Product Introspection: Footwear



left: 0120202002002 CORDA-FOLK, center: 0120202002006 HAMMOND-FOLK, right: 0120201001002 FKT RUNNER

Hints for creating new products can be discovered in a variety of places.

At times, I find ideas from craft objects and traditional clothes from Native America or ethnic tribes in China; or the elderly gentleman strolling the city sidewalk seemingly carefree and unconcerned about "fashion".

Whether it is found in a rural or urban setting, what attracts me is the style and effect created by that person's character; from what's inside them. With observations obtained that way, I place significant importance on the process of realizing that inspiration by designing from the inside.

"CORDA-FOLK" outsole and cork insole on the upper part.

When thinking from the perspective inside of a product, is to consider its utility, which is the essence of the product itself. The starting point of our products begins when they arrive in our customers' hands. How they are then enjoyed over time, maturing and changing expressions charmingly to reflect lifestyles and the way they are used has always been a guiding principle for our brand. That concept applies universally to creating boots or sneakers, denim or outerwear, each and every product...

By spending a long time with one product, we first learn to appreciate the changes in its appearance developed with age. To achieve such products, durability and comfort are required pillars to its practicability. Rather than creating from the exterior or outward form, an approach focused on the internal structure and performance will naturally lead to the optimum design for the product.

Stitching work of the "CORDA-FOLK" upper with its outsole.


Sneakers are usually thrown away once they're "worn out". However, often it's regrettable to let go of the rich expressions shown on a quality leather upper. How best could we extend the life of our favorite sneakers?

This examination lead to our answer; that we would create sneakers adopting the Goodyear Welt construction, continuing the particular emphasis on "durability" and "comfort" that we had been working on for many years.

A rubber outsole with a high side wall forms a cup-shaped edge (often used for tennis shoes) to support and cradle the upper; made from a combination of naturally tanned Italian kangaroo leather and British cowhide, carefully stitched by hand with thick and robust thread using the Goodyear technique.
The footbed formed by the gap of several millimeters between the upper and sole when sewing is laid with a natural cork insole, creating excellent breathability and structure that does not get stuffy for feet when worn.

Our CORDA-FOLK applies modern shoemaking craftsmanship know-how mainly reserved for high-grade quality men's dress shoes and boots that require toughness: worn well over time, the cork insoles shapes custom contoured support to your feet, the breathable upper develops an attractive patina that you won't want to discard. Once the soles have worn down, you won't have to consider throwing them away; just like quality boots, our sneaker's outsole is replaceable and fully re-sole-able.

0120202002006 HAMMOND-FOLK


The cracked leather surface is the first thing that is likely to attract your attention; the pseudo-cracked goatskin surface, which has a high degree of elasticity and resists well to wear and tear. This peculiar type of leather combines the characteristics of a pliable material with a fractured appearance alike when old leather loses its oil content and deteriorates with age.

One of the unique techniques for creating this feature, involves soaking the leather in water to break their shape and by omitting the finishing process of "lasting" to produce a completely different and deformed appearance between the left and right shoes.

Despite these obvious characteristics, the essence of this HAMMOND-FOLK still lies in its internal structure.
Starting with vegetable tanned leather, which is a tanning technique relying on tree tannin that does not destroy the cellular structure of the leather like the pores, then the "cork bed" located between the upper and the sole, finally the bamboo shank supporting the flexion of the sole. Not to forget of course, the hand-stitched process of Goodyear welt construction by craft skilled shoemakers, which is essential to the durability.

Utilizing natural materials with our construction method and structure are difficult to see at first glance, but they are in fact the secret key to increased breathability, moisture permeability that lead to ultimate "comfort". We believe that each of these inner workings lead to the creation of products whose "substance" goes beyond eye-catching exterior design.

0120201001002 FKT RUNNER


A sneaker you would want to wear for a long time, with pigment-free lining that allows your foot to breathe comfortably. This is a common and consistent concept that has been systematically applied not only to the new FKT RUNNER, but also to the vulcanized sneakers and shoes that have been introduced on our collections so far. And if possible, I want this "comfort" to be felt as soon as you enter your foot and to last for a long time.

This is the only reason that we choose the fine, thin cowhide leather for the material of the lining, since it has the excellent breathability and the ability to absorb moisture thanks to non-pigmented surface. The moment you put your foot in it, it is just that little bit cooler and smoother on your skin. We have inserted natural cork as an insole and adopted a method that consists of joining the soles and the upper without using glue as much as possible, just in order to avoid compromising the performance of the lining.
There are countless sneakers in the world, but I think it's hard to find one that has been thought out from the design of the lining.