yuko imanishi

Handcrafted Natural Leather Shoe Brand from Japan

yuko imanishi+ specializes in leather shoes for women. Their team consists of designers who work with their own manufacturing factory to create "realities of the daily life". yuko imanishi+ focuses on every detail in their designs: from leather, to patterning, to sewing and finishing. The shoes offer both comfort and style. Once you put them on, you will feel like you're walking on a cloud.

yuko imanishi + offers leather shoes that incorporate Italian and Japanese design. They use Vegetable Tanning Leather and work with a tannery to achieve the finishing touches using Bolognese Construction which set them apart from other shoe brands. The popularity yuko imanishi + has gained in Europe since their 2012 debut SS Collection can be attributed to the comfort, simplicity, and yet subtly twisted designs they create. Designing, patterning, sole bottoming, and finishing are completed in their own factory in Bangladesh. Through this factory, yuko imanishi + provides opportunities for employment and concentrates on C.S.R. by donating goods to a local school.

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What's Vegetable Tanning Leather?

The majority of Yuko Imanishi + shoes are made with environmentally friendly Vegetable-Tanned leather. This means that the leather is tanned with natural vegetable tannins including from barks, branches, leaves and fruit versus harmful chemicals that are used in Chrome and Aldehyde Tanning. The finished result of Vegetable-Tanned leathers is natural, with an earthy feel and scent. It develops a natural patina over time with prolonged use and exposure to the environment. It has a distinct appearance and unmatched durability. It is breathable and shoes made with Vegetable-Tanned leather get more comfortable the longer you use them. 

There are a few key differences between Vegetable-Tanned leather and Chrome-Tanned leather. The process of Chrome-Tanning is quick, usually 2-3 days, whereas Vegetable Tanning can take up to 3 months. Given that Chrome-Tanning is much quicker to produce it is invariably less costly and is thereby utilized in 85% of global leather production. The use of chromium salts is harmful to human and environmental health, it is a carcinogenic, persistent and indestructible chemical unlike Vegetable-Tanned leather which does not have any harmful chemicals. Furthermore, Chrome-Tanned leather is no longer a natural product but is simply “dead” and not breathable unlike Vegetable-Tanned leather.

Vegetable dying leads to unique and subtle shades in colour. This lack of consistency in colour is actually not defective, as it might appear, and is typically characteristic of this high quality, natural tanning process. Furthermore, due to the more gentle processes the average length of life of vegetable tanned leather is considerably higher than that of chrome-tanned leather.

Vegetable-Tanned leather appears pristine and evenly coloured when purchased but can become uneven and stained with use. Given the use of natural dyes Vegetable-Tanned leather is still “alive” and can stain when weathered. This is natural and over time develops into a broken-in look. It is possible to clean Vegetable-Tanned leather to maintain a uniform finish. Applying oil or cream conditioner directly onto the leather will help maintain a uniform finish. You can occasionally wax your leather products to keep them in top condition. One of the pleasure of owning a pair of Vegetable-Tanned leather shoes comes in caring for and bringing out the uniqueness of your shoes.

Ultimately, Vegetable-Tanning results in a sustainable, natural, durable, artesian, unique, and fashionable hand crafted leather that never goes out of style.


What's The Bolognese Construction?

The Bologna, sometimes called sacchetto, is a typical Italian construction techniques, focused on producing very elegant and sophisticated shoes with a great level of comfort.

With this technique, the shoe upper and its lining are completely rolled into a tube, which is then directly stitched to the outsole. Therefore, the foot doesn't get into contact with the sole, but only with the leather of the shoe upper. The stitch is also positioned at the very edge of the shoe - where the foot won't feel it and give the sole a curved aspect which is typical of Bologna shoes. If we add the high flexibility of the shoe that this simple construction creates, Bologna shoes are clearly the most comfortable shoes to wear.

The construction requires more advanced techniques and time and sadly, factories with the technic are disappearing, however, yuko imanishi + it’s own factory proudly providing their beautiful shoes!

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