In the world of sneakers, there’s a fine line between honoring the classics and celebrating the cutting edge, which is why Hender Scheme has such a unique niche. The progressive line produces handmade, 100% natural leather sneakers so simple and clean that the emphasis is entirely on the craftsmanship. Their ‘Homage’ collection pays tribute to classic kicks like old-school high tops, but strips them down to the very essence of their design.

Handmade in Tokyo’s Asakusa district, an area known for producing the highest quality shoes, each shoe is constructed entirely of raw leather—from the buckles to the straps and laces—and fixed atop replaceable soles. While the shoes start off raw and ‘colorless’, a unique patina develops with each wear.

Designer and founder Ryo Kashiwazaki is inspired by this element of growth, and intends that the wearer enjoys the shoes more as the leather becomes deeper and richer. And since soles are interchangeable, the sneakers can also be worn for a longer period of time than most shoes.

Kashiwazaki explained to us that various elements affect the way the patina develops; for example the tanning process can be accelerated by applying oil on the shoes with exposure to sunlight. “Different frequencies in wear and care for the shoes create different phases in the aging process and show the wearer’s personality,” says Kashiwazaki. “This is also our core concept of our shoes:  they are not finished until somebody wears them.” Sign us up.

“Just like a human being’s skin tans in sunlight, the unfinished leather gets tanned as well with exposure to sunlight or artificial light.” – Ryo Kashiwazaki

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