Just recently, I conducted an interview with the Aichi-Prefecture-based ceramic master called Tetsuya Ozawa. Meeting him for the first time, I cannot help but be distracted by the pair of shoes he was wearing. Mr. Ozawa has rather long legs. When he talks about something he was excited about, he would naturally swing his arms and legs in the air. So one can pretty much tell how happy he is just by looking at his legs. With my attention drawn to his feet, I got curious and asked what kind of shoes he was wearing. He then, without a second thought, took off his right one and showed it to me, saying he got it from the market. Such a beautiful yet simple pair of shoes it was. I even had the impulse to stuff my foot into it to try! “I know, right?”, Ozawa said with a grin, “They also feel light and very comfy!” The leather shoes do wear the story of their age. They look ripe and tender, like that mellow spread of butter you put on your toast. It is satisfying to see how the leather can be so delicately wrapping someone’s feet.
The pair of shoes is a product from a shoes manufacturing factory called Companion from the Saitama prefecture. A couple of years ago, they launched a brand called Que (キュー). The factory is the supplier for many well-known shoe brands. Que simply applied the same adherence to quality to produce shoes that stress on how well they can fit your feet shape. Priced very reasonably, Que shoes cannot be found in any shops or available for online order. Customers can only find them in markets or trade shows. In this age of overwhelming online shopping, how Que is running its business is clearly one of a kind. In fact, seeing how long the queue is every time there is a tradeshow, it is obvious how word of mouth comes into play to attract loyal customers.
Simply line up and get a numbered ticket at one of their markets, customers could then return at the assigned time. Take off your own shoes and put them into the bag provided, then you are ready to try on the new ones! Que has a wide selection of leather types and colors. Pick your size and the staff will skillfully adjust the insoles to ensure your feet would fit best. Apparently many customers are coming back with their old Que shoes to get the new ones.
A comfortable pair of shoes can make you enjoy walking more, so you can walk that extra mile to explore the undiscovered scenery. Shoes’ quality does matter when you have a long road ahead of you.