Bespoke Shoes Unlaced – a shoemaker's blog

Friday, 14 July 2017

Top Pieces

Welcome good shoe folk. Today's post is for Emily, who was on our New York shoemaking course in May. 

We promised a post on proper heel top piece building. Although this is a repair...and not quite a complete top piece does come close.

As you can see the heel rubber is worn down at the back where the customer's foot strikes

This is the heel taken apart so you can see the different sections for this particular heel: two leather lifts and a quarter rubber.

Once we had removed the old top piece we roughed up the surface of the heel and the new quarter rubbers and stuck them in place with contact adhesive.

Then we cut out two pieces of heel lift to approximately the right size and shape. The important part here is the straight edge which needs to match the edge of the  rubber.

We wet the flesh surface and then hammered the leather down onto the split lift. 

Creating an indentation where the edge of the rubber. Usually you would use one piece of leather to the correct thickness. You would then cut away the area where the rubber sticks out and skive it to the correct depth creating a 'step' that sits over and against the rubber.

In this case we used two layers. 

So the first layer was cut to sit alongside the rubber 'step'.

As you can see it is deeper than the rubber step so...

we turned it over and marked the correct depth.

Then we skived it to the correct thickness.

And used contact adhesive to secure it in place creating a flat surface for the final layer to sit on.


We again marked the difference in depth.

We skived the excess away, glassed and then scuffed the surface and attached it with contact adhesive...and then nailed it in place.

We then cleaned up the edges and rasped, glassed and sanded the new heels before dyeing them, waxing all of the edges and burnishing them.

A final polish and they were ready to return to the stage!

That's all from us for now. Until next week happy shoemaking!