Lake Distributor, Japan
Cycling is popular in Japan, but... as a country with very little cycling infrastructure, it could be more so. However, thanks to people like Satoshi, our Lake distribution partner, it’s growing all the time, in the land of the famed track event – Keirin.
Japan is a sporting-mad nation, who believe in fitness and a healthy way of life. They also like things to be just right and efficient; to do the job that they’re intended – which is why the growing Japanese cycling community love Lake cycling shoes. When you consider that Keirin is almost a religion in Japan, then you get an understanding how cycling fits into their culture and sporting lives, and how we at Lake have a role to play in helping Satoshi and others to spread the cycling love in the land of the Rising Sun.
A Belief in Excellence
Satoshi has a long background in sports and cycling, having worked globally at Trek for many years, leading their brand development in Japan. He recalls being in the Trek offices in the States on one occasion, and listening to a product development manager, talking about their own shoe development. When Satoshi asked this person what their goal was, they replied ‘to design a shoe as good as Lake’ - some praise indeed, and Satoshi says that it was this industry-wide recognition of Lake cycling shoe excellence, that convinced him to join the Lake family.
Speaking with my Lake colleague about the general thoughts of the Japanese cyclists, he informs me that the number one factor for his customers is the wide number of ‘shoe lasts’ used by Lake in our road cycling shoes and off-road cycling shoes; this gives the cyclists in this country of technical excellence, the best range of cycle shoe widths in the cycle industry – choice. Next on the list says Satoshi, is the materials used in our Lake cycling shoes. For example, he points out the synthetic fabrics and faux leather, used by many of our competitors, producing what Satoshi says are ‘wooden shoes’, with no flexibility around the foot, causing restriction and discomfort.
Conversely, he says, the Japanese cyclists simply love the Lake Kangaroo leather shoes, for their lightness and form fitting properties. Yes, the natural materials of our Lake cycling shoes have been meticulously researched by Hutch, our chief designer. This is not only for their lightness, but is also due to the technical properties that they bring to a high-performance cycling shoe – to the best cycling shoes in the world.
The Most Popular Lake shoe in Japan
Satoshi travels the length and breadth of Japan, attending shows, stores and cycling events, to show the growing Japanese cycling community the excellence of Lake cycling shoes. His in-house fitting sessions are hugely popular, and he concentrates not on style, but in simply ensuring that all riders go away with model that fits them, often in the regular Lake colourway designs. Once they’ve been using their first pair of legendary Lake cycling shoe comfort and fit for a while, and reaped the benefits, many of them come back for a more detailed shoe, also taking advantage of the Lake cycling shoe, custom shoe program.
The most popular shoe with Japanese cycling shoe customers is our Lake CX 332 road cycling shoe; with one of the bestselling points being the lightness and the Kangaroo leather. Satoshi is clear in his opinion, that once people put their feet into a Lake cycling shoe, they immediately know how good the fit is. Japan, being one of the most e-savvy countries on the planet, has a huge social media presence; and it’s this, along with the positive thoughts and colourful posts of their new Lake cycling shoes that is helping to grow the Lake brand in Japan.
Custom Shoe Programme
The Lake custom programme is as unique as you are and is extremely popular in Japan. As Satoshi himself says, we’re the only cycling shoe brand in the world that offers such a wide variety of custom options – including being able to have individually sized shoes for each foot. The real beauty of custom program though, is that you can choose the upper material yourself too. You take can choose cow leather, kangaroo leather or microfiber, and, as I say, different sizes left and right – nobody else does this, and it has a direct positive effect on your cycling performance.
And, when you’ve put so much effort into building your own custom bike, choosing the best high-performance cycle clothing in the world, matched your helmet and bidon's too – then, why not match your shoes too!
Unrivaled Form & Fit
We always strive for excellence in design, performance, form and fit here at Lake cycling shoes; and these are traits that match the Japanese culture. With people like Satoshi on our team, we’re confident that we can continue to help the growing cycling community in the Land of the Rising Sun, to more comfortable cycling adventures – wrapped in our legendary Lake comfort and benefitting from a perfect balance between form and fit. If you’ve not yet worn a Lake cycling shoe on your own feet, ask yourself ‘why’, and get yourself along to one of our global Lake cycling shoe partners – your feet deserve it!