Shoemaking Step-by Step

 (for a Goodyear welted shoe)

If you find this interesting, there’s a slightly grainy but interesting video of available on YouTube that shows many of these steps in action. There are further procedures in between those described below – butt this captures the salient steps in the creation of a pair of quality, handmade welted shoes.

Tanning

This process is described in another section and is not very photogenic (especially in its early stages, when the hide has not long been separated from its previous owner!). It is, however, vital and different types of tanning are suitable for different bits of shoe.

A pile of leather, waiting to be turned into shoes!

A pile of leather, waiting to be turned into shoes!

Choosing leather

Design

Sorry to be boring, but this is also dealt with in another section! During our tour of the Loake workshops, it was interesting to see the interplay between the designer, the guys who convert design to bits of leather and the actual manufacturing process. It is all very joined up – the advantage, I suppose, of having design, prototyping and production under one (large!) roof.

Clicking

Skiving

Some skived leather at Loake's workshop

Some skived leather at Loake’s workshop

The reasons for skiving are described separately. You can see the skived (thinned) edges of the leather shoe parts here in this pile of shoe components, where the skiving has created a border on the underside of the leather.

Broguing/Gimping

Backing added and linings glued in

Closing

Steam room

Closeup of broguing, gimping and the eyelets on a Loake Chester brogue

Closeup of broguing, gimping and the eyelets on a Loake Chester brogue

Eyelets

They have to go in at some point in the creation of a laced shoe and now is the easiest time.

Sole assembled – Rib sewn in place

Heels  assembled

Lasting

Welting

Fit shank and cork (or other) filling in sole

Rough rounding and (possibly) sewing channel cut

Sole Finishing

Shoes - burnished and unfurnished!

Shoes – burnished and unfurnished!

Burnishing

Socks inserted (insole)

Polishing, Quality Control and Finishing