Find a shoe paradise for men at Leather Soul

If the world is your stomping ground, better make sure every step counts. Despite the value of accomplishment, there’s no doubt that a well-made pair of shoes still has the power to define, instantly communicating to others attributes of affluence, impeccable style, knowledge of tradition and self-worth.

Tom Park grew up with a passion for trendy kicks, and while he knew little about dress shoes when he started working at a men’s luxury boutique, he became a shoe snob the second he tried on his first hand-made pair.

“You instantly notice the difference,” he said. “You’ll look like a million dollars and feel the comfort. A great pair of shoes can make a man’s wardrobe and will last a lifetime.”

Trips to the Alden Shoe Co. in Massachusetts further instilled in him an appreciation for the high-quality welted shoemaking tradition the company has continued since its founding in 1884. As “the last true American-made shoe factory,” Park said, Alden was part of a New England shoe industry that flourished until the 20th century’s mass production won over price-conscious consumers.

Knowing quality never goes out of style, Park opened Leather Soul in downtown Honolulu in 2004 to cater to discerning CEOs, lawyers and others looking for shoes from Alden, Edward Green, J.M. Weston and Paraboot.

His success led him to move into a premier space in the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center in January, where he could also address the demands of visiting Japanese buyers seeking quality craftsmanship for less than it costs in Japan. A pair of shoes that costs $350 to $600 at Leather Soul costs $700 to $1,000 in Japan.

“Those who can afford them in Japan come here and buy two or three pairs, and those who can’t are able to afford something they can’t get at home,” said Park, who also has moved into the realm of customized shoes to give clientele styles with the rare quality of being both traditional and unique.

Leather Soul is staffed by individuals who share Park’s enthusiasm and knowledge, who are able to guide new clients to footwear best suited for their lifestyle’s demands.

It’s not hard to win converts.

“Once I get a person to try them on and see what goes into a well-made shoe, I’ve got a customer for life,” Park said.

Leather Soul
Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center
Call 922-0777