The London Super Trunk Show is back!
On Saturday, May 13th, 2023, we invite you to one of the world’s largest open events on quality shoes, organized by The Shoe Snob and Shoegazing. In the middle of London on 12 Regent Street, where we gather 11 brands from all over the world, plus our partners, and, of course, there will be the World Championships of Shoe Shining and Shoe Patina, as well as the World Championships of Shoemaking. The WCS will have its award ceremony and competition shoes on display, and for the first time ever, we will have a secondhand shoe marketplace on-site.
Location: Showcase.co, 12 Regent Street, St. James, London.
Date: Saturday, May 13th, 2023
The full schedule for the day:
11.00-19.00 Trunk show open for the public, FREE OF CHARGE, AND NO REGISTRATION NEEDED. Exhibitions with Acme, Attila, Bridlen, Catella, CNES, Cobbler Union, Goral, Paul Sargent, The Noble Shoe, Raymar and Yearn. Also exhibitions with the event’s main partner Saphir (shoe care) and partners Bresciani (socks) and Abbot’s Shoes (secondhand shoes). On display are the top 30 shoes in the World Championships of Shoemaking.
11.00-19.00 Secondhand shoe marketplace, hosted by Abbot’s Shoes. Visitors may bring their own shoes and sell them on site. (More info below)
11.00-19.00 Free Shoe Shining Service by Saphir (preliminary).
11.15-17.15 (1-hour break 14.45-15.45) Final of the World Championships of Shoe Patina in collaboration with Saphir, 1st prize TLB Mallorca shoes, shoe care kit, gold medal. (More info in qualification post here)
15.00-15.30 Final of the World Championships in Shoe Shining is in cooperation with Saphir. The 1st prize wins shoes from Loake, a shoe care kit, and the gold medal. (More info in qualification post here)
17.30-17.50 Award ceremony for the World Championships in Shoemaking, in collaboration with Kirby Allison and Master Shoemakers. The top ten including the three podium positions are presented. The prize pool consists of £6,000 (€6,800 / $7,300), shoemaking awls by Phil Norsworthy, medals, plus being exhibited at Isetan Men’s, Tokyo, and other places around the world. (More info in the Call for competition)
19.00 Event closes.
Here’s the Facebook event page where you’ll get all the latest updates. As always, we highly appreciate any help with spreading the word about the event! The hashtag used before, during, and after the event on social media is #supertrunk.
The London Super Trunk Show will take place at Showcase.co , located at 12 Regent Street, just below Piccadilly Circus, across the road from the world’s nr. 1 shoe street Jermyn Street. Showcase.co has a storefront towards Regent Street and behind this is the exhibition venue (which you also may enter from Carlton St.), on street level, where we also have a bar/café serving the guests during the day. The event is organized by Jesper Ingevaldsson of Shoegazing and Justin FitzPatrick of The Shoe Snob blog.
As always, the event is open for everyone with no registration needed, open between the hours of 11.00-19.00. This is the fifth edition of the London super trunk, and last year almost 1,200 people came to try, buy and order shoes, meet fellow shoe aficionados, see interesting scene events, and have a good time in general. The super trunk is now an established meeting place for people from various parts of the industry and for shoe-interested customers. Not only people from England but from all over the world, we have customers, shoe industry representatives, and shoemakers coming.
The exhibitor list is as great and varied as ever. A few have been part before, but a vast majority are brand new to the event. We always strive to get a good mix of types of shoes, price ranges, origins, and so on, and this year we’ve also brought a few UK brands that aren’t easily accessible in physical stores.
First a brief summary of all the exhibitors (more info about them all below). Acme, the Chinese maker of fully handmade RTW, MTO, and bespoke, where their new slightly more basic Marvel range starts at £750 / €850. Attila from Hungary makes fully handmade affordable shoes, both classic Austro-Hungarian styles, and more modern shoes and boots, priced from £440 / €500. Bridlen from India is doing Goodyear welted shoes without gemming, at a nice price of around £220 / €250. Catella is the brand of Daniel Wegan, ex Gaziano & Girling head of bespoke and shoemaking world champion 2019, offering top-class bespoke shoes.
CNES from Vietnam manufacture Goodyear welted and hand welted shoes and has a very good reputation, a lot of bang for the buck, starting at £220 / €250. Cobbler Union is an American brand with Spanish-made midrange Goodyear welted shoes, focus is on sleek versions of the classics spiced with a bunch of more unique stuff, priced at £350 / €400. With Goral from Sheffield, UK, we bring the first sneaker brand ever to the event, with high-quality sneakers made with a combined Blake stitched and sidewall stitched construction in leathers from well-known tanneries, priced from €210 / €240. Paul Sargent from Rushden, Northampton, is the continuation of Alfred Sargent, where they focus on the famous Exclusive range and also the top Handcrafted range with lovely sleek waists and fine craftsmanship, price from £450 / $510.
The Noble Shoe is a Swedish multi-brand webstore with a great selection of shoes from Carlos Santos, Crockett & Jones, Enzo Bonafé, Norman Vilalta, and Paolo Scafora. Raymar is a Japanese brand with Chinese-made shoes that has made a huge impact in Japan lately, with shoes offered at an impressive price point, both Goodyear welted and hand welted where prices for the latter start at just £280 / €310. Yearn from China makes very sleek shoes that are hand lasted, hand welted, and with handmade sole stitching, priced from £440 / €500.
All brands will bring a lot of shoes to display and to try on and all will take orders. For those who offer MTM or bespoke services, you can reserve an appointment in advance, or just get measured and order on-site. As mentioned, read more about them all below.
The ones making this event possible are our partners. The main partner is the leading premium shoe care brand Saphir, whose Medaille d’Or range is the reference point for all other shoe care products in the world, with a huge range of various products to always have your shoes in perfect condition. They will exhibit at the event as usual, and bring a bunch of their products to sell. Partner again is the famous Italian sock company Bresciani, which is making some of the finest socks in the world and has a huge range of socks. Also, partnering and helping us in the organizing team with lots of things is The Valet, where Tom Beecroft (who used to run The Jaunty Flaneur) has taken his shoe care service – doing shines, patina as well as repairs – and teamed up with alterations tailors and dry cleaner expertise.
A special type of partner is Abbot’s Shoes. It’s a premium secondhand shop based in the UK that takes on pre-owned welted footwear, refurbishes them and sells them to new owners. They will bring loads of shoes to sell at the event. But also, they will host a marketplace where you, the visitors, may bring your own shoes to sell at the event to the hundreds of visitors. We’ve done this secondhand shoe marketplace at the Stockholm super trunk for several years, and it’s been very appreciated. More info on this is below.
Apart from the exhibitions, we’ll also have the stage area where some of the event’s highlights will take place. It starts straight after we’ve opened the doors, at 11.15, with the final of the World Championships of Shoe Patina, organized in collaboration with Saphir. Three finalists will have five hours (with one hour break in the middle of the day) to paint a pair of TLB Mallorca crust leather penny loafers. The winner who’s made the best patina according to the jury will get a gold medal, shoe care kit, and the shoes after they’ve been on a world tour together with the top trio in the shoemaking contest. A bit more info on the patina contest below, and much more in the more info in qualification post here.
In the afternoon at 15.00, we have the final of the World Championships of Shoe Shining, also in collaboration with Saphir, where the winner will receive a pair of shoes from Loake. Three finalists who have made it through the qualifications (open at the same time as patina contest qualifications, more info here) will receive one Loake 1880 Aldwych Mahogany, a can of Saphir Medaille d’Or Pate de Lux and one can of Mirror Gloss, water, brush, and polishing cloth and have 20 minutes to shine the shoe as beautiful as possible. The winner gets the shoes, a Saphir shoe care package, and of course a gold medal.
Also, as presented thoroughly in this article, we are once again organizing the World Championships of Shoemaking, in collaboration with the webshop Kirby Allison and the book project Master Shoemakers. The prize pool consists of £6,000 (€6,800 / $7,300), three handmade awls by Phil Norsworthy, medals, and a chance to be showcased to shoe lovers around the world. A contest that has been a huge success, with lots of interest both in the industry and media etc and with shoe entries that are reminiscent of the most amazing footwear we see in museums. The 30 best shoes from the pre-qualification will all be on display during the day, and at 17.30 at the stage area we will present the top ten with the three podium positions, including the world champion.
As always we will live stream the different championship competitions and the award ceremonies, on Shoegazing’s Youtube channel and here on Shoegazing.com, as well as on Saphir Medaille d’Or’s Instagram.
Please follow the Facebook page for the event here where you’ll get all the latest updates, let us know if you plan to attend and spread the word. And if you can, do take the time to visit the event. We’ve said it before, for shoe interested people there’s so much great stuff happening here, considering the shoes shown, the contests, and for all the people gathering. Take the chance to have a weekend in this great city topped up with the London Super Trunk Show. And since the event is built on it being worthwhile for the brands coming, the more shoes that are purchased or ordered at the event, the better the chance for it continuing to be a growing part of the shoe world.
Looking forward to seeing many of you in London on Saturday, May 13th, 2023!
Below is more info about the exhibitors, the secondhand marketplace, and the scene happenings.
Acme has made a bang in the classic shoe industry with their entry a couple of years ago (read more in this review or here on my second pair). It’s a workshop with over 15 people based in Beijing, with Oliver Tang (previously at among others Xibao) as the workshop manager, with backing from the people behind Medallion Shoes. They recently introduced a new slightly more basic range called Marvel, which still is fully handmade, priced at £750 / €850. Apart from this, all shoes are made to the same absolute top standard same as bespoke, no matter if it’s RTW, MTO, MTM, or full bespoke. These things start at a bit over £1,200 / €1,400.
Attila from Hungary is the brand of Attila Covacs, it has been around since 1991, and all who’ve visited Budapest know that this is one of the great shoemakers that the city houses. Attila makes shoes the traditional way, fully handmade with old-school craftsmanship. The range of styles is impressive, everything from chunkier Austro-Hungarian styles to sleek modern shoes and even artistic exhibition pieces. Prices start from £440 / €500.
Bridlen has its own factory in the south of India, which collaborate with the people behind introducing Meermin in Japan (which was their first market). What sets Bridlen apart is that they make Goodyear welted shoes with the welt seam made directly to a full leather insole, the old-school way without gemming (a canvas rib glued to the insole), and also the uppers are made with real leather backings etc. Prices start at around £220 / €250 offering a lot of bang for the buck. Learn more about Bridlen in this review.
Catella is the brand of Daniel Wegan, world champion in shoemaking 2019 and previously head of the bespoke department of Gaziano & Girling, who within just a couple of years has established itself as one of the top players among fine bespoke. Recently closer and finisher Sam Norsworthy joined the team which should mean improved capacity, is needed since the customer list is constantly growing. With Catella, Daniel Wegan aims to persuade his idea of the perfect bespoke shoes, with the absolute highest level of making, and a design mixing classic British and more contemporary continental flair. Prices start at approximately £4,500 / €5,500, plus £700 / €800 for the making of the last at the first order. More on Catella in for example this article.
CNES is one of Vietnam’s largest manufacturers of Goodyear welted shoes. In Vietnam, they have their own stores in many cities, and they are also established in other markets in Asia such as Singapore and South Korea, and are making their way into Europe as well. CNES has a wide range of shoes, both very dressy and elegant models, sometimes with patina, but also more casual models and boots. The shoes appear much more expensive than the around £220 / €250 they start at, and they also make exquisite hand-welted shoes for just a bit more. Learn more about them here.
Cobbler Union is based in Georgia, US, with their shoes made in Almansa in Spain where they also have an office. They’ve been around for many years now, and have a big following in USA with a large customer base. The focus is on sleek versions of the classics where they have narrow waists and nice last shapes, all spiced-up with a bunch of unique stuff that is bold. Their Goodyear shoes are priced at £350 / €400.
This is an interesting one. Goral is a sneakers brand with their own factory in Sheffield, UK. They make their sneakers with a proper full leather lasting board which they Blake stitch the upper to, and then attach cup soles with the regular sidewall stitch. This makes it very easy to resole them. Heel stiffeners are made of leather board, and upper materials come from famous tanneries like Horween, Maryam, Charles F. Stead, Opera, Zonta, and so on. Perfect for those who appreciate classic quality shoes and want sneakers made closer to this way. Prices are from €210 / €240.
Paul Sargent from Rushden, Northampton, is the continuation of Alfred Sargent who went into liquidation in 2020 under the then-French owners. Paul Sargent, the fourth generation in the company, took over many of the assets like the machines, lasts and patterns etc, and since they already owned the premises they could start up things again rather quickly. Now they focus on the well-known Exclusive range and also the top Handcrafted range with lovely sleek waists and fine craftsmanship, priced from £450 / $510. More on Paul Sargent in this interview.
The Noble Shoe
The Noble Shoe is a Swedish multi-brand webstore run by Kostas Mandilaris, now on a journey to learn shoemaking himself in Italy and the UK. The store has worked closely with Portuguese brand Carlos Santos for many years, with affordable Goodyear welted shoes from low to high midrange prices, starting at £260 / €300. In recent years he also introduced more limited drops from Crockett & Jones, Enzo Bonafé, Norman Vilalta, and Paolo Scafora. A lot of shoe goodies are expected on this table in London.
Raymar is a Japanese brand getting very popular domestically due to the bang for the buck offered. They collaborate closely with the same factory as the Chinese brand Mattina. They have one range of Goodyear welted shoes, and one range that is hand welted with machine-stitched outsoles. They have closed-channel leather soles, slightly rounded waists, and leathers that are from famous European tanneries like Annonay and Du Puy. Shoes that surely look more expensive than the £280 / €310 they start at. Learn more about Raymar here.
Yearn has been around for a few years in China, under the name Slimshoes. They are unlike many other Chinese makers based in Chengdu, where they have a small factory with 10 employees, led by Jie Zeng who has worked in the shoe business for 25 years. Their shoes are hand lasted, hand welted with fully handmade sole stitching, on lovely looking lasts. They use upper leathers from European tanneries like Annonay, Bonaudo, Weinheimer etc. Priced from £440 / €500. Learn more about Yearn shoes here
Saphir is the leading premium shoe care product manufacturer in the world. The French brand is owned by Avel, which also owns brands like Tarrago, Dasco, and La Cordonnerie Anglais. For shoe nerds and professionals, the premium shoe care range Saphir Medaille d’Or is the go-to choice. Known for both the high quality of care and protection, as well as for being very easy to use. All Medaille d’Or products contain only natural products: beeswax, carnauba wax, the essence of turpentine, lanolin, mink oil, neatsfoot, vegetal materials and so on.
Bresciani has manufactured socks in the Italian city Spirano since 1970. Bresciani’s line-up of quality socks is extensive. They have some more modern and playful stuff, but of course, it’s their luxurious men’s dress socks that they are most known for. You’ll find various wool-, cotton- and silk mixes as well as highly exclusive stuff like 100% cashmere socks. Not least the excellent fit and comfort are what people around the world love them for.
Secondhand shoe markeplace with Abbot’s Shoes
The big news for this year’s event in London. We have Abbot’s Shoes, which is a premium secondhand shop based in the UK that refurbishes pre-owned welted footwear and sells them onward. One part is that they will bring a bunch of their shoes to sell at the event. Also, they will host a secondhand shoe marketplace where visitors may bring their own shoes to sell at the event, which all the hundreds of visitors may browse through. We’ve done this secondhand marketplace at the Stockholm super trunk for several years, where it’s been a great success.
For those who want to sell shoes, email firstname.lastname@example.org, put Shoegazing Market in the subject line, and you will get some more information about the practicalities. But to summarise, you will get a seller number to label each shoe with, the label should also state the size and price. You then drop the shoes off at the event between 11.00-11.30 on May 13th, and pick up any unsold pairs preferably after 18.00. Abbot’s will take 20% of the sale cost, where much of it goes to cover payment costs and for their work during the day. Any shoes left behind will end up on Abbot’s Shoes’ website.
With quality products like welted shoes, it’s a nice thing to sell shoes that one doesn’t use too much to new owners, not least good for the environment, and maybe you’ll end up with some funds for new pairs from one of the exhibitors at the event. For buyers, the opportunity to try on the shoes is of course excellent when buying secondhand, and chances are great for a bargain, both from Abbot’s own stuff and from things visitors bring.
World Championships of Shoe Patina
The World Championships of Shoe Patina is organized in collaboration with Saphir. Three finalists will have five hours to paint a pair of TLB Mallorca crust leather shoes as spectacular and lovely looking as possible. Shoe patina is something that has grown a lot, and today we have specialists around the world working full time with painting shoes, as well as a lot of shoe brands that offer patina services or have painted shoes as a given part of their standard ranges.
The World Championships of Shoe Patina have a similar set-up as the shoe shining event. We have a qualification round open until March 12 (read more here), where people are to send in images of a pair of painted shoes, which will be judged by a jury consisting of us organizers and a number of patina artists. We will go through and pick out the three best patinas. What will be judged is the quality of the patina, the technique, and how beautifully it is made.
The three finalists will then paint the TLB Mallorca Artista crust leather penny loafers during the event in London. They will paint for five hours between 11.15 and 17.15, with one hour break at 14.45-15.45. They will have a number of colors of Saphir leather dye at their disposal and will bring their own brushes and equipment to work with. They will also have Saphir cream and waxes for the finishing touches. The same jury consisting of professional patina makers and shoe experts will judge how beautiful the shoes have been painted, and the quality of the paint job. The winner will be announced at the award ceremony at 17.30. The world champion in shoe patina gets the TLB shoes, a shoe care package from Saphir, and a gold medal, plus the winning shoes will be part of the world tour together with the top trio in the shoemaking contest.
World Championships of Shoe Shining
The shoe-shining final is always a highlight of every super trunk show. At 15.00 during the event day, we invite you to follow the World Championships of Shoe Shining in collaboration with Saphir, where the winner will get a pair of shoes from Loake, a shoe care package from Saphir, and a gold medal. In the qualification post found here you’ll get info on how to qualify by sending in pictures of a well-polished shoe (no later than March 12), from these a jury consisting of us organizers and representatives from Saphir and Loake will pick three finalists, who will compete during the London Super Trunk Show.
At the final, one Loake 1880 Aldwych in mahogany is to be polished as beautifully as possible. We’ll not only look at the highest shine but the most beautiful polish work is rewarded. The finalists will have a can of Saphir Medaille d’Or Pate de Lux in the color of choice, neutral Mirror Gloss wax, water, a brush, a polishing cloth of their own, and a nylon cloth, and they have 20 minutes to polish the shoe. Previous year’s winners performed astonishing results in that short time, and have had a lot of attention in Asia as winners of the title. The winner will be titled the World Champion in Shoe Shining 2023, and gets to keep the shoe he (or she) has polished and its sibling receives a glass plaquette and a kit with shoe care products from Saphir. He/she will also qualify for the Shoe Shining Champion of Champions in Tokyo, Japan, which will take place again in 2023 or 2024.
World Championships of Shoemaking
The World Championships of Shoemaking is organized by Shoegazing and The Shoe Snob, in collaboration with the webshop Kirby Allison, the book project Master Shoemakers (the book will be showcased and sold at the venue), and Parker Schenecker, brother of the deceased contest co-founder and shoe lover Edmund Schenecker. Almost 60 contestants from all over the world have registered for the championships, and 30 of these will make the pre-qualification and get to send their shoes to be on display in London and judged by the jury in person. Here in the official call for competition, you can find all the details of how it unfolds.
But to summarise it, the contestants will make a black balmoral boot with punched cap toe 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. 1st prize is £3,000, 2nd £2,000 and 3rd £1,000, the top three will get medals, a handmade shoemaking awl from Phil Norsworthy, plus all podium placed shoes will be exhibited at the Isetan Men’s department store in Tokyo, Japan, and at other stores in various locations around the world. As in previous years we will create a small exhibition with the top three shoes (plus the patina winner’s pair), which will be on tour around the globe (last year’s top shoes are currently in Australia, the final stop for them).
In the jury who will review the shoes are several bespoke shoemakers and professionals within the industry, the preliminary jury members are shoemakers Dominic Casey (previously George Cleverley) Jean-Michel Casalonga of Berluti (workshop manager, and lastmaker in Berluti’s Paris workshop), Masaru Okuyama (Japanese bespoke shoemaker, previously based in Hong Kong, now in the UK), Philippe Atienza (previously John Lobb Paris and Massaro), and Sebastian Tarek (independent shoemaker who previously have done outwork for many of the London West End firms). The plan is to add one or two more jury members, including an Italian maker to the jury line-up. To also add a slightly different view we have shoe experts Jesper Ingevaldsson of Shoegazing and Justin FitzPatrick of The Shoe Snob part of the jury, and the sponsors who are making this contest possible (together with Parker Schenecker): Kirby Allison, of Kirbyallison.com, and Gary Tok, author of Master Shoemakers.
The top 30 competition shoes will be on display at the super trunk show, and at 17.30 at the stage area we will announce the top ten shoes, and hence the podium placed ones and the world champion in shoemaking 2023.
You are all more than welcome to join the shoe fest that is the London Super Trunk Show on Saturday, May 13th, 2023! Thanks in advance for all your help spreading the word about the event, sharing this article, and inviting people with the Facebook event. See you in May!