Friday, 6 January 2012

Abracadabra! Shoemaking magic!

A piece of magic that we shoemakers can conjure up, is a few more inches in height for our customers, without anyone knowing about it. Something we've nicknamed the 'Sarkozy effect'! We can incorporate up to an inch as a lift inside the shoe and a further ¼” to ½” inch on the heel – and even more if the customer likes to wear a higher, Cuban style heel









To create the lift, we first use rubber solution to attach a thin piece of lining leather to the underside of both lasts, skin side down. (It is important that it is rubber solution so that you can disconnect it before making the shoes!).Then we use contact adhesive to attach several layers of thin 1-2mm cork to the flesh side of the lining leather - the amount of cork needed depends on the height of the lift at the heel. For this particular customer we are creating ¼” lift inside his shoes.







Once the layers have been stuck to the lining it can be trimmed to follow the contours of the last (use four nails down the centre of the cork to hold it in place, as you would the insole leather). The important thing is to blend the layers to make one smooth edge that will not show through the upper when it is pulled over.






At the inside waist you need to bevel it off (as you do the edge of the insole) to create a smooth transition from last to cork. This ensures that you do not end up with an unsightly ridge at this point.








Finally, you can also use the plough to trim the lip of the lining off at the feather edge where it meets the last (as you would the insole). But be careful not to plough away too much material.
Once everything is even, remove the nails. Sit the lifts onto your mellow insole leather, draw around them and cut out the insole leather leaving it ¼” full from the edge of the lift. Prepare the insole as usual and nail it in place to the lift/last with four nails down the centre. Now begin to nail it around the edge of the lift as usual. Be careful not to put your nails too close to the cork edge so that you damage it and space them about ½” apart. Once you have nailed all of the way around, knock the nails over and allow the insole to dry. (This may take a little longer than usual because of the cork).
Once dry, trim the edge of the insole to blend with the lift and use the plough to shave off any ‘lip’ created between the insole and cork. Remove the nails from the middle, remove the insole and unstick the lift from the underside of the sole. Talc the skin surface of the lift and nail both it and the insole together back in place.







Now you can prepare the feather, last and make the shoes as usual.
When it comes to hiding a lift, this is where our approach to designing really comes to the fore. By drawing the chosen shoe design onto a customer’s last we can ensure that the proportions disguise the lift and can also accommodate any orthotics comfortably. So everything inside the shoe remains our little secret and no one need ever know! ;)