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Time to announce the third World Championships in Shoemaking, where the final takes place during the London Super Trunk Show on May 7th, 2022 (postponed from 2020 and 2021 due to corona). The grand prize pool is £6,000 (€7,000 / $7,700) and a chance to be showcased for shoe lovers around the world. Here’s all the info about the competition.

The World Championships in Shoemaking is organized by Shoegazing and The Shoe Snob, in collaboration with the webshop Kirby Allison’s Hanger Project and the book project Master Shoemakers, with support from Edmund Schenecker (very sadly, Edmund passed away in 2021). The contest has been a huge success, with two amazing years. The First-round was won by the German Patrick Frei, with Daniel Wegan and Philippe Atienza as runner ups. This year Daniel Wegan took the crown, with Christophe Corthay in second and Eiji Murata in third. The quality of the top shoes has been astonishing, with craftsmanship that we haven’t seen in many decades.

The top three shoes each year go on a world tour, this time it’s taken the shoes to Dallas, New York, Hong Kong, Seoul, Beijing, Shanghai, Tokyo, Stockholm, Oslo, Singapore, Bangkok and soon Taipei and Paris. In Tokyo they were part of the huge shoe event Isetan Shoe Expo, and the three top contestants and me were part of a panel discussion about the contest and the shoes, and they were exhibited for the thousands of visitors that attended the event during five days. It’s great to see that shoe lovers around the world have had the chance to admire the craftsmanship, and people who don’t know much about shoes have discovered what can be done. I’m also very happy of the fact that the industry has acknowledged the competition, feedback from shoemakers and shoe people has also been very positive.
Worth noting is that we who organize this make no money on it at all, everything we get from the partners goes directly to the prize sum, i.e. directly to the shoemakers.

Around 100 years ago there were numerous prestigious shoemaking competitions around the world. These competitions pushed the shoemakers in their craft, made them create amazing shoes which not necessarily would be ideal for actual use, but incredible as showpieces. With the World Championships in Shoemaking, we wanted to bring back some of this. And at the same time, do our best to show the competition shoes for a wide audience, something that can be a positive thing for the industry and the specific brands/makers.

The top three shoes from the first year, here at Unipair in Seoul, South Korea. Picture: Unipair

Now it’s time for the third round. Below is the official call for the competition where you can find all the details on how it unfolds, and for bespoke shoe brands or people who work with making shoes, how to enter the world championships. But to summarize it, the contestants will make a reddish-brown / burgundy longwing brogue derby with a leather sole, hand welted with handmade sole stitch. The criteria that will be judged are the degree of difficulty and the execution of the making, but also the overall design/aesthetics. With the type of shoe this time, we are opening up more for a variety of styles of making, I think we will se more chunky stuff as well as some elegant goodies as usual. Note that we have also decided to add a width criteria, apart from being UK8 in length, it can’t be more than 2 width sizes up or down from an acceptable standard width size (we are looking at standard width in the same way as the length, we accept variations but if it’s too much off from these criteria we can see deduction of points or even disqualifications).

A classic American styled longwing. Perhaps we’ll see contest shoes along this style. Picture: Leffot
But longwings can also be made very elegant (although medallion is missing here, if you compare to contest criteria). Picture: Stefano Bemer

1st prize is ?3,000, 2nd ?2,000 and 3rd ?1,000, plus all podium placed shoes will be exhibited as usual be exhibited at the Isetan Men’s department store in Tokyo, Japan (likely in a new version of the Isetan Shoe Expo, it was such a success this year that it will likely be an annual event, even if the Shoe Shining Champion of Champions part will only happen every third year), and at other stores in various locations around the world, similar to previous tours. When the contest is over, all shoes will be sent back to the shoemakers and can be used as sample display shoes (for the top three after the tour). On Shoegazing and The Shoe Snob and in our social media channels we will also showcase all entries in the world championships.

We hope to get a wide variety of brands and shoemakers entering the competition this time as well. Both larger, more established firms and smaller less known one-man operations. To enter the competition, you need to register by sending an e-mail to? no later than January 31 2020. Any questions about the competition can also be sent here (do read the call for competition found below first though).

World champion 2019, Daniel Wegan.

We do understand that there can be discussions on how this type of competition is set up and how it’s judged, but hope that people also this year will understand that what we do here and judge here is what is stated in this text below (for example, wearability is not a criteria, since it’s more or less impossible to draw the line of what is wearable or not, and it’s the craftsmanship of the shoes that are in focus since fit is more or less impossible to judge, and it’s not something that is especially thrilling to make a contest around).

In the jury who will review the shoes are several bespoke shoemakers and professionals within the industry, the preliminary jury members are shoemakers Philippe Atienza (third in the contest 2018, previously head of both John Lobb Paris and Masaro bespoke departments), Nicholas Templeman (previously John Lobb London), Yohei Iwasaki (previously at George Cleverley now back in Japan), Sebastian Tarek (independent shoemaker who previously have done outwork for many of the London west end firms), and Paolo Scafora (both bespoke shoemaker and factory owner) (1-2 more shoemakers will be added to the final jury line-up). But to also add a slightly different view shoe experts Jesper Ingevaldsson of?Shoegazing?and Justin FitzPatrick of?The Shoe Snob are part of the jury, and the three sponsors who are making this contest possible: Edmund Schenecker who is a bespoke shoe customer and shoe nerd, Kirby Allison, founder of The Hanger Project, and Gary Tok, author of?Master Shoemakers.

The final of the World Championships in Shoemaking will take place at next year’s?London Super Trunk Show, which will take place on Saturday April 25, in the same venue as this year, on Regent Street just below Piccadilly Circus. Stay tuned for more info about the event in a while. The super trunk will as previous times gather more than 10 brands from all over the world, and it will among other things host the final in the World Championships in Shoe Shining and also World Championships in Shoe Patina. So put a mark in your calendar for April 25, and book your trip to London straight away. And as before, please help us spread the word about the contest!

Crowded in front of the stage ahead of the award ceremony for this year’s contest.


Criteria for the shoe:
– Longwing brogue derby model (4-6 separate leather pieces, brogueing along all edges of the leather pieces, wingtip and medallion is mandatory, further decorative brogueing and decorations are ok though not necessary, but no contrast stitching)

– One left shoe, size UK8 (or corresponding size), maximum 2 width sizes up or down from an acceptable standard width
– Reddish-brown / burgundy box calf upper (aniline dyed leather)
– Leather sole
– Hand welted, handmade sole stitch
– Dark sole and heel edges, natural colored bottom (decorations with for example wheels or nails are ok, but no dye or burnish)
– Finished inside of the shoe, with sock lining etc.
– No branding
– Shoes will be displayed without last or shoe tree for the jury, but if the shoe tree is provided these will be used when they are showcased during the event

Errors in respect to the above specifications will result in deductions of points, a 5% deduction of total points for small errors, a 10% deduction of total points on larger errors. If the shoe does not follow specifications at all, it can be disqualified. Jury decisions on the above cannot be overruled.

Competitors can enter both as a company or as a person. All people that have been part in the making of the shoe should be stated, and which process(es) each person has made.

Criteria that will be judged:
Degree of difficulty (maximum 10 points per jury member)
Jury to look at how complicated construction methods that have been used, how advanced they have been built both in large and in smaller details, etc.

Execution (maximum 10 points)
Jury to look at how well the various parts of the shoe construction have been made, how neat and clean the work is, how well executed the level of finishing is, etc.

Design / Aesthetics (maximum 5 points)
Jury to look at the overall aesthetics of the shoe, proportions, etc.

1st prize: £3,000. Glass plaquette. Shoe showcased at Isetan Men’s department store in Shinjuku, Tokyo, plus other stores around the world.

2nd prize: £2,000. Glass plaquette. Shoe showcased at Isetan Men’s in Tokyo, plus other stores around the world.
3rd prize: £1,000. Glass plaquette. Shoe showcased at Isetan Men’s in Tokyo, plus other stores around the world.

How to enter the competition:
Competitors who wish to enter the contest need to register to? no later than January 31 2020, send in name/brand under which you wish to enter. Only one entry per competitor. It is free of charge to enter the competition. For any questions, send e-mail to the address above. We encourage brands/makers to take pictures of the making process to be shared after the final on April 25 (but the shoe cannot be shown to the public prior to the event).

The competition shoe should be sent to England to be judged and displayed at the London Super Trunk Show 2020 on Saturday, April 25. They have to be delivered in London no later than April 22 (we had shoes coming in too late previous years who missed being part of the contest, so please send shoes in time, for example if sent from outside the EU they may stay in customs several days etc).
Address to send the shoe to will be given once competitor send a final confirmation e-mail of finished shoe and is due to ship it.

Judging process and award ceremony:
The jury will review and judge the shoes on Friday, April 24, at this stage the shoes will be anonymous*. Note that due to this, competing shoemakers can not show the competition shoes in, for example, social media until April 25, and they cannot reveal that they are entering the contest. The shoes will be displayed during the London Super Trunk Show event on Saturday, April 25, where the award ceremony will take place at 16.00. Then the World Champion in Shoemaking and the podium places will be announced (competitors don’t have to be in place themselves), with the full top ten list (the other positions will be revealed later). All competition shoes will also be showcased on Shoegazing and The Shoe Snob’s blogs and many of them in our social media channels.

The jury (preliminary):
Philippe Atienza, bespoke shoemaker, third in the World Championships in Shoemaking 2018

Nicholas Templeman, bespoke shoemaker
Yohei Iwasaki, bespoke shoemaker
Sebastian Tarek, bespoke shoemaker
Paolo Scafora, bespoke shoemaker and factory owner
Edmund Schenecker, sponsor, bespoke shoe customer
Kirby Allison, sponsor, founder of The Hanger Project
Gary Tok, sponsor, author of Master Shoemakers
Jesper Ingevaldsson, Shoegazing
Justin FitzPatrick, The Shoe Snob

The jury decision cannot be overruled.

The shoes will be returned to the contestants and can be used as display shoes (for the top three, after the tour to Isetan, Japan, and other stores). In case they need to be shipped back, the contestant needs to sort the return shipping with a pre-paid return shipping label.

*Jesper Ingevaldsson of Shoegazing will know who enters the contest, due to him taking care of the registration and answering questions. However, he will not know which shoe belongs to whom when reviewing and judging them. For all other parties of the jury, the shoes will be strictly anonymous.

2 thoughts on “Call for Competition – World Championship in Shoemaking 2020”

  1. Looks very interesting, I have been in the shoe industry since 1958. Started work at 15 years old working for H&M RAYNE I was with them for 24 years, also attending Cordwainers College. I then worked for Hanna Goldman shoes, then had a work studio. I am now an associate lecture at THE UNIVERSITY OF THE ARTS, LONDON COLLEGE OF FASHION CORDWAINERS FOOTWEAR.I think some of the students will be interested in this event. I have informed one of the head teachers about it, and I hope to be along myself all being well. I look forward to seeing the AMAZING work.

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