There’s a shoe repair place called Brass in Tokyo like no other I have ever been to. The guys from Red Wing Japan took me there last time I was in country. Often it’s those moments — like when I was first introduced to Brass in person — that make me realize the Japanese can still do ‘Americana’ better than Americans. I could easily see a place like Brass in Portland or Brooklyn or L.A., but I doubt it would have the customer base to actually survive. Maybe I’m wrong though.
Guys come from all parts of Tokyo to have Brass resole their Goodyear welted shoes. In the shop I saw footwear from Alden, Edward Green, Wesco and of course Red Wing; it wasn’t just fine leather bottom shoes it was a mix of brands and styles. That is something that impressed me about Brass. Normally in New York you go to a repair shop and they can redo a pair of Aldens (and know their stuff), but I’ve seen a lot of boots come out of those shops that just look ridiculous. I take my shoes to Mouded Shoe on 39th Street or to VIP on 55th, but never my boots — those get sent back to the OEM. Red Wing has a pretty amazing shoe repair facility in Minnesota (which I have seen a few different times) and Allen Edmonds also has a great repair service which I have also toured. But if I lived anywhere near Brass I would definitely have to try out their service.
To have your boots resoled there doesn’t come cheap. In some cases it can cost more than $300 a pair. Though, when you consider the price of American made leather footwear in Japan (it’s much more expensive over there because of the high import duty) a few hundred dollars isn’t that crazy. Not that I would suggest you pay that in New York.
One other cool thing about Brass is they sell a good selection of re-crafted footwear from many of the fine brands that they specialize in reconditioning. You can see some of the selection in the above photo. While expensive — and all the way in Tokyo — Brass is like no place I have ever seen. If you are in Japan soon, stop by and check it out.
This post originally appeared on the Red Wing Heritage Journal. More photos and info about re-crafting there.