In my last update, I showed you how the leather has been cut and, for some of the shoes, brogued.
Now that all the leather is ready, we've moved on to stitching and lasting each shoe. Let's start with the stitching process.
Because we use a high SPI (stitch per inch), we take more time to stitch than if we were to use the lower SPI used by many shoemakers. It takes longer as it’s more difficult and prone to error so it has to be done carefully. However, we feel it’s worth the time and effort as it makes for a stronger shoe and looks better.
Once the uppers have been stitched and the eyelets punched, they're checked over to ensure there are no flaws in the workmanship or leather. The next step is to give them their shape.
For this part of the process, the leather of the upper is stretched over a foot-shaped mold called the last and then heated to make it soft and pliable.
The leather is then tacked to the bottom of the last and allowed to rest for no less than 48 hours so it can cool and retain its shape. Once the leather has been fully stretched into place, the last is removed and the sole can be stitched on.
Here are some Hoyt monk-straps being lasted at our factory:
A low quality pair of shoes will usually stay on the last for a couple hours, at most. This allows the factory to save money by making more shoes in less time, but it also means a weaker upper with less structure. This is one of the significant differences between low quality leather shoes and a high quality pair.
If you’ve had shoes that felt and looked like they lost their shape over time, this is likely the reason.
After lasting, the next step will be to stitch the soles to the insole before nailing the heels on. After that, the shoes will be nearly finished!
I'll continue to keep you updated on the process but if you'd like to get in touch in the meantime, we're always happy to hear from you. Just leave a comment below or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We're still on track to deliver in early May and as production gets closer to wrapping up, we'll have an exact date as to when you can expect delivery!