Koji Endo Bottier makes some of the nicest shoes in the world. Predominantly they are quite classic in terms of style but the last shapes are on another level. His almond toe shape is nothing shy of perfect (aka its flawless) and his patterns are spot-on when it comes to being fluid with the shape of the last. As always when comparing shoes against shoes in like pricepoints these two points are crucial to seeing who is the better shoemaker. A flawless finish is nothing on an ugly last and pattern.
Imagine going to Japan and being able to afford bespoke. It would be like trying to figure out what shoe you wanted to wear in the morning when you have 100 pairs. Its tough! But I guess what people have to look for when deciding on a maker is first, their house style. Many makers have a “look.” This look is important as it will be the base of how your pair will be. Once you narrow down the look you want, you then have to see about who makes the nice shapes and styles. This is also tough as many of them have very elegant shapes. But finding the one that truly ticks all of the boxes is not so difficult to find in reality providing you know all of the options out there and can narrow down without stumbling onto a great maker you never knew.
For me, while I appreciate many of the Japanese bespoke makers there are few that I would order from due to their house style or overly high and effiminate heels not being to my personal liking. I like an elegant yet robust shoe that in reality has an traditional English look but with Japenese finesee. And Koji Endo ticks that box to a T!! I would definitely give him a go should I be in the market.