Cobbler Shun Hirose operates RECOUTURE, a Tokyo-based atelier producing one-of-a-kind sole-swapped sneakers.

Hirose explained the evolution of his unique business to Highsnobiety by noting, “My job at RECOUTURE is mainly to repair soles, which is basically what I’ve been doing since the beginning of my career. At one point, I realized that repairing is closely tied with customization as well.” Hirose likes to come up with specific customization ideas for certain customers, who often bring their own new ideas or requests to the shop as well. “Meeting customers with incredible ideas allows me to discover something new,” he explains.

By upcycling sneakers with new soles and imbuing them with new life, Hirose also drastically changes the look of each pair, defining his own hybrid aesthetic in the process. The RECOUTURE website shows many of the custom creations that Hirose has conjured up over time, including Vans Slip-Ons fitted with a Vibram shark tooth sole, or the upper of a Reebok Insta Pump Fury saddled on a hefty lugged sole. Hirose makes no secret of his Vibram obsession either, “I would love to use some certain Vibram soles which are not yet sold in Japan, and Dr. Marten’s soles as well. I literally get so excited just talking about soles!”

To stay updated on everything happening in the sneaker world, follow @Highsnobietysneakers on Instagram, check our sneaker release date calendar and subscribe to our sneaker chatbot on Facebook to receive lightning quick updates to your inbox.

Vancouver-born, Berlin-based writer, photographer and editor with a steady hand on the keyboard.