• Top 14 Best Japanese Business Shoes to Buy Online 2020 - Tried and True! 1
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Top 14 Best Japanese Business Shoes to Buy Online 2020 - Tried and True!

Our editors searched Japanese e-commerce sites (such as @cosme, Amazon, and Yahoo Shopping) for the best men’s business shoes. We then chose the 14 most popular products and tested them for the following:

1. Craftsmanship
2. Material
3. Comfort
4. Water-Resistance

We were looking for shoes that would be easy to walk in, rain or shine. We also considered breathable options for folks who stand all day. We even enlisted the help of a journalist who specializes in men’s fashion to check for quality. What we ended up with was a definitive list of and buying guide about the best Japanese business shoes available online.
  • Last updated: 10-25-2019
  • 359 views
Table of Contents

Top 14 Best Japanese Business Shoes to Buy Online 2019

We sliced the shoes in half to get a feel for material and structure. We skidded over wet surfaces to make sure they wouldn’t slip. And we stepped into buckets of water to check for water resistance. Based on how they performed on these tests, we ranked the top 14 Japanese business shoes available online.
※Japanese prices for the products are given; they’ve merely been converted into USD for easy viewing.
1

Balance Works Business Shoes SPH4610

$69.37

Japaneseバランスワークス ビジネスシューズ SPH4610
TypePlain Toe, Derby
Available ColorsBlack, Dark Brown
CraftsmanshipA+
MaterialA+
ComfortA
Water ResistanceA
Overall ScoreA+
2

REGAL Business Shoes Plain Toe JU13 AH3

$183.12

Japaneseリーガル メンズ ビジネスシューズ JU13 AH3
TypePlain Toe, Derby
Available ColorsBlack
CraftsmanshipA+
MaterialB
ComfortA
Water ResistanceA+
Overall ScoreA
3

TEXCY LUXE Leather Business Shoes TU-7774

$59.30

Japaneseテクシーリュクス ビジネスシューズ 本革 TU-7774
TypePunched Cap Toe, Oxford
Available ColorsBlack, Brown
CraftsmanshipA
MaterialA+
ComfortA
Water ResistanceA
Overall ScoreA
4

Tsukin Kaiso Business Shoes GORE-TEX TK3309

$168.07

Japanese通勤快足ビジネスシューズ ゴアテックス TK3309
TypeStraight Tip, Oxford
Available ColorsBlack, Brown
CraftsmanshipA+
MaterialB
ComfortA
Water ResistanceA
Overall ScoreA
5
Japaneseリナシャンテバレンチノ ビジネスシューズ TB3023
TypePlain Toe, Derby
Available ColorsBlack, Dark Brown
CraftsmanshipA+
MaterialB
ComfortB
Water ResistanceA
Overall ScoreB
6

Balance Works Business Shoes SPH4601

$61.26

Japaneseバランスワークス ビジネスシューズ SPH4601
TypeStraight Tip, Oxford
Available ColorsBlack
CraftsmanshipA
MaterialA
ComfortB
Water ResistanceA
Overall ScoreB
7

KENFORD Business Shoes Straight Tip KB48AJ

$76.64

Japaneseケンフォード ビジネスシューズ ストレートチップ KB48AJ
TypeStraight Tip, Oxford
Available ColorsBlack
CraftsmanshipA
MaterialB
ComfortA
Water ResistanceA
Overall ScoreB
8
Japaneseハイドロテック ビジネスシューズ HD1362
TypePlain Toe, Derby
Available ColorsBlack
CraftsmanshipA
MaterialB
ComfortA+
Water ResistanceB
Overall ScoreB
9
Japaneseジョーマリノ 本革 メンズ ビジネスシューズ
TypeStraight Tip, Oxford
Available ColorsBlack, Brown
CraftsmanshipB
MaterialD
ComfortD
Water ResistanceB
Overall ScoreC
10

Arno Mens Business Shoes

$133.52

JapaneseArno メンズビジネスシューズ
TypeStraight Tip, Oxford
Available ColorsBlack, Brown, Matte Black
CraftsmanshipC
MaterialC
ComfortC
Water ResistanceB
Overall ScoreC
11
Japanese神戸リベラル ビジネスシューズ LB209
TypeStraight Tip, Derby
Available ColorsBlack, Brown, Dark Brown
CraftsmanshipB
MaterialD
ComfortD
Water ResistanceD
Overall ScoreD
12
JapaneseZEENO ビジネスシューズ ヒールアップ
TypePlain Toe, Derby
Available ColorsBlack, Brown, Dark Brown
CraftsmanshipC
MaterialD
ComfortD
Water ResistanceD
Overall ScoreD
13
JapaneseVisionreast ビジネスシューズ 外羽根
TypePlain Toe, Derby
Available ColorsBlack, Brown
CraftsmanshipC
MaterialD
ComfortB
Water ResistanceD
Overall ScoreD
14

AAA+ Business Shoes Long Nose

$22.88

JapaneseAAA+ ビジネスシューズ ロングノーズ
TypeStraight Tip, Derby
Available ColorsBlack, Light Brown, Dark Brown
CraftsmanshipC
MaterialD
ComfortD
Water ResistanceD
Overall ScoreD

How We Tested Our Products

We determined the best leather shoes needed to exhibit a high level of craftsmanship. They needed to made from practical, durable materials and be comfortable no matter what the weather or how long you wear them.
This is how we tested for those factors.

Test ①: Craftsmanship

Test ①: Craftsmanship
We asked our specialist to inspect the following points.

  1. Structure of the upper

  2. Structure of the lining, midsole, and insole

  3. Structure and shape of the outsole

  4. Stitching on the upper

  5. Symmetry between the left and right shoe

He then graded each pair of shoes on a five step scale from D to A+.
We did see a correlation between price and quality. Really cheap leather shoes–under 50 or so bucks–always cut corners somewhere to reduce cost. It isn’t until you get to high-end shoes, where everything is upwards of $200, that the price = quality formula gets a bit iffy.

Test ②: Material

Test ②: Material
We sliced all the shoes in half so we could get a peak inside. We then had our specialist dissect each pair, pointing out materials that are comfortable, durable, and practical.
We found most budget shoes have one thing in common; the front part of the footbed, which you usually can’t see, was usually made of cheap materials and exhibited shoddy craftsmanship.

Test ③: Comfort

Test ③: Comfort
You can inspect materials all you want, but the best way to tell how a shoe’s going to perform is to wear it yourself. So we slipped on the shoes and took them for a stroll. We checked for each of the following factors, then graded each pair on a five step scale from D to A+.

  1. How form-fitting it was

  2. How comfortable it stayed over long walking sessions

  3. How breathable it was

  4. How slip-resistant it was

Nowadays, there are more and more shoes built to look like business but feel like sneakers. They’ve got soles with specially designed cushions and are engineered to be as light as possible. Rockport products are a great example.

Test ④: Water-Resistance

Test ④: Water-Resistance
We filled a tray with four centimeters of water and soaked our shod feet for five minutes. We then judged how wet our feet got by the color of our gray socks and graded each product on a five-step scale from D to A+.
Shoes with any kind of water-repelling technology did pretty well on this test, but those that utilized GORE-TEX were especially impressive. Not a drop of water got in. On the other hand, untreated shoes leaked all across the board.

Tips on How to Choose Japanese Business Shoes – Buying Guide

Here are three big things to look out for.

① Play It Safe and Choose a Business-Appropriate Design

In Japan, personal appearance still plays a huge role in business culture. You want to appear put together from head to toe–nothing out of place and nothing too showy, either.
When it comes to shoes, pay close attention to whether there’s any broguing (those flowery perforations) and the shape of the toe cap.

The Reliable, General Purpose Shoe: Plain Toe

The Reliable, General Purpose Shoe: Plain Toe
Plain toes are just what they sound like–the front part of the shoe is free from any ornamentation. They’re unassuming and can be worn most anywhere.
For day-to-day wear, consider a derby. Derbies have their eyelets stitched over the vamps (the part of the shoe that covers your toes). You can actually see the front ends of the quarters, which is the part of a shoe that covers the sides and back of your foot. The shoe above is an example of a derby.
Oxfords, on the other hand, have their quarters tucked away under the vamp. They appear more formal than derbies. The shoe below is an example of an oxford.

The Dressier Shoe: Cap Toe

The Dressier Shoe: Cap Toe
A cap toe is any kind of shoe that has a horizontal line of stitches running across the toe box. The most popular variety in Japan would be the straight tip. There’s no broguing, the sole ornamentation being the stitches themselves. It’s considered a formal design.
If you’re looking for decorative perforations along the horizontal seam, you’re looking for a punched cap toe. The broguing gives the shoes a bit of flair. It’s not as austere as the straight tip, but if you get a pair of punched cap toe Oxfords in black smooth leather, you shouldn’t have a problem even at formal events.

② Consider the Material and Structure of the Shoe

You don’t need to be a connoisseur to identify a badly made shoe.

Learn about Different Types of Leather and Why Full Grain is So Highly Regarded

Learn about Different Types of Leather and Why Full Grain is So Highly Regarded
The uppers of most business shoes are constructed from leather. You have your natural leathers, coming from animals like cow, horse, pig, goat, and deer. Natural leather wears well over time, taking on a beautiful patina. It’s also flexible and breathable. Of all the types of natural leather, full grain is of the highest quality.
Full grain leather is smooth and naturally has few blemishes. It therefore doesn’t need to be sanded down or treated, so it appears softer and warmer than corrected grain leather. Corrected grain leather’s got a plasticky look to it, as it was crafted from imperfect leather and then buffed and treated until the blemishes disappeared. It’s the budget pick.
Faux leather‘s also another wallet-friendly option. Faux leather usually has a laminated surface, so it’s less breathable than natural leather and cracks with time. Faux leather is easier to care for, however. It’s also evolving, as manufacturers try to develop new ways to produce faux leathers of higher and higher quality.

Make Sure the Rest of the Shoe is Well-Constructed–That is, Sleek but Durable

Make Sure the Rest of the Shoe is Well-Constructed–That is, Sleek but Durable
There’s a few things you should look at when you check for craftsmanship.
The first is the quality of the seams. Are they neat and tight? Are there even seams to begin with? Some leather uppers are glued to their soles, which makes it impossible to repair the shoes as they wear out. Make sure, too, that the stitches at the bottom of the sole and the top of the welt line up; if they don’t, then that needlework is purely decorative.
You also want to look at the symmetry of the shoes and pay attention to the materials that are used inside. This isn’t always true, but manufacturers that explain the construction of their shoes are to be trusted more, as they’ve got something to take pride in.
Finally, look at the outsole. If you’re hoping for an elegant finish, then leather soles are your best bet; they’re sleek and classy. Rubber soles are more slip-resistant, but pay close attention to the profile of the shoes before purchase. There’s a chance they’ll appear cheap or clunky.

③ Don’t Forget about Practical Features as Well

Shoes aren’t just about looks; you have to walk in them too.

Because Floors Get Wet When It Rains: Slip-Resistance

Because Floors Get Wet When It Rains: Slip-Resistance
Tiles are dangerous, stairs are dangerous, the entire world becomes dangerous when it rains and you don’t have slip-resistant shoes.
Your most typical topple-proof shoes have rubber soles with tire-like treading. Manufacturers, however, are coming up with tweaks and alternatives to streamline profiles, such as lining just the sides of the soles with leather or a similar material and using rubber for the rest.

For Those That Walk: Comfort over Time

For Those That Walk: Comfort over Time
First order of business is to make sure that sizing is perfect. We’re not just talking about the numbers–if you have wide feet, then get something in a wide fit, the same if you have narrow.
Then make sure the insole isn’t completely rigid so it can mold itself to the shape of your foot. Cork footbeds are a good choice because they’re relatively soft, absorb impact, and are odor-resistant. If you need extra arch support or anything of the like, make sure that’s addressed as well.

If You Wear Shoes for More than a Few Minutes a Day: Breathability

If You Wear Shoes for More than a Few Minutes a Day: Breathability
Nowadays, there’s all kinds of technologies in play to make shoes more breathable. These shoes will often be lighter and more flexible (utilizing the best of materials like full-grain leather). They might be lined with mesh or feature a trademarked air circulation system.
You can always read reviews to get a feel for how breathable a pair of shoes are; we also tested all the shoes we purchased for ventilation.

Unless You Like Wet Socks: Water-Resistance

Unless You Like Wet Socks: Water-Resistance
While leather won’t be ruined by a little splashing, you shouldn’t wear them during a downpour. First of all, leather absorbs moisture like a sponge, which could not only get you wet but make the material distend.
You could spritz your leather shoes with a waterproof spray or invest in a pair of galoshes. Or you could look specifically for dress shoes that have been treated for water resistance, especially if you live in a rainy part of the world.

FYI: Types of Men’s Dress Shoes

Just so you have an idea of what’s out there.

Straight Tip: Characterized by the Horizontal Line of Stitches Running Across the Toe Box

Straight Tip: Characterized by the Horizontal Line of Stitches Running Across the Toe Box
We’ve mentioned this a few times already, but just to drill it in, straight tips have a line of stitches that connects the welt on the right side of the shoe to the welt on the left. (Apparently, anything to the front of that line won’t wrinkle easily.) There’s no other ornamentation.
Straight tip is widely considered the most formal type of dress shoe and is appropriate for most any occasion.

Plain Toe: Characterized by the Lack of Flowery Designs, Especially on the Toe Box

Plain Toe: Characterized by the Lack of Flowery Designs, Especially on the Toe Box
Plain toes don’t have any kind of ornamentation. Design elements make themselves apparent in the shape of the shoe itself, resulting in a sleek and graceful profile.
Plain toes are also appropriate for most events.

Monk Strap: Characterized by a Buckle Fastening

Monk Strap: Characterized by a Buckle Fastening
Monk straps are fastened shut with either a buckle or two. They’re easier to slip in and out of than laced shoes. However, they do look more casual than laces and may not be suited for formal occasions.

Wingtip: Characterized by Their Beautiful Ornamentation

Wingtip: Characterized by Their Beautiful Ornamentation
Wingtips get their name from the broguing that runs across the toe box, which takes the shape of a distant bird with outstretched wings. There’s often arabesques punched into the tip as well.
It’s said that wingtips originated from work shoes, when laborers would punch holes into their footwear to drain water collected when trekking through forests or wetlands.

U Tip: Characterized by the Round Nose and Stitches

U Tip: Characterized by the Round Nose and Stitches
U tips are held together by a curved seam running the perimeter of the toe cap. Many are derbies, and because they’re flexible and comfortable, they’re often taken golfing or to other sporting events.
U tips have also inched their way onto the business scene, though we’d avoid wearing them on formal occasions.

Slip ons: Characterized by Their Lack of Fastenings

Slip ons: Characterized by Their Lack of Fastenings
There’s no laces and no buckles to contend with. You slip the shoes on and you slip the shoes off. They’re convenient but not formal.

Looking to Fill out the Rest of your Wardrobe?

Looking to Fill out the Rest of your Wardrobe?
So now you know what to put on your feet, but what about the rest of you? Ever consider trying a clothing subscription box? Learn more below.

Summary

We rounded up members from our editing department, purchased the 14 most popular Japanese business shoes, and tested them all.
We have oxfords and derbies, high-end and budget picks, shoes that function like sneakers and shoes that function like rainboots. All that’s left is for you to figure out your preferences, and choose the pair that fits you best.
Original by Ryutaro Hayashi; Translation by Jasmine Li

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