The art of shoe-making
– true craftsmanship
Shoe-making is a true craft, not everyone knows or understands that. Join us on a factory visit to Ponte, the
small village in Northern Portugal where all Gudrun shoes are made.
From sketch to prototype
A new shoe, last or sole always begins as a basic sketch. As designers, we know a great deal about function, materials and production options.
Lasts and soles
Nowadays, the prototypes for lasts and soles are digitally produced and 3D-printed, layer by layer. In the past, this stage was also in the hands of a skilled model-maker who would craft the prototype out of wood.
Cast in metal moulds
Liquid rubber is poured into a mould to make soles of all sizes.
The soles can also be cut out from rubber or plastic blanks.
Rows of lasts
All lasts are methodically stored, one for each style and size. Only once the last has been perfected does it enter the archive.
That’s how we ensure comfortable shoes, time after time.
Blocks and sheets of cork are made into heels and soles. Cork comes from cork trees which grow in Portugal – locally produced! Each sole and heel is individually cut out using a bandsaw.
The leather is tanned and finished
The tannery turns stiff rawhides, which are by-products of the meat industry, into beautiful, soft leather.
The tanning process takes place in large wooden barrels without the use of any heavy metals, such as chromium. It therefore complies with REACH, the EU’s legislative framework for chemicals, which has led to substantial improvements in tanning processes within the footwear industry.
Tannery water treatment
Under current law, tanneries must have a closed-loop water system for the treatment of all the water that circulates in the production phase. We felt there was strong environmental awareness and a transparent approach with a focus on high quality when we visited the tannery.
Digitally printed leather
Digital is everywhere – even leather is digitally printed now. It offers countless opportunities. The design is printed straight onto the leather, just like you’d print it onto a sheet of paper. The advantage of digital printing is that it doesn’t require the use of water.
Each shoe part is cut out
For each shoe design, iron cut-outs are made for each component of the shoe. Once the pieces have been cut, the shoes are stitched together and fitted with eyelets or straps. The stitched shoe is then placed on the last to stretch it to the shape and size of the last. Next, the finished rubber sole is attached. After that, the shoe is placed in an oven to perfect its moulding around the last.
Shoe factory in Porte
“Ours” is a medium-sized, family-owned factory with 105 employees. We’ve been working
with Fernanda, the contact person for our footwear production, for many years.
Quality control and packing
Finally, each pair of shoes is checked to ensure they meet our quality criteria, then labelled
and packaged in our tote bags, ready to be sent to Sweden by truck.