Bespoke Shoes Unlaced – a shoemaker's blog

Friday, 15 February 2019

New Bespoke Shoes

Hello once more, dear readers. We hope you have had a good week and are looking forward to a relaxing weekend

This week we are going to show you a couple of our latest bespoke shoes and boots.

First up is a pair of mid-brown oxfords in a Scotch grain.



Most of the time, an oxford is considered to be more formal and dressy, and most of the time, this is the case.

This customer wanted an oxford but wanted to make it more casual.




So we suggested using a Scotch grain leather which is a pretty unusual choice for this style.



But I think it really works. The brogue detailing is true to the oxford's heritage, but the grain leather gives them a more contemporary, relaxed feel. I really like these shoes. Maybe they will the next pair I make for myself!

We went for a light polished finish to relax the look of the shoes



One interesting thing about them is the finish we used on the sole. Usually we apply a couple of layers of gum dragon (tragacanth) to the sole and then build up the shine with polish.
This time, we used the gum dragon as usual, but applied a series of layers of a natural bottom finish made by our good friend Will. He uses a recipe from  the marvellous book below - gum tragacanth, garnet shellac, borax, castille soap, carnauba wax and a yellow dye.



The result is really great, shiny and hard. Very pleased with it. The bottom finish is available on Will's website. Well worth it for £18!




Next up is a pair ladies' boots in a dark purple Italian veg tanned leather with a rabbit fur cuff, perfect for keeping warm on a shoot.



The leather is from a tannery called Badalassi Carlo and the thing we like about them is that you can buy single skins of their standard colours in an unglazed, untreated form. If you want any of the dressed finishes, the minimums are quite large, as with most tanneries, but the unglazed skins are perfect for bespoke shoe making because you can colour them and burnish them as you wish.



We were going for a slightly retro, Edwardian feel to the boots and we added some ski hooks for ease of lacing.

It was fun making a stacked leather heel higher than the standard height for men.

The rabbit cuff gives them a slightly Russian air which we also really liked


We hope you like them too.

And that, dear shoe folk, is it. We hope you have a good week and until next time, happy shoemaking!