Bespoke Shoes Unlaced – a shoemaker's blog

Monday, 2 March 2009

Toe Plates

Good morning, what a glorious one it is too. Clear blue skies and sunshine pouring into my workshop. Maybe I will do a giddy flip like a Spring lamb (before I am put into the pot of course)

Friday slipped me by in a whirl of activity, hence the Monday post.

Saturday at Blaqua went very well. Lots of interested clients and a good demo.

Shoemaking. I have currently got 3 pairs on the go because we have photographer coming in on Friday to do some process shots of making for the website, so I need to have things at certain points in the process to shoot.

I have nearly finished a pair of pretty normal loafers, which only stand out because the client wants toe plates.

Do you ever have shoes which wear out on the sole right on the toe end? It is fairly common and is to do with how we walk (technical description there). The solution is toe plates, which can be rubber or metal. The metal ones last longer but you get a click, which I like but annoys some people.
Before stitching the sole, you cut away a small section at the toe and leave it with no channel. Then when the edges have been set, you glue the plate on using ultra strong contact cement. It's a good solution and shows the advantages of getting bespoke shoes made. You can include the solution to any problem you might have with your feet.

The second pair has an example of an occasional problem with hand lasting. Box calf is a marvellous material, extremely hard-wearing, and very supple. This means that at the point of lasting the upper, it usually takes the shape of the last easily. Sometimes, however, for reasons hard to fathom, it is just impossible to get flat and has small creases/wrinkles. These are unsightly and can ruin the attractive smoothness of the vamp.

As ever, though, with bespoke shoes, there is a trick which saves the day. When the shoe is finished, you wet the offending area with water and get it well soaked. Then with a warm, not hot, heel iron you iron the creases. When the leather dries, it shrinks and pulls out the last tiny creases which may be left after ironing. Ingenious!


Gardner said...

jimmyshoe, about calf skin for shoes, what weight/thickness am I needing?


Madame Shoe said...

It depends on what you are making. A ladies' weight calf is about 0.8mm and heavy men's calf can be twice as thick. Hope that helps. Best, jimmyshoe