If you mentioned 10 years ago that the Vietnamese would be producing shoes as good as the British, people might have laughed at you. But in 2017 that outcome is very real and Fugashin shoes prove it. So let’s take a look at one and inspect the fine details that make that statement true in 2017.
Fugashin (or the owner or someone who works there, never quite established that) was kind enough to gift me a pair of shoes to see/test out the quality. From the pictures of them, I was already pleasantly surprised and thought that I could be receiving a real treat. Then they came in the mail and where every bit as beautiful in person as in pictures, but what was great is that you can appreciate the details far more in person as a pictures often doesn’t capture those so well.
This was quite generic to be honest and I am unsure if this was because they were sending shoes to a blogger or if they come like this for a regular customer spending the circa £400-£450 per MTO pair (if I recall correctly). Normally your packaging should match the quality of your shoes in terms of amenities and quality of the materials but one could tell that the very least was spent on this packaging where as the shoes are of top quality.
This is what was most impressive and surprising to be honest. This was a full fledged handgrade shoe with details that are often seen in Europeans shoes above £700. I am not going to compare them to say G&G or Edward Green but like I said, paying around the £400 mark, you are getting more than any other maker of that price poing is giving you, by far (in terms of handgrade details).
–The shoes have a bevelled and pegged waist with v-shape (like G&G).
–They had intricate fudge detailing on the sole and not to mention a fudged welt which you never see at this pricepoint as it takes time and a lot of skill to get right. But it was hard to say if this fudge was done pre-welting or not as the edges of the welt were smooth. Either way, it was a nice feature.
–The heels were pitched. And very beautifully I might add. This is something you only see on very few shoemakers above a very high pricepoint.
–The patina was done with skill, not those common sloppy ones that just looked brush-stroked back and forth. It had depth and it was clean. There were no sloppy areas.
–The last had great shape and the lasting was done properly as you could see all of the curvature of the last being very pronounced.
–Upper stitching was impeccable as was all of the fine details to be honest.
The downside to the shoe in all of reality was again, matching quality to quality. While this does not really bother me so much (even if I was a paying customer), I felt that the quality of the lining leather could have been better matched to the quality of the rest of the shoes as the upper leather I believe was crust by Annonay and the soles looked of top grade sole leather. So the lining was the only thing that let the shoe down to therefore not complete the ‘whole package.’
But all in all, the shoe was impeccable, especially for a price tag of around £400-£450
This I was actually not able to truly judge as the shoes were too small for me. I, in reality, am a UK7 narrow. For shoes that don’t come narrow I take a UK6.5 medium width. It is rare that a UK6.5 is too small for me, unless of course the shoes are handgrade (i.e. G&G, Edward Green etc) and I failed to ask before blurting out my size. So while I could cram my foot into the shoes just to feel the sturdiness of it and the good arch support, there is not way I could have taken more than 10 steps. But just having my foot in there, I felt good contour to the last (i.e. good heel to ball of foot ration, good arch support, good ball of foot to toe length etc). It felt like a well made shoe and that would take a good beating. Therefore, quality of materials were coming through as you could feel the comfort/quality.
This was an amazing shoe and value for money product. Outside of the mediocre packaging and lower grade lining, this was a top notch product and one heck of a deal for the price. If this brand was to scale their business and start selling worldwide, a lot of brands in the same pricepoint should be worried as it would be hard to beat the value for money if one can get over their possible distaste for where they are made (which in reality doesn’t mean anything).
The website is quite confusing and doesn’t offer much so if you are interested in researching more about the brand and consult with someone that works there, best to use their Facebook page (there are 2 of them) to which I believe they are quite responsive.