Dominic Scott

Noriko Onozaki

After graduating from University, Noriko worked in management consulting, helping her clients launch successful businesses and improve business practices. In April 2005 with her father’s sudden death, Noriko quit her consulting job to take on the position of CEO for AXT Company, Inc.

Using her intuition and experience in footwear and her customers’ feet, Noriko focused on helping women understand the importance of connecting shoes, feet, and walking. She deepened her research on how to link these foundational aspects of footwear and realized that “if you simply stare at how shoes look, you never find the best shoes that fit your feet.”

At Xesole, Noriko has established a team of shoe craftspeople with over 180 years of combined experience: two of her craftspeople have over 60 years of experience each; and two more have over 30 years of experience. Each craftsperson focuses on a unique aspect of shoemaking — such as crafting wooden shoe molds, paper pattern making, cutting and stitching, and finishing.

Noriko and her team look forward to using their skills and experience to create the unique footwear and sneakers that comprise the Xesole line of sneakers. She is confident that Xesole can provide you with the best solution for a fashionable yet highly functional pair of kimono sneakers.

Noriko’s Accolades

  • Third Generation Footwear Executive
  • Managing a 4-person shoe craftsman team with over 180 years of experience

  • Production of over 60,000 pairs of custom shoes

About the Xesole Sneakers PROJECT

The Xesole PROJECT incorporates Japanese culture with modern technology to bring to the world the art of traditional Tokyo style of shoe making. High-quality, traditional costumes with beautiful images expressing Japanese flowers and birds – that’s the kimono. An original Japanese production, technology-backed day-to-day efforts, and real shoemaker CRAFTSMANSHIP.

The “Xesole ~ KIMONO Sneaker” was born and created by merging Japan’s proud traditions with the ever-evolving modern times.

(The Rebirth of) Japanese Cultural Significance and Tradition

Kimono`s are made of pure silk making the material very durable as a shoe providing exceptional balance, protection, and support. The cultural style of the kimono and material use is expanding in multiple ways, such as face and hand towels, diapers, handkerchief, and other various designs. It is the “must-have” spirit that has been in Japan since ancient times, which has naturally captured and holds a sustainable coexistence with nature.

21st Century Xesole

The era of mass industrial production and mass consumption has had an immense effect on the quality and the way we value products.

Xesole revives traditional Japanese crafts with contemporary design and craftsmanship of the next generation, linking Japanese culture with the reshaping of fashion in the 21st century.

We consider the “Xesole ~ KIMONO Sneaker” as a gem that, through traditional Japanese culture and values, will enrich the lives of all people.

A marketing concept known as “Cool (Japan)” has been adopted by the Japanese government and trade commission, which exploits it as a significant standard that requires global compliance with the development goals of the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations, and there is no other material more suitable than the Kimono.


Company Background

AxT Inc., the parent company of Xesole, has been in business in Asakusa, Tokyo for 60 years supporting not only people’s feet but body beginning with shoes + shoe accessories; and through an integral system of planning, manufacturing, wholesale, retail, and salon management.

Xesole was born 60 years later and was passed down like a baton through three generations. This is Noriko Onozaki, the founder of Xesole and this is my story until establishing this very special Xesole Kimono sneaker brand.

Founded in 1951, my grandfather died in the war leaving behind three children of elementary school age, leaving my grandmother with the burden of caring for the children and the daily housework – not an easy task. My grandmother consulted with a kind businessman in the neighborhood, who advised her that sincemy grandmother had children to feed, it’ is better to do the work/run the business herself rather than to be hired. So, she began carrying the product in the trunk of her car while learning about the wholesale business of shoe heels through an acquaintance also in the heel business. Since my grandmother worked all day long, the Great-grandmother took care of the children while teaching dressmaking. In the meantime, my father had hoped to work at a bank after he graduated from a university, however it was difficult being hired by a bank as a single parent So instead he worked for an electrical company for about 5 years before getting himself into the shoe business.

Realizing that wholesale would not cut it on its own, we shifted from wholesale to manufacturing, and our knowledge of science/machinery was useful, so we set up a factory in Matsudo City, Chiba Prefecture.

It was said that there were 118 pieces of a shoe to make, which is the same number of worldly desires. By increasing the number of wholesale (shoe) pieces towards 118, we quickly became recognized as the shoe sole manufacturer.

As our current (3rd generation) president, Noriko came from a management consulting background. She inherited the business due to the sudden death of the 2nd generation president, my father; however the timing wasn’t right, and she had to endure wearing two hats for about three years.
She has never come across shoes that fit her feet, so she rationally stepped into the industry realizing that “shoes on their own (only) are not a solution”.

What Noriko felt was necessary to “wearing shoes and walking comfortably” and to study everything from anatomical physiology, foot acupoints, treatment, walking, etc. Based on the decision and progress, we turned our focus to women’s feet/shoes. We then shifted, this time to retail fixating our efforts on high-quality custom-made women’s shoes and shoe salons. Through salon style operations, we have completed a system where we can handle everything, including shoe parts manufacturing/shoe planning wholesale/manufacturing/retailing and service delivery.

Xesole was born from the fusion of Japan’s proud tradition with the ever-changing modern era.

Our Strengths

Our strengths are not only the precise and elaborate Japanese-style Made in Japan shoe through skilled manufacturing techniques; we also operate a custom-made shoe salon as a mechanism for collecting foot data of modern women that is shared with our factory on a daily basis. Wooden molds are made from the collected data of modern people’s foot information.

Through analyzation of the data characteristics and trends Xesole`s wooden molds patterns allow for best choice of size, after which an entrusted craftsman will carefully tailor shoes for delivery.

Since its opening in 2010, we have measured 4,000 feet (pedocard) and custom made 12,000 pairs of shoes. As more and more women have difficulty finding the right shoes plus trouble with their feet/walking, the salon is gaining popularity with an ever-increasing number of reservations.

Xesole- “Shoes, Feet, and Walk Research Institute” (Handcrafted Shoe Manufacture) is located in Nihonbashi, Tokyo

Xesole believes that “building a body starts with the right shoes,” We focus on connecting feet, shoes, and walking styles to better understand how women suffer from foot problems. Our research leads to the development of women’s custom shoes that match and promote the relationship between the body and the importance of comfort through customization. “You can`t find the right shoes to fit your feet just by looks or style.” Many women are aware of this truth for the simple reason that feet are the protagonist, not your shoes.

As the foot is the axis, we use three revolutionary concepts to provide the right shoes for your feet. Research and development, handcrafted shoe making, and advice based on data analysis from wood molds, resulting in a proper fitting shoe which enables you to walk properly.

At the headquarters factory, we follow the tradition of shoemaking and continue doing research and development. The salon deals with custom-made shoes and soles, plus foot counseling, taping, walking lessons, etc. to make it practical for women to find the right shoes. We provide effective services such as “Shoes Training ®” to help you balance your body wearing shoes.

It may seem unbelievable at first, but shoes that fit your feet well will balance your body surprisingly quickly. In an unprecedented format with tradition and innovation, we use shoes as a platform to prepare the entire body.

Partner Salons are expanding to 13 stores across the country.

Wouldn’t you like to experience a change of shoes?

Japanese kimono

Finest Sneakers

Japanese kimonos are made of pure silk with beautiful images that make each design unique. This is the heart of each pair of Xesole sneakers.

Japanese sneakers

Handmade Sneakers

Each shoe is handmade by experienced Japanese craftsmen. An expression of art, we blend the beauty of the kimono with the elegance of fine footwear.

Japanese sneakers

Unique Style

Unlike any other sneaker, Xesole combines the tradition of the Japanese kimono to bring you an elegant style that makes a unique fashion statement.