As the West Village shoe store Leffot marks its 15th year of business, it’s commemorating the occasion with a very special sneaker. From November 3 to 5, Leffot will host a trunk show with the Japanese bespoke shoemaker Hiro Yanagimachi, who will be accepting orders for a run of his LS1 sneakers made from Horween shell cordovan. Production of the made-to-order shoe, which will retail for $2,150, will be capped at a highly limited but thematic 15 pairs.
It’s just the latest, if most opulent, development in the history of the LS1, which was launched one year ago by Yanagimachi and Leffot and has already proven to be a favorite among the latter’s clientele.
“It’s a handmade, casual shoe that’s designed in the style of a sneaker, so it’s very successful,” says Leffot founder Steven Taffel. “A lot of guys have been ordering them to wear for work.”
Taffel’s business, which is the sole American and online retailer of the style, makes it available in 12 shades of suede on its website. But in addition to the limited cordovan model, the November trunk show— Yanagimachi’s first since 2019—will also give clients the chance to order it in 10 new suedes and leathers as well as additional sole and welt colors.
And while the idea of a bespoke shoemaker offering a made-to-order sneaker sounds like a post-Covid pivot, Yanagimachi conceived his “Luxury Sneaker Number One” before the pandemic.
“As a bespoke shoemaker, we would like to support our customers in various situations in their daily life through our shoes,” Yanagimachi tells Robb Report. “We would like to provide our customers with stylish shoes that are comfortable to wear not only for business occasions, but also for holidays and travel. Based on this idea, we started developing a new category product, ‘luxury welted sneaker,’ in 2019.”
It may have seemed like a surprising move for Yanagimachi, who studied at the London Cordwainers College before founding his bespoke shoemaking workshop in Tokyo in 1999. But in the English-trained shoemaker’s view, it was simply an extension of his craft into a more casual and contemporary category.
“The LS1 was developed with the aim of being a luxury sneaker for adults,” he continues. “I think that people who have worn and appreciated leather dress shoes are looking for a smart style as well as the comfortable fit. In my opinion, most sneaker designs in the market are a bit too aggressive for those people… We redesigned the iconic oxford sneaker model, paying keen attention to details to create a casual and elegant style.”
But Yanagimachi borrowed more than just aesthetics from the bespoke side of the business. The LS1s are made from leathers in the same quality range as what Yanagimachi uses for his bespoke orders, and the sneakers are hand-lasted and constructed via a hand-sewn welting method that ensures they can be re-soled for future wear.
The shell cordovan LS1 will be available for order online and in-store starting November 3. Clients who make the trek to Leffot will have the opportunity to try a full size run of the LS1 before placing their order, and to view a completed cordovan LS1 that Yanagimachi will have on-site.