A Step By Step Guide to Shoemaking
Do you have questions about how shoes are manufactured? The shoe-making process is a lengthy and complicated one. Our shoemakers have decades of experience and expertise that they’ve gained through their dedication.
Handmade shoes go through a lengthy shoemaking process before they’re ready to be worn, as opposed to fast-fashion shoes. The number of steps in the shoe manufacturing procedure is determined by the type of shoes being manufactured. Shoes are made differently for private label manufacturers than they are for bespoke makers. What’s a good estimate? Let’s say that the process of producing one pair of shoes may take 70 steps and require up to 300 hours. Are you interested? Let’s have a look at our bespoke shoemaking process.
Step 1: Measurements & Selection of Style
The beauty of a bespoke shoe is that it should fit like a glove – or at the very least, it should! Because handmade shoes are in tune with the structure of the foot, they are quite distinctive to wear. They will mold to fit the foot’s pressure points and respect its differences in muscle density thanks to the high-quality leather used. Our Master Last-Maker begins the trip by measuring the client’s foot, and the customer chooses the shoe shape, materials, and design. After the measuring procedure is complete, a sequence of photographs and scans of the foot is taken to refer back to the intricacies of the shoe lasts that will be constructed.
Step 2: Shoe Last Making
The last comes first before the shoe manufacturing process begins. The physical foundation on which your shoes are built is known as a Shoe Last. A last is a mold that recreates a foot to provide shape to the shoe. Sculpted from wood or plastic, these are required for each left and right shoe to define its form and size. A last, on the other hand, isn’t a vague foot-shaped chunk of wood, and there are a few things to consider before making one. This involves everything from how a foot rolls as one walks to how this will impact elements like heel height. The final is inserted into the shoe near the end of the shoemaking process. It’s used one last time once the shoe is almost finished to make sure the conclusion fits with the original plan.
Step 3: Pattern Cutting & Clicking
At this stage, our Shoe Designer or Cutter takes over, having been given the measurements and the completed shoe last. The first task of the Cutter is to create a paper pattern for the style of shoe preferred by the customer. The vamp, cap, tongue, and quarters are some of the pieces in the pattern. The Cutter then cuts leather from the guide after which it will be used to make the shoe’s upper.
The Cutter, like the Last-Maker, is a highly trained individual with the ability to construct shoes on paper and convert them into the start of a bespoke shoe. His ability to evaluate the weight and pliability of leather is one of his greatest talents. Of course, its excellence is never in question! These are the individuals that know how to develop a shoe that looks good and performs well if you’re looking to start your own shoe line.
Step 4: Assembling the Shoe
The last, patterns and cut leather are given to the Closer by the Cutter. The closer is in charge of sewing the loose pieces of leather together to make up the finished uppers. The Closer will then complete the lining and any embellishments that the style of shoe demands. These might range from broguing and binding to elastics and lace holes, among other things. Like a beautiful jigsaw, the Closer pulls the upper over the last to ensure that it is correct. The completed top is then nailed into position.
Step 5: The Trial Shoe
Our shoes are now becoming more cohesive. However, before going into production, the client is given the opportunity to try on the shoes and see how they look and fit. They’ll be able to make any changes they want, such as raising the heel or altering the toe shape.
Handmade shoes require a great deal of attention to detail, so while the customer is wearing the shoe, the Master Last-Maker makes final measurements. He’ll also make cuts to ensure that the shoe isn’t causing the foot undue strain. Comfort is essential, therefore this technique allows the craftsman to make any changes in size, however little they may.
Step 6: Final Craftsmanship
Then the bespoke shoes go on to the master craftsman’s. The toe and heel stiffeners will be added, as well as the insole being molded to the bottom of the last. The maker will follow the steps necessary to connect the sole to the upper depending on the type of shoe construction chosen by the customer. In shoemaking, there are a few various types of constructions. The Goodyear welt, which dates back to 1872, is the most complicated shoemaking technique. The first step is to temporarily attach the insole beneath the shoe last using three nails. A rubber ridge is attached to the insole, and the shaft is laced and positioned over the last one. It’s then glued to the insole with hot glue and nails.
After the shoe upper is in excellent condition, a 3mm wide piece of leather—a welt—is stitched to the insole and lining. The welt is then precisely hand-sewn into position. The advantage of the Goodyear approach is that if your shoe wears down over time, the complete sole may be replaced, extending its lifespan.
Step 7: The Shoe Room
The last stop is the shoe department. The Last-Maker delivers the finished shoe to the Finisher, who removes the last from it using special tools before proceeding. He’ll clean out any minor flaws on the inside, as well as install the seat socks. The Finisher goes to work with his equipment – brushes, cloths, and polish combined with water – to turn the shoe into a stunning end product. Despite the fact that his position appears modest, it is crucial for a high-end product.
Each shoe is thoroughly evaluated one last time before it is packed and sent to the customer.