Bespoke Shoes Unlaced – a shoemaker's blog

Friday, 19 February 2016

An Invisible Re-Sole

Hello again old friends and a warm welcome to our newer readers. We hope this post reaches you in fine fettle.

Remember those well worn shoes from a couple of weeks ago which were returned to us for repair?

Well, we have done the repairs.

These Oxfords needed a complete re-sole; heel rebuild (as the customer had worn beyond the quarter rubber on the top piece); clean and polish.

Because this was the first re-sole and he came directly to us, we could do an invisible repair.

Firstly, we removed the heels in one unit and left the split lifts (rands) on. We kept the heel units to reuse later

We then removed the sole and cut it at an angle below the heel area. This next pic is from a previous post but illustrates the procedure - I forgot to take a picture which is a little remiss admittedly.

This is how the join looks when the heel is rebuilt
Doing the repair this way, you can hide the join between the old and the new sole under the heel so that the finished shoe looks like it hasn't been repaired at all. You will see with the next shoe how this compares to most resoling you will see.

So now you prepare and glue on the new sole and stitch it on as you would with a normal shoe

Sole glued on and channel cut in preparation for stitching
After you stitch the sole, you glue the rand back down and reattach the heel unit.

We had to rebalance the heel a little on these shoes with a small extra lift.

The last stage is the finishing - rasping, glassing, sanding, setting the edges, inking and waxing.

Lastly we had to deglaze the leather and nourish it with some conditioner. On top of this, we did a polish.

Given the scuffed nature of the uppers, the result is not bad. The customer will get a lot more life from these shoes now.

I think this is the kind of antiqued finish is very beautiful, although it might not be everyone's cup of tea.

Non-slip sock in the right shoes

With the loafer, the customer had taken them to be re-soled at a heel bar and they had cut the sole in the waist and used a Blake stitcher to attach another sole, so we had to stick with that method to do the repair. As you can see, our friend George of George Shoe Repair did a great job. The only thing is that you can see the join in the waist which is a shame with a handmade bespoke shoe. The other problem with this repair is that the join comes apart over time and does not look as seamless as the version above.

So there you are, two pairs of shoes given a new lease of life - feels good!

Until next week, happy shoemaking!

Monday, 15 February 2016

Well Worn Shoes and Wet Worn Shoes

Greetings once more, dear readers. We hope this post finds you in fine spirits and happily immersed in the wonderful world of shoemaking.

Our apologies for the late posting this week, but there were crossed wires and we each thought the other was doing the posting. So if you missed our jottings during your breakfast on Friday, we are sorry.

As you saw a couple of weeks ago, we have been reacquainted with some old shoes, made ten years ago. Well this week we also had sight of a more recent pair which were returned to us for a couple of tweaks

They are a button boot made from reverse suede and shrunken calf with vintage resin buttons and a military ribbon tug - rather beautiful and some of our favourite boots of recent times

The customer brought them back because he was finding the heels slippery in the wet and because he wanted toe plates on the sole.

So, being very obliging shoemakers, we made the following adjustments

Fingers crossed the fixes work

We have also repaired one of the old shoes we posted two weeks ago.

We put an anti-slip sock in them

And restitched the bands.

We also gave them a polish which improved their appearance no end.

We will post the other repair next week - we are in the middle of a resole which is a major repair.

Until then, happy shoemaking!