Valentin Frunza

World Championship Shoe Contest

Valentin Frunza


IMG_9889How did the idea to participate to  “World Championship Shoe Contest” come into your mind?

Someone, a few years ago, asked me if I had any awards from contests. I saw photos on the internet of award-winning footwear (a cowboy boot that received an award somewhere in Europe). A few months ago there was an announcement on ShoeSnob and Shoegazing “World Championship Shoe Contest”. I wrote beneath the add “I’m in”, and I received a letter containing the conditions for participating. So I started to create the shoe.IMG_9798

What is the story of your shoe? 

I just carved the tip of an Italian last. The request was for square. I named it “English”. Since the championship is in London… For the contest I was supposed to create a plain “cap toe” Oxford from black boxcalf. 42. The left shoe. I manually sewed the face. It was a pleasure. It’s easy to sew. Ever since I began sewing belts I kept thinking that I could also sew the shoe faces, but I haven’t done it so far. The lateral parts are from one piece, of course. I tried to use an English awl and I got a fine stitching at the sole. I sewed the frame with an eight threads wire. Thick. I pulled it with strength. It stays fixed in the inner sole. The box, cut from the best part of the leather, had no folds when I removed the shoe from the last. The sole, beige, shines. The stitch is hidden. A nice shoe. I didn’t have the proper roller for the stitch and I jagged the sole with something finer. I shouldn’t have done that. I’m sorry. As soon as the shoe comes home, I’ll “chop off its teeth”.IMG_9896

Where is  the shoe now? Is it available for sale?

The shoe is in my studio, in Chişinău – Moldova. It’s a left shoe. If required, I can make the right shoe, too.IMG_9898

If there weren’t any markings related to the model, box, color and so on, how would the shoe you would take to a future similar contest look like?

It’s very well that there was this marking. It didn’t affect my time and focus. I was fixed on the shoe as a construction, not as a model. I don’t know what I would have done if it weren’t for this marking. I suppose it would have been just another oxford. Maybe even a black boxcalf. A brogue, a hand stitched face, most certainly. I would do something that I never did before. It isn’t good at all from a tactical point of view, but it is a reason to try something new. I haven’t done yet any Norwegian derby or a clasp loafer. I’m tempted by a top made not from one piece, but from 2-3 straps. Sandal shoe. Clasps, threads… I’d do something, for sure. Something nice!

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What are you working on currently? 

I’m working on a few orders. I’m also making a patina for the showcase. It seems to come out OK. I’m making it long, with a lot of liquid paint from Saphir. I let it dry during the night so that I can see the result in the morning. I add two or three drops of black paint every day. Fascinating process. The gradient is very well received. I’m making a “bleu nuit” oxford. I want to make a championship sole on it, with an 8 spi hidden stitch.IMG_9899