Leather shoes are all about potential. The real appeal of a pair of leather soles lies not in how they look today, but how they’ll look tomorrow. “Character,” is that intangible factor that compels us to purchase a pair of shoes based at least partially on its ability to age along with us. Japanese footwear label Hender Scheme is driven by this notion, as their collection of raw leather shoes are distinguished by their promise of an incomparable patina. Unlike most leather sole labels though, Hender Scheme isn’t best known for dress shoes (although they have recently begun to enter into this market), instead they focus primarily on sneaker silhouettes. These shoes, much like paying a visit to your hometown as an adult, are at once both familiar and unknown.
For these sneakers, which Hender Scheme has labeled the “Hommage” series, the brands takes iconic and simple shapes and recrafts them entirely from premium raw leather, yes even the soles. The result is a collection of shoes that look like Vans Eras, or Nike Air Force Ones, or German Army Trainers, yet age in a manner similar to natural Chromexcel dress shoes. Only more dramatic.
From that initial tan base layer, Hender Scheme’s evolve into a rich brown hue that really shows all the wear and care that goes into each respective pair. The brand, which has been around for a few years but only recently tapped into the American market, actually has a Tumblr that’s rife with images of customer’s shoes at various stages of wear to show just how quickly and beautifully that raw leather ages. While their recent offerings seem to indicate that Hender Scheme is moving into a wider array of products, their Hommage sneakers remain the brand’s best known designs, and when you consider how extraordinary they can look after just a year or two, it’s easy to see why.