Tomoyuki Watanabe (Bolero)

Music and shoes....

Tomoyuki Watanabe (Bolero)

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Why did you chose to be a shoemaker?

In my twenties  I was very much inloved with shoes and I started to think of making shoes by myself. At first I wanted to design my own shoes but the more I learned the more I was impressed by the manufacturing of the clasic style shoe.) But I did not had a preferance for a particular style. However over the years classic style  become my favorite style. Being so inlove with shoes I wanted to know more about how are  they made. The initial plan was to go to Italy and learn the craft but fortunately I have met a truly wonderful person. He was a Japanese bespoke shoemaker who has been in the business for over 50 years. I was strongly impressed with his craft skills, so I started to learn shoemaking from him instead of going to Italy.  After learning the craft, six years ago,  I have opened my own shop called Bolero after Ravel’s Bolero. I am a great fan of Maurice Ravel by the way…

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Do you remember the first pair of shoes made?

My first shoe was “Slip-on” and I made it with the leather of my old leather overcoat.“Slip-on” is one of my favorite style.

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Is there any diferences in terms of last betwen Japanese and Europeans?

I have never made shoes for customers outside Japan, so I am not sure but I guess heels of Japanese are smaller than the Europeans. So when one of  customer request a Cuban heal (which is tapered heel) I must pay attention to the  size of heel.

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What is your favorite pair of shoes?

Round plane toe shoe, Camel color Suade  and yellow stich. I have worn this shoes for a long time. And  also semi-brogue style is one of my favorite style.

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What shoemakers inspired you over the years?

I have no favorite shoemaker except my master. All old European shoes  inspire me as well as some ready-to-wear shoes (even very cheap one) with nice designs.

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Where is shop located and what are the prices for Bolero shoes?

The price starts from ¥241,500. I need extra ¥52,500- for the last for the first order. You can find me at 3-4-16 Kanayama Naka-ku Nagoya-City aichi Japan.

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Is ready-to-wear or made to order  part of your future plans?

I have just started my semi-order line recently. The semi-order line is limited to only balmoral designs for now.
The order process is as follows:
1 – chosing between multiple  fitting samples and decide his size.
2 -chosing the  toe shape from 2 styles round and square (chisel shape)
3 – chosing the  design. As I said above  any balmoral (like plain, semi-brogue, full-brogue and so on) can be available.
The picture below shows fitting samples and my bespoke sample for design sample. Opening Price ¥105,000.
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