The art and craft of shoe-making

A new shoe design always starts with a basic sketch, but even producing this requires a good understanding of the entire manufacturing process. All kinds of processes have to come together before the right design sketch is ready! Nowadays, the prototype for the shoe last and sole is created digitally and then output to a 3D printer. In the past, this stage was also in the hands of a skilled model-maker who would craft the prototype out of wood.

The sole is made by pouring rubber into a metal mould on a large carousel fitted with soles in all sizes. The soles can also be cut out from rubber or plastic blanks. Some of our footwear features cork soles from cork trees that grown in Portugal. Each sole or heel is actually sawn out using a band saw. 

For a leather shoe, the leather has to be tanned and finished. This is a lengthy process done in large wooden barrels free from chrome and heavy metals in line with the EU’s REACH standards. These days, leather can also be digitally printed. The motif is printed directly on the leather, as if it were paper. The advantage of this is that no water is required. 

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. Finally, each pair of shoes is inspected, labelled and packaged in our cloth bags and then at long last shipped to us, and ultimately to you!