Shoemaker's Blog

Making Toe Puffs & Heel Counters

The Complete Shoe Making Process: Part 4

Heel counters and toe puffs sometimes called "stiffeners" are the leather parts which give the heel and toe structure in a shoe. These pieces are made from oak bark tanned belly grade leather. 

The traditional oak bark ground tanning relies on biodegradable renewable tan material and a slow tanning process taking up to nine months. After a preliminary surface tanning the valuable hides lie between layers of tan for several months in century old oak pits. This ecological treatment  guarantees the extraordinary qualitative properties of our all leather shoes.  

Toe puffs and heel counters give the heel and toe structure flexibility and strength.

Each part is cut to shape skived by hand then soaked in water and wrapped in newspaper overnight. The damp leather is then pasted into position with potato starch then inserted between the upper and lining in the shoe upper ready for lasting.

If you're interested in finding out more about the shoemaking process perhaps consider our shoemaking course.

This is the fourth article in our ongoing series: "The Complete Shoemaking Process". The next entry in the series is about custom fitting a pair of shoes.

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