The art of shoemaking dates back to ancient times - born from a need to protect the feet from the environment and the elements. Although styles and materials have changed over time, the basic techniques remain the same.
Constructing a bespoke handmade shoe is a lengthy and complicated process compared to the manufacturing of ready-to-wear shoes. There are many stages and processes involved in making a bespoke pair of shoes, including:
MEASUREMENT FOR A LAST
When you first get a pair of bespoke shoes - you will need to have a last made. A last is made from beech wood based on the measurements of your feet. The shoe is then constructed around the last to ensure the perfect shape and fit.
CONSTRUCTION OF THE UPPER
Patterns of the chosen shoe are created out of paper, which are then used as templates for cutting out each individual piece of leather. The pieces of leather are then stitched together to form the upper, which forms the top of the shoe. This technique is called "closing".
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
The role of the bespoke shoemaker is to bring all of the separate pieces together to create the final product, using the traditional hand-sewn welt technique (the process of attaching the insole and the sole to the upper).
For more information - see the 2016 BBC documentary below ("Handmade: By Royal Appointment" Series) filmed at JOHN LOBB in London. This video also features Mariano talking about the shoemaking process.
AN ANCIENT CRAFT
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