanese men making shoes for their female partners (I suspect their feet were too big, too). It was also nice to see an elderly man with rather swollen feet carefully making shoes to fit (I often wonder whether less-able-bodied people get left behind in the Tokyo rush). Oh, and we weren’t the only Westerners making shoes, either.

It wasn’t difficult, at all. First you cut the 3cm (I think) wide strips of leather, sticky tape the strip in place whilst trying the shoe on, and then duplicate it for the other side/other foot. Then you hammer the studs in place, voilà, shoes. They smell lovely, because of the wood.

The sticky tape was the only problem, I think I was too thorough and it made a mark when I tried t remove it. Oh, and the test drive. It’s hard to go down stairs, but doable. I walked a block to the local shop, which was fine. But after a 10 minute walk I needed bandaids on both feet! In retrospect, I think the Tokyu Hands guy might have tried to tell me they were a bit tight, but I didn’t want them to slip off, you know!

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