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Since 1999 we have had the privilege of making shoes for our customers, by hand and pair-by-pair. Here we introduce the progress of HIRO YANAGIMACHI since its establishment.

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June 1995Goes to England to learn shoemaking at London Cordwainers College

After studying industrial design and working as a designer, Hiro Yanagimachi moves to England to pursue his personal sense of design. Pulled in by the charm of shoes, he studies shoemaking at London Cordwainers College and learns the techniques and culture of bespoke shoemaking at places such as John Lobb.

September 1997Returns home and begins work as footwear designer

Begins work as a footwear designer, but disappointed by the approach to design and shoemaking in this environment starts to explore new opportunities.

October 1999Establishes open workshop “Works on the knees” and starts HIRO YANAGIMACHI click

Establishes “Works on the knees” at the pioneering select shoe store World Footwear Gallery and starts own brand HIRO YANAGIMACHI. The workshop features an open layout where customers can observe the shoemaking progress and the brand begins to attract attention as a rare, full handmade brand.

February 2000Starts taking orders for HIRO YANAGIMACHI brand click

Starts taking orders, initially offering 8 varieties of lace-up designs in various materials. Preparations are soon under way for further designs, with an ambition to create not only classic shoes but also new, original designs. Increases order options for customers and continues progress as a bespoke shoemaker.

March 2004Offers original zip-up shoe bag to customers

Produces HIRO YANAGIMACHI original zip-up shoe bag in conjunction with bag maker Asuka Hatta. The new shoe bag is a clear departure from the traditional pouch-style bag and redefines the shoe bag as an item of stand-alone value.

January 2008Moves Workshop, Establishes HIRO YANAGIMACHI Workshop click

Leaves World Footwear Gallery location after 8-year collaboration and moves workshop to current location in Sendagaya. Makes a fresh start in HIRO YANAGIMACHI Workshop.

September 2008Offers portable shoe horn

Begins producing portable shoe horn in collaboration with metalwork artist Shuji Yoshimura, who produces the monk strap buckles used at HIRO YANAGIMACHI.

March 2009Starts HIRO YANAGIMACHI Training Program for Bespoke Shoemakers

Starts HIRO YANAGIMACHI Training Program for Bespoke Shoemakers to nurture and provide guidance to young shoemakers and help progress the craft of shoemaking.

November 2009Offers original shoe tree

In collaboration with last maker Hikari begins offering hinged, one-piece shoe tree based on a customer’s bespoke last.

February 201010-Year Anniversary of Establishment of HIRO YANAGIMACHI brand click

Celebrates 10 years from taking of first orders in February 2000.

February 2011Offers Rubber sole option to customers click

Begins offering rubber sole as option to customers, a rarity with bespoke shoes. In so doing incorporates limited use of machinery into the shoemaking process to provide further options to customers.

July 2012Offers leather belt accessory

Together with Keisuke Saotome, begins offering leather belts as a made-to-order, handcrafted accessory to coordinate with shoes. The belt buckles are created by metalwork artist Shuji Yoshimura, who produces the monk strap buckles and shoe horns for HIRO YANAGIMACHI.

October 2012Starts Made to Order service click

Starts Made to Order service based on the skills and experience cultivated from bespoke service. Redesigns and upgrades new shoe fitting samples. Announces Made to Order Fair to be held twice a year. As a preview, Pre-Fair is held in November 2012.