Affordable, durable style – handmade leather Shoes by Oringo
20th July 2021
When it comes to men’s leather shoes, most people think of British or Italian brands. But, Taiwanese brand Oringo has been dedicated to producing affordable and stylish handmade leather men’s footwear for 15 years.
Transforming manufacturers to brands
“In fact, Taiwan has a long history in shoe-making,” says Oringo founder Ringo Tseng.
“My mom used to work in this business, and her first task was to produce elastic bands. After production experiences, she started her own stores. She has quite a reputation in the industry. I didn’t think about making shoes in the past. However, when I heard shoemakers complained about high wages and low margins to my mom, I actually had solutions in mind. That’s how I started to get involved. By solutions, I mean building footwear brands in Taiwan.”
It takes particular skills to transform manufacturers into brands. As Tseng studied cultural heritage at school, he set about changing the perceptions about Taiwanese shoes with a cultural approach. “It’s not enough to highlight the country of origin,” says Tseng. “We need intangible services and cultural factors to elevate brand values. Besides affordability, it needs development to ensure a premium identity.”
His developments are rooted in a solid foundation, and extended from four major types: Oxfords, Derbys, Loafers, and Monks. During the production process, Oringo pays extra attention to shoe lasts.
Details contribute to great shoes
“Shoe lasts make or break a pair of shoes,” Tseng emphasizes. “Without good lasts, shoes wear down fairly quickly. After we make a prototype each time, I wear it personally again and again. Lasts influence the appearance and comfort. A pair of shoes with good lasts will fit your feet better over time.” Oringo takes shoe last development very seriously, says brand director Gary Gao, and it can take three to six months each time, or even longer.
Besides shoe lasts, Oringo certainly cares a lot about leather for their handmade brand, mostly cowhide, but also goat leather. “We tried sheepskin at the beginning. However, people in Taipei are more often in a rush, and sheepskin is more vulnerable. That’s why we gradually shift to cowhide.”
Cowhide is further divided into categories based on age and process. Baby calf is softer, and the cattle is stronger. Chrome tanned leather is softer and lighter, while vegetable tanned leather is harder and stronger. Pull-up leather is more consistent in its color, while it is easier to deliver vintage texture with waxy leather.
For different materials and customer preferences, Oringo also recommends different leather care oils. And to attend to the details, Oringo designs leather belts, accessories and slippers. But above all, it is committed to making good shoes to keep the gentlemen of Taiwan company on their journeys.