Top 14 Best Japanese Business Shoes to Buy Online 2019 – Tried and True!

Top 15 Best Japanese Business Shoes to Buy Online 2019 - 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.

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

Moonstar Business Shoes SPH4610Moonstar Business Shoes SPH4610

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Price: $69.37

The Most Balanced Pair: Carefully Juggles Quality, Comfort, and Price

The leather used for the upper was sturdier than the price tag would suggest, and the needlework was clean and tight. Even when we split the shoe in half, it retained its shape.

The material was breathable, and the shoes felt nice and cool to wear. They were comfortable to walk around in, even though we hadn’t broken them in yet. The soles were grippy and didn’t skid on wet surfaces. Sticklers for the classics may find the design a bit too sharp and modern, but overall, this is a pair that skillfully juggles looks, price, comfort, and quality.

Japanese バランスワークス ビジネスシューズ SPH4610 Type Plain Toe, Derby
Available Colors Black, Dark Brown Craftsmanship A+
Material A+ Comfort A
Water Resistance A Overall Score A+

2. REGAL Business Shoes Plain Toe JU13 AH3

REGAL Business Shoes Plain Toe JU13AH3REGAL Business Shoes Plain Toe JU13AH3

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Price: $183.12

The Best Craftsmanship: Sturdy Build, Grippy Soles, Comfortable Lining

These shoes are nothing if not sturdy. You can even see how thick and structured the leather is. Even after we cut one in half, nothing caved in. Every last material was carefully picked out and painstakingly worked in. There was, for example, not a single wrinkle in the inner lining, which translated into comfort and made the shoes easy to slip in and out of.

The soles were grippy enough for snow-covered roads, though they did wear a bit quickly. They were also a bit heavy, which could translate into fatigue over a long commute. The heels were smaller than average, which let them fit snug and comfortable against the backs of our feet. There was no rubbing or chafing; the shoes moved just as we did.

Japanese リーガル メンズ ビジネスシューズ JU13 AH3 Type Plain Toe, Derby
Available Colors Black Craftsmanship A+
Material B Comfort A
Water Resistance A+ Overall Score A

3. TEXCY LUXE Leather Business Shoes TU-7774

TEXCY LUXE Leather Business Shoes TU-7774TEXCY LUXE Leather Business Shoes TU-7774

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Price: $59.30

The Best Budget Oxford: Sturdy Build and Comfortable Material that Belies the Price

The upper was bovine leather and had a bit of texture to it. Inside, the shoes featured cup insoles for support and moisture-absorbing midsoles. When we cut it in half, we discovered that the materials were quite durable. We liked how thick the ankle collar was, how unlikely it was to collapse. It was also comfortable to wear, earning high scores all across the board.

While we could see places where this pair fell short–the left and right shoe weren’t completely symmetrical and the soles bent out of shape–you won’t find a better budget pair anywhere. If work takes you into terrain that could ruin expensive shoes or you simply aren’t in a position to spend upwards of $100, then TEXCY LUXE is your best bet.

Japanese テクシーリュクス ビジネスシューズ 本革 TU-7774 Type Punched Cap Toe, Oxford
Available Colors Black, Brown Craftsmanship A
Material A+ Comfort A
Water Resistance A Overall Score A

4. Tsukin Kaiso Business Shoes GORE-TEX TK3309

Tsukin Kaiso Business Shoes GORE-TEX TK3309Tsukin Kaiso Business Shoes GORE-TEX TK3309

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Price: $168.07

The Best for Humid Treks: The Most Lightweight, Breathable, and Waterproof Shoes We Tested

These shoes featured GORE-TEX, a waterproof technology. Not only did the material repel every last droplet of water, it was lightweight and breathable. We wore these shoes for hours during testing, but not once did our feet feel sweaty or stuffy.

The finish of the leather was bit matte–another one of the side effects of GORE-TEX, apparently. The seams were neat. However, the soles were thick and heavy, which made the shoes just a bit tiring to walk in. They also weren’t completely slip-proof.

Japanese 通勤快足ビジネスシューズ ゴアテックス TK3309 Type Straight Tip, Oxford
Available Colors Black, Brown Craftsmanship A+
Material B Comfort A
Water Resistance A Overall Score A

5. Rinescante Valentiano Business Shoes TB3023

Rinescante Valentiano Business Shoes TB3023Rinescante Valentiano Business Shoes TB3023

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Price: $71.42

The Best Budget Derby: Craftsmanship and Comfort Worth Well More Than $100

We liked the way the leather balanced shine and softness. The stitching was neat, inside and out, and the interior of the shoe was smooth. When we cut the shoe in half, we saw that all materials were chosen for their durability.

We took the shoes out for a walk, where it earned high scores for its comfort, breathability, and slip-resistance. However, we could kind of feel the ground through the soles, which were thin. We worried they’d wear out relatively quickly. Still, overall, these shoes were of an incredibly quality for the price point.

Japanese リナシャンテバレンチノ ビジネスシューズ TB3023 Type Plain Toe, Derby
Available Colors Black, Dark Brown Craftsmanship A+
Material B Comfort B
Water Resistance A Overall Score B

6. Balance Works Business Shoes SPH4601

Balance Works Business Shoes SPH4601Balance Works Business Shoes SPH4601

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Price: $61.26

Worth Buying: More than Enough Comfort and Lightness for the Price

These shoes were soft and light. They were easy to walk long distances in and slip-resistant. When we cut the shoe in half, we learned that the materials for the lining, midsole, and insole were chosen for comfort. The ankle collar was also well padded and cleverly designed.

We did see some rushed work; the left and right shoes weren’t perfect symmetrical (the toe cap, for example, was skewed). Our socks also came out of the tub damp, so while the shoes could be called water-resistant, they certainly weren’t waterproof.

Japanese バランスワークス ビジネスシューズ SPH4601 Type Straight Tip, Oxford
Available Colors Black Craftsmanship A
Material A Comfort B
Water Resistance A Overall Score B

7. KENFORD Business Shoes Straight Tip KB48AJ

KENFORD Business Shoes Straight Tip KB48AJKENFORD Business Shoes Straight Tip KB48AJ

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Price: $76.64

Worth Buying: Clever Design that Cuts Costs Where It Can and Exhibits Quality Where It Can’t

KENFORD is Regal’s brother brand. This pair of shoes had a showier design, featuring a sleek profile and long nose. The stitching was clean and the lining was made of leather. Dissecting the shoe, we saw that while the materials used were mainly thin, the designers were careful to go thicker and sturdier where it counted, like the front half of the midsole.

These shoes were light and fit well, making for a comfortable walk. It was corrected grain leather, which is relatively easy to care for but doesn’t age as gracefully as full grain leather.

Japanese ケンフォード ビジネスシューズ ストレートチップ KB48AJ Type Straight Tip, Oxford
Available Colors Black Craftsmanship A
Material B Comfort A
Water Resistance A Overall Score B

8. Hydro-Tech Business Shoes Black Collection HD1362

Hydro-Tech Business Shoes Black CollectionHydro-Tech Business Shoes Black Collection

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Price: $78.12

Worth Buying: May Not Look Like Much, but at Least They Work

The needlework was a bit messy, but the lining, midsole, and insole were well thought out. The outersole was thick and the shoe was overall designed to absorb as much impact as possible, making it comfortable to walk in. It was also breathable and earned an A+ for water-resistance.

The upper was synthetic leather and did look a bit plasticky. But if you’re just looking for a pair of shoes that work, then hey.

Japanese ハイドロテック ビジネスシューズ HD1362 Type Plain Toe,  Derby
Available Colors Black Craftsmanship A
Material B Comfort A+
Water Resistance B Overall Score B

9. Jo Marino Leather Business Shoes

Jo Marino Leather Business Shoes Jo Marino Leather Business Shoes 

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Price: $41.20

Caveat Emptor: Will Work When the Weather’s Fine

These were comfortable enough to walk in on a normal day, but good luck when it rains. The soles slipped easily. We could feel the cold as soon as we dipped our shod foot into the water, and at the end of five minutes, our socks were drenched.

Craftsmanship was poor, and that became even more apparent when we cut the shoe open. The cup insole was of an awkward thickness. The leather upper smelled of chemicals. The stitches were all of different lengths.

Japanese ジョーマリノ 本革 メンズ ビジネスシューズ Type Straight Tip, Oxford
Available Colors Black, Brown Craftsmanship B
Material D Comfort D
Water Resistance B Overall Score C

10. Arno Mens Business Shoes

Arno Mens Business ShoesArno Mens Business Shoes

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Price: $133.52

Doesn’t Make the Cut: Unsteady Shoes for a Shocking Price

The soles were synthetic rubber with a kind of wooden heel attached. It was poorly made and you can see in the picture that the heel doesn’t really reach the floor. The shoe slipped easily. And even though it was light, this pair was unstable and overall tiring to walk in.

When we cut it open, we saw the the materials were roughly sewn together. The price and brand name may suggest class, but don’t be fooled.

Japanese Arno メンズビジネスシューズ Type Straight Tip, Oxford
Available Colors Black, Brown, Matte Black Craftsmanship C
Material C Comfort C
Water Resistance B Overall Score C

11. Kobe Liberal Business Shoes LB209

Kobe Liberal Business Shoes LB209Kobe Liberal Business Shoes LB209

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Price: $27.39

Doesn’t Make the Cut: Flimsy Materials, Stuffy Shoe

The upper was made of faux leather. It didn’t mold well to feet and felt stuffy. The soles were light but flimsy and cheap. Slip-resistance and comfort were both rated at a D.

When we sliced the shoe in half, we saw that the front half of the insole and midsole were thin. There was very little padding, and the shoe looked like it would wear down within months. The left and right shoe were also asymmetrical.

Japanese 神戸リベラル ビジネスシューズ LB209 Type Straight Tip, Derby
Available Colors Black, Brown, Dark Brown Craftsmanship B
Material D Comfort D
Water Resistance D Overall Score D

12. ZEENO Business Shoes Heel Up

ZEENO Business Shoes Heel UpZEENO Business Shoes Heel Up

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Doesn’t Make the Cut: Showy on the Outside, Cheap on the Inside

We were shocked at how different the front half and back half of the shoe were. The materials used for the lining, the thickness of the midsole, the shape of the insole… That’s going to translate into pain after a long day of walking.

Outside, the shoe was just showy. The faux leather actually didn’t look half bad and the stitching was even. However, we felt that the high heel and perky nose gave the design a frivolous air.

Japanese ZEENO ビジネスシューズ ヒールアップ Type Plain Toe, Derby
Available Colors Black, Brown, Dark Brown Craftsmanship C
Material D Comfort D
Water Resistance D Overall Score D

13. Visionreast Business Shoes Derby

Visionreast Business Shoe BlucherVisionreast Business Shoes Derby

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Price: $36.51

Doesn’t Make the Cut: Cheap Materials Thrown Together by Shoddy Craftsmanship

The soles and uppers were glued together. The materials were too flimsy to offer much support. The cup insole was nothing more than a decorative accent. And there were plenty of discrepancies between the left shoe and the right shoe.

Japanese Visionreast ビジネスシューズ 外羽根 Type Plain Toe, Derby
Available Colors Black, Brown Craftsmanship C
Material D Comfort B
Water Resistance D Overall Score D

14. AAA+ Business Shoes Long Nose

AAA+ Business Shoes Long NoseAAA+ Business Shoes Long Nose

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Price: $22.88

Doesn’t Make the Cut: So Uncomfortable, You’ll be Relieved when It Falls Apart

The faux leather was as shiny as plastic. Inside, the shoe was just thin, thin, thin. It was light, sure, but there was zero support and it looked ready to fall apart at any moment. The midsole and innersole also didn’t lie flat, and they kept digging into our feet.

Japanese AAA+ ビジネスシューズ ロングノーズ Type Straight Tip, Derby
Available Colors Black, Light Brown, Dark Brown Craftsmanship C
Material D Comfort D
Water Resistance D Overall Score D

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

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

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

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

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 best; 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 Design, 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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    For a lot of people, their travel bag of choice is a backpack. But let’s be honest, they’re not the best for some situations. They can be hard to get things from, not always the most professional looking, and sometimes even unsafe since you can’t see what’s going on behind your back. In reality, messenger bags can often be much more practical for travel. Messenger bags are easy to find, but not all of them are cut out for travel. In this guide, we’ll talk about the different factors you should consider when deciding which messenger bag to use while traveling. At the end, we also have a list of our 10 favorites to help you get started on your search. How to Choose a Travel Messenger Bag – Buying Guide When it comes to deciding on a bag, the most important factor is your own needs. So before thinking about the bag, consider where you tend to travel, how much walking you do, and how much stuff you like to have on hand. When Deciding on Size, Consider Air Travel Restrictions and Daily Conv

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    You’d think gel pens would be straightforward. But in Japan, where stationery makers are all vying for the top spot in a heated market, even the smallest improvement in design and the faintest sparkling of genius can make a difference. And wouldn’t you, the stationery buff, like to know what gel pens are currently the most prized in Japan? So this time around, we ordered the 15 most popular gel pens from Japan’s e-commerce giants (such as Amazon, Rakuten, and kakaku.com) and tested for the following: How the Grip Felt Balance The Color, Feel, and Depth of the Ink How the Nib Felt against Paper Fastness of the Ink Design This is how we tested and found the most exceptional Japanese gel pens. How to Choose a Japanese Gel Pen – Buying Guide We’ll get into how we tested and compared all the gel pens, but before that, we want to introduce four things you should look out for when picking out a gel pen. ① Get a Pen that Feels Good to Hold To find a gel pen you can write comfortably w

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