Publisher: Marin Planning Co. Ltd.

Producer: Kawase Shin (Office Kawase)

Date Published: April, 2004

Apparently, if you want to start an influential, successful and enduring sneaker magazine, make sure that your first cover sports a pair of Air Force 1’s. Just two years after Sneaker Freaker blessed their own inaugural issue with a pair of AF1’s (the Chinese Year of the Horse pair from 2002), SHOES MASTER chose the black AF1 HTM Crocodile’s to grace their premier cover. It would be another 10 years before the legendary AF1’s adorned a SHOES MASTER cover again.

Clean, large, obsessively oriented, fantastically diverse, and above all else exuding a palpable passion for sneakers and sneaker culture, SHOES MASTER is every bit as fanatically researched and obsessively documented as it’s geographical neighbor, Sneaker Freaker (in fact in this issue, a small segment entitled NEWS MASTER on page 69 notes, “it is not only Japan that is crazy about sneakers…”Sneaker Freaker” born in Melbourne, introducing the latest sneakers circumstances with a hip design…a must see”*). There are design aspects of this first issue that are no longer present: a sneaker covering the O on the title (in this case the Nike Dunk SB High ‘For Love or Money’/FLOM designed by Futura and limited to 24 F&F pairs), an embossed and glossy cover; and content aspects that endure nearly 13 years later: the impeccably laid out shoe catalog at the end that documents each pair within the issue, along with side on and overhead views.

Sneakerature’s Take: It’s a testament to the quality and significance of SHOES MASTER that the shoe that graces the cover, which only 1506 pairs were released of worldwide, is significantly easier to get your hands on than this issue. While written almost entirely in Japanese (with English interspersed throughout), SHOES MASTER speaks the language of sneakers with a level of fluency and degree of clarity that allows even the most sneaker-challenged of readers to understand the nuanced beauty laid bare on the pages.

SHOES MASTER is published twice per year (end of March and end of September). While SHOES MASTER Volume 1 isn’t currently available, it will occasionally pop up for sale on eBay or Yahoo Japan Auctions (here at Sneakerature we use Jauce for our Yahoo Japan purchases). Head to SHOES MASTER (and click “Information”) to see which issues are currently available for purchase.

*Translated using Google Translate App. for iPhone