Sole Finishing

The sole edges are stained and waxed.

The sole edges are stained and waxed.

Edges inked and hot-waxed

The edges are now the nice pale tan colour of vegetable-tanned leather. This is fine if that’s what you want – but looks odd on (for example) smart black dress shoes. So – the edges of sole and heel are stained appropriately and then hot wax is forced in to waterproof and to protect them.

Bottom scoured and wax polished

ven Loake think this process has a funny name ... bottom scouring is the process whereby they lightly rough the surface of the soles to make sure that when they stain them, the stain keys properly. The machine is a rotating cylinder of very fine sandpaper. They then apply the stain with a rag.

Even Loake think this process has a funny name … bottom scouring is the process whereby they lightly rough the surface of the soles to make sure that when they stain them, the stain keys properly. The machine is a rotating cylinder of very fine sandpaper. They then apply the stain with a rag.

Time for a schoolboy’s giggle – bottom-scouring! Heeheehee! Although you will promptly walk on the nice new shiny soles of your shoes, it is a matter of pride with most good shoemakers to make them look nice at the outset. So they are first ground by a fine grinder.

Sole embossed with pattern and logo

A nice pattern and logo are often embossed on to the sole - even though you will walk them off again!

A nice pattern and logo are often embossed on to the sole – even though you will walk them off again!

This snap taken in Loake's factory shows the various wheels they have for decorating the edges of leather soles and the different patterns they make. The wheels are heated in a gas flame before they are used to emboss the leather

This snap taken in Loake’s factory shows the various wheels they have for decorating the edges of leather soles and the different patterns they make. The wheels are heated in a gas flame before they are used to emboss the leather

Scouring is followed by sole polishing, the addition of a company logo and possibly nice patterns made by little wheels as shown on the right. Some of this will survive your tramping about, but this is, for the most part, just fastidious attention to detail and pride on the part of the shoemaker!