We've seen a million shoes over the past eight years at Sneaker Freaker, but nothing, and I mean nothing, has come close to the sheer elegance of these ruggedly handsome Converse. They're a time warp - a flashback to another century - when the only thing tougher than life itself was your boots.
This is the work of Japanese shoemaker Ryusaku Hiruma. A graduate of the Cordwainers school in London, Sak, as he prefers to be known, now operates from Florence, Italy, birthplace of Da Vinci, Michelangelo and Guccio Gucci. For close to a decade, he has been quietly honing his cobbling skills and pursuing age-old Italian craftsmanship. In a world obsessed with mass-production and ruthless efficiency, the raw, almost industrially bespoke nature of his shoes makes them even more remarkable. Every stitch, every perforation, every nuance is applied by Sak himself over a 30 hour period. Even the laces are cut by his own hand from one continuous spiral of leather, with a Converse star as an exclamation mark for a tip.
Thus far, Sak has reproduced the Chuck Taylor, One Star and Jack Purcell models. His coup de grace will be this recreation of the Startech basketball model from the early ‘80s. Corporate branding and a sports pedigree is seemingly the antithesis of Sak's antediluvian methodology, but in his sympathetic hands, the Startech's incongruous blend of olde-world construction and the Converse Chevron merely amplifies their husky perfection. It's almost as if Al Swearengen himself had come straight out of Deadwood, laced up his Startechs and hobbled straight to the free-throw line!