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Shoe Production - A Shoe In The Making.

Posted on October 12 2020

The last, an anatomical shape of the foot to which materials are placed over, under and around in the shoe making process can be seen perched on a specially designed rack in the image above. The last was traditionally made of wood, however wood was known to be effected by weather and storage conditions, so now plastic is a more preferred and stable material used in its production. Since the last determines the shape of the shoe including toe shape and heel height it is important, in determining the correct fitting, that the last is not altered from its original shape by internal and external elements. 

When a last is designed and constructed a shoe style is sketched onto the last, before materials are positioned. Louise M uses court shoe lasts. At the stage of the Louise M production depicted in the image above, leather has been placed on the bottom surface of the last, which becomes the inner sole lining of the finished shoe, while the upper leather has been hand stretched over the last, secured, and rested giving the leather time to settle to the shape and form of the last.

To complete the shoe construction, the heel is secured into position and the outsole placed on the bottom of the shoe. The upside down position of the last on the rack assists with the ease of construction using traditional skills by hand and specialised tools.

Look underneath the shoes on the rack and you will see the heel piece that will be placed onto the shoe in the final steps of production. This particular shoe is in the process of becoming the Louise M High Heel, featuring an almond shaped toe and seven centimetre block heel.

It is important to realise when buying leather shoes that they have come from the last in the factory, to you the wearer. Just as the leather adjusts to the shape of the last it is made on, the leather will adjust to the wearers foot once worn. This is the beauty of quality leather. If the shoe material is classified as leather just be aware that not all leathers are the same quality so although price is an indication, you may like to ask the shop assistant for information or buy from a reputable retailer such as Louise M shoes. Louise M shoes are made using full grain leather, known to be the best leather.

Founder of Louise M shoes Louise Matson in the factory in Italy

The shoe making process is fascinating and exciting.  Visiting the factory and being able to smell and touch the leathers and watch the highly skilled masters of shoe making, like artists, develop a shoe from your vision and detailed specification, is a very satisfying experience.

This image was taken during a visit to Italy, prior to the challenges of 2020. Travel to Italy is currently not possible but when it does become possible to travel again, a ticket to Florence will be booked so the Louise M team can speak directly to the manufacturers who make the Louise M brand.

To view our shoe range and order online visit www.louisemshoes.com.

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