Shoemaking sites

Was your Grandfather (or Grandmother) a shoemaker? Perhaps an Uncle? Or maybe just someone you knew and remember from childhood. Tell us the story.
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Shoemaking sites

#1 Post by dw » Thu Sep 06, 2007 6:56 am

Here are several shoemaking sites that are worth a gander. Some are just photos of great looking shoes, some even include a photo sequence of construction. You can learn a lot just by studying the sequence shots.

This first one is of a very well known and very well respected shoemnaker in Oslo Norway. Very clean work and equally refined.

And the website is very well done and visually compelling.

http://www.bespoke-shoes.com/


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Re: Shoemaking sites

#2 Post by dw » Thu Sep 06, 2007 7:00 am

Here's another one of my exemplars...if I could make shoes half as clean and refined, I would be happy.

http://homepage.mac.com/syrit/PhotoAlbum7.html

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Re: Shoemaking sites

#3 Post by dw » Thu Sep 06, 2007 7:05 am

And this one contributed by br'er Dominic Saguto

http://www.mpshoes.cz/www/index.php?call=produkce

In the upper right hand corner is a litle US flag. Click on it and the site will switch to English.

These shoes are much in the Eastern European style--ala Vass' HMSFM.

A great photo shoot of assembly under "Step by Step" (or Ukázka postupu)


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Re: Shoemaking sites

#4 Post by dw » Thu Sep 06, 2007 7:10 am

Here's yet another contributed by br'er Dominic

http://www.perryercolino.com/bespoke_shoes.php

Very classic (and classy) look.

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Re: Shoemaking sites

#5 Post by kaspar » Thu Sep 06, 2007 9:56 am

The Norway site is quite interesting.
But, God whyyyy they do shoes were soles are bigger than the shoe itself, like in the Czech site? The shoe in the upper corner of the starting site is like a derby skishoe.
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Re: Shoemaking sites

#6 Post by dw » Thu Sep 06, 2007 10:31 am

Kaspar,

In fact, the construction technique is called the "Tyrolean," if I read the description correctly. I don't care for it, personally, but, I guess somebody does.

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Re: Shoemaking sites

#8 Post by dw » Thu Sep 06, 2007 11:19 am

Lance,

Great links!! I was going to add Cleaverly and Lobb later on today but you beat me to it. I haven't had time to look at all of them but the two French sites Dimitribottier and AnthonyDelos seem to be related and have wonderfull montages (a little different in each case) of the contruction process--lasting bottoming etc.!

Seeing some of these makes me feel pretty green and clumsey. There is some sweet work in this list of sites and I've ony gotten half way through.

Thanks Lance! That's a great contribution.

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Re: Shoemaking sites

#9 Post by paul » Thu Sep 06, 2007 11:42 am

DW and Lance,

It makes you feel clumsey and green!

I feel like I ought to go back in the corner!

But it sure is good to have somethng like this to which to attain.

Thank you both for these contributions.

PK

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Re: Shoemaking sites

#10 Post by dw » Thu Sep 06, 2007 12:12 pm

Paul,

Hey! I know exactly how you feel--you expressed it better than I did. At 61 and 3/4's I wonder if I'm not going to be starting all over again and do I have the energy??!! I think yes to both questions but it's almost a little scary.

I just saw a beautiful white brogued oxford at John Lobb's site and was about bowled over.

My biggest question, at this point...where do they get these gorgeous leathers??!!

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Re: Shoemaking sites

#11 Post by kaspar » Thu Sep 06, 2007 1:09 pm

DW thanks for the tech. info. Have not heard it before but now seeing the name...could it be driven from the fact that they do soles of a mountain boots in the same? or in familiar manner? ... Tyrol-Austria- Alps.

And one thing more. Is it me but....I have pondered some time now about one issue. When I saw years ago first time the creation of Berluti I liked it a lot. The cleanness and finish of them. And when compared, years after, Dmitri bottier and Delois`s creation, that they are in a way quite similar? Well when looking all those super glossy shoes and similar cuts and the coloring and patina that IMO Berluti was the first one who came out with that? And now everybody is trying to do the same.?? I could be wrong cause I saw Berlutis creation years before. But that how things seem to me.
K.

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Re: Shoemaking sites

#12 Post by lancepryor » Thu Sep 06, 2007 1:32 pm

Kaspar:

Many of the French makers do seem to have a similar aesthetic, and some trained at Berluti. Delos trained at Lobb Paris, among other places. I don't know where Dmitri Gomez trained. Interestingly, he works out of the Crockett & Jones shop in Paris. C&J are one of the finest English Ready to Wear makers; Dmitri has designed some lovely lasts for recent C&J RTW shoes, which lasts seem to blend English and Continental elements quite nicely.

Berluti are now owned by Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy, one of the world's largest 'luxury goods' companies, and they have shifted their focus to Ready to Wear; while they still make bespoke shoes, this is really just a trivial part of their business now.

Lobb Paris are thought by some to be the finest bespoke shoes available. Unlike the British firms (including Lobb St. James -- i.e. London), Lobb Paris does all the work in-house and makes a trial fitting shoe.

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Re: Shoemaking sites

#13 Post by firefly » Thu Sep 06, 2007 2:10 pm

Well I also want to know how Berluti acheives those finishes.

That's unbelievable.

And by the way DW, they get most of their leather from a cow Image

I just had to say that 'cause you're 61 and 3/4's and you might be getting forgetful. Image

Mark

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Re: Shoemaking sites

#14 Post by firefly » Thu Sep 06, 2007 2:22 pm

Lance,

I read a little article that said Lobb was acquired by Hermes in 1976 and they took over all but the shop on St James where they still do bench made shoes.

I know that Church's was also acquired by Prada a few years back. That was a shame because I have always loved their custom grade off the shelf shoes.

Just some thoughts.

Mark

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Re: Shoemaking sites

#15 Post by lancepryor » Thu Sep 06, 2007 2:59 pm

Mark:


Yes, Lobb was acquired by Hermes, except for the St James (London) location, which is still owned by the Lobb family. Confusingly, the Hermes-owned Lobb (aka Lobb Paris) owns the right to make and market Lobb ready-to-wear shoes, but those shoes are made in Northampton, England. Thus, the English-made Lobb RTW shoes can be called Lobb Paris! Further, the Lobb RTW line has a store in London right around the corner from the Lobb St James location.

The acquisition of Church's by Prada led to a decline in the quality of the shoes from what I've read, and they in general lowered the quality of the leathers used.

The finest English RTW shoes are Edward Green -- see http://www.edwardgreen.co.uk/
and the Lobb RTW line, which are made in a former Edward Green factory! (Hermes at one time owned 49% or 51% of Green, and when they parted company Hermes kept the factory. Green had to move elsewhere in Northampton.) Finally, Tony Gaziano (of Gaziano and Girling) ran a revived Edward Green bespoke operation from about 2002 until last year, when Green exited the bespoke business and Gaziano started a new firm to do bespoke, made-to-order and, eventually, a RTW line. The MTO and RTW line are made by another Northampton firm, although the identity of the firm is unclear.

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Re: Shoemaking sites

#16 Post by kaspar » Wed Sep 12, 2007 12:55 pm

Lance
Thanks for the info. Should have thought....of course- same aesthetics and similar praxis.
I now saw Corthay website. I did missed it previous time. Does anybody have an idea how much he takes from a besboke pair? There is said that no price talking on the phone or e-mail.
Also who is making the worlds most expensive shoes? Anybody knows? Lobb, Zita Attalai? I know that Weitzman has a pair that goes about 1 million pounds. But it has rocks that does the price and IMO does not count.
Cheers
K.

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Re: Shoemaking sites

#17 Post by lancepryor » Wed Sep 12, 2007 2:34 pm

Kaspar:

I think the Corthay bespoke start at somewhere between 2500 and 3000 euros -- pretty expensive with the euro at about $1.40.

Lattanzi has a reputation for being among the most expensive bespoke. Lobb Paris is also up there -- most models around 4000 euros --, as are a few others. The London guys are around 1500 GBP, except Lobb St James who are north of 2000.

Most of the above quoted prices include VAT except Lobb St James

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Re: Shoemaking sites

#18 Post by dw » Thu Sep 13, 2007 6:44 am

Lance,

I looked at Edward Green's website. I sure did like the website. It is really professionally done with a touch of class and elegance that you don't see all that often.

I like the overall look of their shoes...very clean and refined.

One thing that I was surprised to see, however, is that they use gemming to inseam rather than channeling the insole.

Which raises all kinds of questions bordering on why??!!

Perhaps the insoles they are using are not strong enough to channel? Maybe they are not even using leather insoles?

Doesn't gemming create a need for a deep fill in the bottom cavity...usually of cork or some plasticor foam material?

What happens when the gemming adhesive slips and the shoe needs repair?

Perhaps they just don't have the time, patience, or interest to channel a leather insole? Who knows?

All I know is that, that's not the way I want to make shoes.

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Re: Shoemaking sites

#19 Post by paul » Thu Sep 13, 2007 9:04 am

Amen!

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Re: Shoemaking sites

#20 Post by lancepryor » Thu Sep 13, 2007 2:06 pm

DW:

The Edward Green shoes are now all ready to wear (Tony Gaziano, who was running their bespoke business is now out on his own). About the only RTW maker that I know of that doesn't use gemming is JM Weston, who use an old Goodyear machine to cut and turn the insole to create a holdfast. Green makes about 12,000 pairs/year.

Green definitely use a leather insole -- either Rendenbach or Bakers -- as well as a Rendenbach outsole. Their upper leathers are beautifully finished -- they use 'crust' (i.e. unfinished) leathers, which they then stain and burnish themselves. They use a leather counter but a celastic toe box. The uppers are all hand clicked. They are perhaps most famous for their 'skin stitched' models (e.g. the Dover), which has a hand-sewn butted seam for the split toe and apron -- this stitch allows you to see the stitching through the leather. They have 2 guys who do nothing but skin-stitching. They use boar's bristles to do this sewing.

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Re: Shoemaking sites

#21 Post by dw » Thu Sep 13, 2007 2:34 pm

Lance,
About the only RTW maker that I know of that doesn't use gemming is JM Weston, who use an old Goodyear machine to cut and turn the insole to create a holdfast.


I hate to hear that. I look at some of the bespoke sites and see the work they do and I have to say it's pretty scary. They are so good.

Green is an odd combination of bespoke techniques and factory techniques, aren't they? But RTW seems to me...and take this with a grain of salt--it comes from a very opinionated maker...just one step on the road to the factory. I can't see them ever going back to totally bespoke methods and work, can you? I think that's sad. Maybe inevitable but sad. How long before the skin stitching is abandoned, as well? A loss for us all.

One of the reasons I brought it up (besides the fact that this forum is dedicated to preserving bespoke techniques) is that I was struck by Green's assertion that they make the best shoes in England. And they do get a hefty price for them. But for me...personally...given my background, training, 35 years of experience, etc., gemming makes that claim suspect if nothing else. Certainly ruined my appreciation.

Gemming is another one of those solutions looking for a problem, in my opinion...and the only problem it solves (while creating its own set of problems)...is the problem of time. After all, if they are using a high quality leather insole, why add the additional expense of the ribbing as well as the machine it takes to apply it? The leather is there. The shoemaker is there. ??!!

BTW, how did you come by all this fantastic knowledge? I know you spent some time in London but your info goes beyond casual.

I think Gaziano and Myhre are my favorites. But there's so much out there that I haven't seen and of those I have, I'm still digesting the French and Italians.

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Re: Shoemaking sites

#22 Post by shoestring » Thu Sep 13, 2007 3:44 pm

Question

What method is "Gemming" and what's ment by "crust leather"? When I first visited this site Myhre was a poster and his work was at the top of the chart then.He's one to pattern after.

Ed

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Re: Shoemaking sites

#23 Post by lancepryor » Thu Sep 13, 2007 7:28 pm

DW:

Well, I think you are right, the hand-inseamed RTW is just about gone forever; I think the economics just don't make sense for a factory shoe to have a hand-cut, holed, and sewn holdfast/welt. There are a few makers still doing it this way -- Vass, Silvano Lattanzi, and perhaps a few other Italians -- but they are more in the nature of small, workshop type operations rather than factories.

I think it is almost beyond argument that Green and the Lobb RTW are the finest factory made/RTW in England. Green wouldn't claim their shoes are superior to the various UK bespoke firm. Their claim really relates to RTW. Green has a variety of lovely lasts, their leathers are superb, and the finishing is lovely, assuming that you like the burnished/variegated look they achieve. Gaziano and Girling have a RTW line that have received rave reviews; it is unclear which factory in England in making them, but it isn't Green.

Interestingly, about 15 years ago the Green operation offered a line called "Top Drawer," which was purportedly a hand-made shoe made on one of Green's stock lasts. It sold at a healthy premium to the regular Green line, but I think it was most likely priced too high for the market at the time. They have re-introduced a "Top Drawer" line, but it is really just a very flexible made-to-order program with a few things to make it look more like a bespoke shoe, e.g. a beveled waist, but it is not a hand-made shoe like the old ones.

One thing I don't think you need to worry about is the hand-sewers doing the skin stitching. Green gets something like a $100 premium for these models, and they have pretty much achieved iconic status. As long a Green is around, so too will be the hand-sewers.

Make no mistake, Green IS a factory-made product, albeit from a small factory. They have something on the order of 35 or 40 folks doing the production. But, yes, they have retained some of the more bespoke-based elements in their production, like the hand-clicking. One thing that Green historically offered was a very flexible made-to-order program, which allowed customers to really customize the design of an upper and even get slight modifications to a last. Further, Green's archive of old models is quite vast, and you could order just about anything from that archive on any last they've ever used, assuming they still have the last. All of this for only a small premium over the regular (albeit high) off-th-rack price. Contrast this with Crockett & Jones, which charges something like $400 extra for anything custom, or Lobb RTW, which offers almost no flexibility in customization. However, Green has recently scaled back the made-to-order flexibility on their regular line in order to drive business the the Top Drawer line, which is really much like the old made-to-order option.

I came about my knowledge through too much time on some clothing message boards, plus things like a visit to the Green factory in Northampton and a longstanding interest in shoes.

Ed:

Gemming is the linen strip which is glued to the insole for the Goodyear welt to be sewn to; it serves as the holdfast in a factory-made, Goodyear welted shoe.

The 'crust' leather is, as I understand it, leather which has been tanned but not dyed. When Green gets it, it is basically blond in color. They make the shoe then finish it with a combination of polish, waxes, and heat to give the shoes their final color. I think a bunch of the Italian bespoke makers use this type of leather as well, as may some of the French. If I turn up a picture of a shoe in crust leather, I'll post a link -- I know I've seen one comparing an untreated and treated upper, but can't locate it right now.

Lance

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Re: Shoemaking sites

#24 Post by dw » Thu Sep 13, 2007 7:28 pm

Ed,

I don't have a certain definition of "crust leather" so I will leave that to someone else who is more knowledgeable.

Gemming is the use of a ribbed tape that is adhered to the insole in lieu of channeling and holing the insole. The inseam is sewn through the tape rather than directly to the leather. As I understand it, a separate machine is necessary to apply gemming especially if it is going to be done on a frequent basis.

As a once and future repairman, I can attest to the fact that, in general, gemming is an almost universally unreliable method for inseaming as the glue or cement that fixes the tape to the insole invariably losses its grip and the tape shifts. Often it is near to impossible to reposition once that happens.

Jan Myhre is among the best, no question. Certainly his work is among the cleanest and most refined of anyone who has ever posted on this forum...in any category--boots or shoes. I had occasion to converse with him recently via email. He is extremely busy but was generous with me.

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Re: Shoemaking sites

#25 Post by dw » Thu Sep 13, 2007 7:41 pm

Lancve,

Thanks for taking the time to share this with us. There's lots to like about Green's work.

Nevertheless, and not to quibble, just to draw your attention to it...Green's second screen (right after you "enter site" ) says "The finest shoes in England...for the discerning few."

A question if I may...do you know for certain if Lobbs uses gemming on their RTW? Or do they even do RTW??

I didn't know that about crust...facinating. Almost makes me want to try it. It's a cinch there's not a lot to choose from in domestic leathers. Or even imported but domestically available.

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