The Art of Shoemaking: A Step by Step Guide

The Art of Shoemaking: A Step by Step Guide

May 19 , 2021


Tags - The Art of Shoemaking / How Are Shoes Made

Historically, the shoemaker was responsible for the whole process from start to finish. 

However, as fast fashion is becoming more and more popular, it begs the question - how are shoes made in a factory?

In most factories, there’s a department for each stage of production but it’s forwarded on to the next line.

This guide will look into the step by step process of how shoes are typically made today.

Step 1: Design

Before a shoe goes to production, there’s a design team working hard on a prototype - this is where the vision comes to life!

So, the first step in the shoe making process is design.

And, regardless of if the designer draws by hand or on the computer - the shoe will be presented in multiple angles.

Finally, once any alterations are made, the client will give their approval.

Step 2: The Shoe Last Department

The shoe last is a mould that represents a foot to give a shoe it’s shape.

Therefore, the second step in the shoemaking process is to create this physical base.

Traditionally, these were made from wood - but now plastic or metal is used.

However, it’s not as simple as creating a foot-like shape.

Instead, factors such as heel height and how a foot rolls during walking needs to be considered.

Lastly, the shoe last is used towards the end stages to ensure the end fit matches the original design. 

Step 3: Piecing The Materials 

At stage 3, the materials used for the shoes are pieced together, as well as stamped so they’re not attached wrongly later on.

For example, pieces of leather are stamped to indicate where eyelets for laces will need to be punched, or for shoes like brogues, the pattern is embedded at this stage.

Step 4: Assembling The Shoe

Once the size and fabrics have been determined, it’s then the time to begin assembling the shoe together. 

Depending on the shoe, there are different methods used at this stage.

For instance, for a classic Derby shoe, it may be constructed using a Goodyear welting technique or the Blake method

Step 5: Insoles and Finishing Touches

At this stage, the shoemaker will be relieved knowing the shoes are actually coming together now.

But, it’s not done yet - it’s time to add another layer!

Simply, step 5 is when insoles are added to ensure movement and flexibility.

Lastly, any holes are removed, seams properly stitched, dyeing and polishing.

In other words, this is the final quality check before your shoes are then displayed on the shop floor or delivered straight to your door.


Final Remarks

Of course, there is a lot more detail that goes into the shoemaking process.

But, this was just a quick step by step guide so you have more of an idea how your shoes are able to be worn.

For more information get in touch.

In the meantime, check our ranges:

Brogue Shoes for Women

Brogue Shoes for Men


You may also like:

  1. A Short History of Shoemaking 
  2. 5 Common Materials To Make Shoes
  3. The Strange History of Heels