Blog: The Shoemaking Process

Slow Film Trailer

Trailer of the complete shoemaking process shot by Jim Rice .

This film is a sneak peek of a 75minute film shot by Jim Rice detailing every step of the shoemaking process . This high definition film shot in real time explores a day in the life of a shoemaker . Sit back relax and enjoy . The full version will be posted on the site in November 2015.
Jim Rice has been a professional photographer for over 25 years.
Originally from the UK, he attended Bournemouth college of Art and Design.
Jim moved to Australia in 1988 and worked as a staff photographer at Fairfax for many years.
Jim has now taken up a freelance career with the emphasis on photography and films specialising in craftsmen and women. The slow film movement lends itself to showcasing the skill of artisans whose craftsmanship is unique and expressive.

How to Custom Fit a Pair of Shoes

The Complete Shoe Making Process: Part 5

One overlooked aspect of the fitting process is how do you measure the sensitivity of the foot. This can only be done through a series of fittings that show the true fit of the clients foot.

Custom fitting is the process of taking the foot measurements, building a last and then making a test shoe for the client to  try before the shoe is built. Typically the process involves 3 fittings but this can vary according to the requirements of feet and footwear.

Taking measurements is only one step in the fitting process. Analysis of previously worn footwear, notes on what styles and materials the client has previously worn and how this corresponds to their measurements are all taken into account. This can only be done by a series of fittings that show the true fit of the clients foot.

  1. The first fitting foot measurements are taken and the style, size and materials are chosen.
  2. The second fitting a test shoe is made for the client to try and any adjustments to the last and pattern are made.
  3. The third fitting the shoe is complete and finer adjustments are made ready for delivery.

If you'd like to learn more about the shoemaking process why not look into our comprehensive shoemaking course?

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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