Before becoming a shoemaker, Josh Leong always knew that he wanted to create a product that was not only built to last, but would develop a unique character and become more beautiful over time.
His journey as a leather craftsman started out as a hobby, buying pieces of scrap leather from leather wholesalers who supplied furniture factories in Singapore and turning them into hand-stitched wallets, pouches and bags.
Keen to take his hobby and turn it into a full-time profession, Josh moved to Florence, Italy, to further hone his craft by learning from master leather craftsmen there.
While staying in Florence, there was an opportunity to learn shoemaking from an Italian master shoemaker named Angelo Imperatrice, and Josh decided to take the chance to try out a different type of leathercraft.
Little did Josh know that in shoemaking would he find his ultimate passion and obsession. As he delved deeper into the craft of traditional, hand-welted leather shoes, Josh knew that he had found the right product.
After completing his initial apprenticeship with Angelo, Josh was eager to continue refining his shoemaking skills and moved on to do a second apprenticeship at Stefano Bemer, one of the top bespoke shoemaking brands in the world.
Over there, he was mentored by master shoemaker Kumiko Imata, who taught him the finer details of bespoke shoemaking, as well as how to take measurements of feet and last making.
The brand "Josh Leong" was established in 2015, when Josh returned to Singapore after completing his shoemaking training in Italy.
Every pair of shoes that carries the "Josh Leong" brand is made using only premium leather imported from France, Italy and Germany, and no synthetic components are used in any part of the shoe. Since the shoes are made from only natural materials, the wearers' feet are able to "breathe", and the leather moulds around the feet, becoming more and more comfortable with each wear.
Josh uses traditional, Italian shoemaking techniques of lasting the shoes by hand, welting by hand, and stitching the outsoles by hand as well. While this means that each pair of shoes takes much longer to make, it guarantees that the shoes will last many years down the road, and can easily be re-soled when necessary.