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Found In My Basement: Fujita Professional Racer Shoes

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Found In My Basement: Fujita Professional Racer Shoes

Old 07-26-20, 02:30 PM
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Found In My Basement: Fujita Professional Racer Shoes

These shoes have been kicking around my abodes for 40yrs now. I bought two pair in '80 when I worked at Fuji Cycle Center of NJ, where the previous owner, Ken Moriya, brought in a bunch of interesting stuff from Japan. Ken concurrently was President of Fuji America, sold the store in '78 or '79 to my friend/employer when Fuji really started to grow.

They don't appear in Fuji Accessories section of any of the early US catalogs I have.

I wore this brown pair once or twice, there's some very light pedal scrape on the bottom, but they certainly haven't seen much asphalt.

The second pair were a dark green, and I screwed/nailed Cinelli M71 cleats on those and rode with them. Haven't seen them in decades, I'm guessing they got lost or tossed during moves.

I'm not a leather expert, I thought these were referred to as Nubuck leather, though most of the Nubuck leather I see when googling doesn't have a pattern like these.

Nubuck/maybe uppers, leather soles/heels, small patch of leather nailed both to the toe section and heel to minimize wear, I suppose.

The tongue is sewn in one side, so it's difficult to mis-position when putting them on.

The laces are some kind of vinyl/plastic. I'm not a shoe guy, but that always seemed weird to me. They're pretty stretchy, and if you didn't tie the knot down really tight, it loosened up pretty easily. I can't remember if I replaced the laces in the green pair, but I'm guessing I did.

They were small on my 20yr-old feet, but I thought they were cool enough that I put up with some foot pain before they stretched out enough to be comfy. I wouldn't even try to force my old-man, flattened/widened aged feet in these.

Wish the green pair would turn up.

More pix at the top of this album:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/263834...57698767908634
Fujita Racer Shoes - Soles

Fujita Racer Shoes - Inner

Fujita Racer Shoes
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Old 07-26-20, 02:36 PM
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They look awesome!
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Old 07-26-20, 02:56 PM
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Very nice, it's nice to find things that have been stored/forgotten about....Bring em in to a shoe repair for a good pre-stretch wear them with style!
Ben

Last edited by xiaoman1; 07-26-20 at 03:15 PM.
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Old 07-26-20, 02:59 PM
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Fashionable! These practically look like those $1,000 designer shoes you see nowadays. Wear ‘em on the ride to the office and IN the office! Versatile
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Old 07-26-20, 03:05 PM
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I'll wear 'em as soon as I can figure out how to lose 40yrs and 1.5"-2" from my feets!
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Old 07-26-20, 03:16 PM
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Dang those are very cool. I've never seen anything like those shoes from that period. I think at the time the USCF still had a black shoes only policy.

As far as I have ever been able to figure out, nubuck is a fancy word for suede. Maybe there's some technical difference.
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Old 07-26-20, 04:36 PM
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-----

I'm sure you shall get a BELT out of these.


-----
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Old 07-26-20, 04:41 PM
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Originally Posted by juvela View Post
-----

I'm sure you shall get a BELT out of these.


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You keep making me fit to be tied...
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Old 07-26-20, 08:29 PM
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High Zoot!
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Old 07-27-20, 06:19 AM
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Originally Posted by thinktubes View Post
High Zoot!
Definitely! You'd be stylin' with those, Paul.
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Old 07-27-20, 06:39 AM
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Size 271/2? In centimeters about US 10.5-11 or you have an extreme shoe fit issue.
Cool shoes.
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Old 07-27-20, 07:01 AM
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Those are fantastic, plus I love that they have some provenance with Ken. I've got a set as well, size 6 US, super small! Is there anyway you'd let me share the images on my Fujita blog?

https://fujitasaddleyfc.posthaven.co...-cycling-shoes

Cheers,

Scott


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Old 07-28-20, 11:24 AM
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I'm guessing the 27.5 is some other shoe measuring scheme, and you'll notice they're also stamped with a "9."

Their green twins, same size, were very tight when my feet were size 9.5, and I was young, with a full head of hair, and full of p-ss and vinegar. Now I'm old and just have to p-ss all the time....

And my feet are bigger.

Originally Posted by dmark View Post
Size 271/2? In centimeters about US 10.5-11 or you have an extreme shoe fit issue.
Cool shoes.
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Old 07-28-20, 11:39 AM
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Hey Scott, yeah, fine to use the photos. Please just give me credit, and maybe make a note that they're not for sale.

Just saw Richard Nadler's revamped '74 Newest post on your site---he bought it from Fuji Cycle Center! That was about 2yrs before I started hanging out there, 3yrs before I started working there. Don't remember seeing him or the bike coming back into the store during my time there. I did buy the same-gen Newest used from a regular customer in maybe '81.

Going off-topic here, but do you know where he got it refinished? I still have the one I got from you, still unbuilt, wondering whether to clean her up and ride as is, or do a respray.

Originally Posted by ScottRyder View Post
Those are fantastic, plus I love that they have some provenance with Ken. I've got a set as well, size 6 US, super small! Is there anyway you'd let me share the images on my Fujita blog?

https://fujitasaddleyfc.posthaven.co...-cycling-shoes

Cheers,

Scott


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Old 07-28-20, 02:06 PM
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PCB, I've reached out to Richard about who refinished his Newest, I'll let you know when I hear back from him. Thanks for letting me share the images of the the shoes!

Scott
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Old 07-28-20, 09:28 PM
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Cool---thanks so much!
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Old 07-31-20, 12:38 PM
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I Got Green...

Update: I was looking for a handy place to stash an air conditioner filter, opened a cabinet in an upstairs room, saw a familiar-looking box, and discovered that I have a completely unused green pair of the Nubuck Professional Racer shoes as well. Which also jogged my memories a bit.

I had a total of three pair, which I think is all they had at the store. I kept the brown and green pair unused, mostly, as backup. I'm pretty sure now that the pair I actually rode, with the Cinelli M71 cleats, was another brown pair, not green. I can kinda picture them faded quite a bit, much lighter brown in tone---looking down and past them to see what gear I was in, or looking down in fear hoping I could slap the M71 release lever quick enough to get out of the pedal.

On top of the shoe box was a Fujia woven cloth tapestry thingie, with some of the iconic Kato cyclist artwork. Not sure if it was meant to be hung, as a decoration or room divider, not uncommon in Japanese retail stores, or was meant to be folded and used as a headband, also not uncommon in Japan, especially decades back. Or something else? It's got this kind of Japanese graphic weirdness where no matter which side you view it from, part of the design appears backwards. You'd think maybe that'd be some kind of guide to how it was intended to be folded or hung, but I sure can't make it work for my brain.

It's pretty stained, but I'm not sure it's something I should wash. Anybody knowledgeable about fabric care/preservation?

Also just occurred to me that I recently rediscovered my pewter Fuji belt buckles as well, one the Kato cyclist, the other William Bevington's new Fuji logo. Ben's Cycles still sells at least one of these designs, which they maybe call a reproduction? I bought one when I decided I'd never find my originals, and I think when the originals surfaced, the "repros" looked identical, even the same mfr sticker on the back. Maybe that was repro'd as well? I guess a separate thread on those...

Note to Scott: feel free to grab and use whatever images you, with credit onegai shimasu.












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Old 07-31-20, 02:50 PM
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Wow! Those are an awesome pair of cycling shoes. I can only imagine what vintage steed this green color was supposed to match. Wild but formal, quite the combination. If anyone else has a pair of vintage cycling shoes post ‘em! They remind me of a simpler time...
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Old 07-31-20, 04:36 PM
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When were you in japan? And for how long?
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Old 07-31-20, 07:45 PM
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I lived in Kyoto for a little over a year as a student, '83-'84. Then back a few years later, first in Osaka, then Kobe, from '89-'99. With Suntour '89-'90, then Trek.

Originally Posted by polymorphself View Post
When were you in japan? And for how long?
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Old 07-31-20, 08:40 PM
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Here's the original Kato Cyclist pewter belt buckle. You can see it's the same graphic on the Fujita cloth. I would have bought this buckle somewhere between '80-'81:

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Old 07-31-20, 10:18 PM
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Originally Posted by pcb View Post
I lived in Kyoto for a little over a year as a student, '83-'84. Then back a few years later, first in Osaka, then Kobe, from '89-'99. With Suntour '89-'90, then Trek.
Nice. I was in Nagoya, but only for a year, although I have visited Japan since. Guessing you speak Japanese. Do you still use it?
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Old 08-01-20, 09:26 AM
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love the shoes!
On the buckle, I have the same one. But mine was made in Wehham Mass. dates from about 1980. Question is which is the knockoff.


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Old 08-01-20, 05:42 PM
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Kato rocks! Thanks for the pix.

So I think it turns out there aren't any knockoffs. My first Kato and my Fuji buckle were bought, like yours, back around 1980. I can't remember if they were already in stock at the store, or if we had to order them from Fuji America. Both have that same sticker, John E. McCann, Wenham Mass.

My second Kato buckle came from Ben's more than 20yrs later. According to Ben's website, the buckles are New Old Stock inventory from Japan. It appears absolutely identical to my older one, including the identical sticker. It would seem like a lot of trouble to make a copy, down to the sticker, for an item that likely doesn't sell in big quantities, and doesn't sell for a lotta buck$$$. I mean, besides you and me, how many other people even know what they are? It's also very possible that some of the buckles could've wound up in Japan back then. There was probably a minimum qty to order, and some stayed in the USA, and some went to Japan.

Anyway you slice it, makes it worthwhile to search out a belt wide enough, and pants with belt loops wide enough.

Disclaimer: Ben's does not pay me any commission on the sale of these buckles.

Originally Posted by Mr. Spadoni View Post
love the shoes!
On the buckle, I have the same one. But mine was made in Wehham Mass. dates from about 1980. Question is which is the knockoff.


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Old 08-01-20, 05:49 PM
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Originally Posted by polymorphself View Post
Nice. I was in Nagoya, but only for a year, although I have visited Japan since. Guessing you speak Japanese. Do you still use it?
I'm conversationally pretty comfortable, but I don't have a very strong technical vocabulary, and my reading/writing ability is pretty poor.

My wife is Japanese, but we're pretty exclusively using English at home. So I don't use it much these days.
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