When I went to Japan earlier this year, one of my main missions was to find a decent pair of fashionable Japanese boots. This seemed like it would be quite an easy thing to do, so, on my first Sunday there, a headed into Tokyo’s trendy Harajuku fashion district to see what I could find.
Strange as it may seem, finding a pair of genuine Japanese boots in Harajuku was a bit harder than I’d imagined. It seemed that a big trend there is for American footwear or boots from Europe such as Dr Martens. Although they had some very nice pairs of DMs there in a variety of colours, the prices were extremely high compared to what I’d be able to pick them up for back home. Anyway, I didn’t go all the way to Japan just to buy a pair of Docs.
Eventually, I came across a shop in Harajuku Street called Go Slow, which had some really cool looking boots on display in the window from a brand I’d never heard of called Slow Wear (though it seems that the full name of the brand is Slow Wear Lion. I never have quite worked out why the name varied depending on where I read it). Luckily, the sales assistant spoke English and after showing me a magazine article featuring Slow Wear Lion footwear, he confirmed for me that Slow Wear shoes and boots were made right there in Tokyo. That was all I needed to hear.
I tried on a particularly nice pair of black leather Slow Wear Lion boots with white soles and a zip down the inside of the ankle. They were a really nice fit so I went ahead and bought them.
The exchange rate between the British Pound and the Japanese Yen wasn’t as good for me as it could have been during the time of my trip so, at a cost of 19950 Yen, they set me back about £140. That’s actually not too bad compared to a pair of Doc Martens, and I think I can safely guarantee that the chance of bumping into somebody else back home in England wearing Slow Wear Lion boots is pretty slim.
If I had to make one criticism about the boots, now that I’ve worn them for a while, it would be that I find them a little bit lacking in arch support for my foot. The insoles are a little bit flat and so they can sometimes give me cramp in my foot if I’m standing still for a long time (a night out in a pub, for instance). However, I do tend to suffer with cramp a bit in my feet anyway, so somebody else might have no problem with the shape of the soles at all.
I don’t know if it’s possible to buy Slow Wear Lion footwear outside of Japan, but if you are in the Harajuku area of Tokyo and you want to take a look at some stylish, genuine “Made in Japan” boots, then visit the Go Slow store in Harajuku Street and check out Slow Wear Lion for yourself.