Bespoke Shoes Unlaced – a shoemaker's blog

Friday, 18 August 2017

The countdown begins - the Tor Boot Kickstarter launches next week, Saturday 26th August

Welcome back good shoe folk of the world. We are feeling a little out of sorts this week after the hustle bustle of the summer's's always so quiet when the students have gone...but didn't they leave on a high.

Fortunately, there's much to be getting on with so we don't feel too lonely. This week's post is unashamed publicity for our next Kickstarter. Next Saturday at 9am, we launch the campaign for the Tor Boot - Derbyshire-manufactured, brass riveted, felt-lined and sturdy, leather-soled.

The boots are made by heritage boot manufacturer, William Lennon

inspired by Derbyshire's Peak District and named after its rocky summits or Tors
In developing, the Tor we tried a number of different toe springs and boot styles...

opting for a last with a semi-sprung toe and deep, rounded toe box 

Over the past six months we have been developing, sourcing and sampling the final style before our sample pairs were made in a selection of Horween and Tempesti leathers with 100% wool upholstery felt linings.







Then it was time to shoot, script and develop our Kickstarter campaign. We've spent a lot of time in the woods recently, going to great lengths to capture just the right amount of country and urban vibe.

We'll be sharing more information about the campaign during the week - so if you'd like to support a great British heritage boot manufacturing project and help to get these boots made - please 

  1. Follow us here on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter
  2. Help to spread the word by sharing with your own network of friends 
  3. Get set to pledge. 

There are some amazing early bird rewards for the boots and smaller rewards from winter socks to natural horn shoehorns. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter to make sure you're the early bird that gets the worm!

Until launch day next Saturday, happy shoemaking!

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Intensive Shoemaking Course London - Part II


Welcome back good shoe folk of the world! 

What a 12-day marathon of shoemaking our students have been on... and what great wonder their toes are tapping! On Saturday they finished and here's the photo diary from their last week...

Preparing to fit the shank and cork

Fudging the welt ready for stitching

Stitching the sole

Peening the heel layers together

Image courtesy of Elizabeth Bond
After heel building and some considerable hours of rasping....
it was down to some serious glassing and then...



and more sanding...

Heads down working hard...

Once the edges were set, it was time to turn attention to the sole surface

Edges set
and yet more glassing

And sanded
Heel glassed and sanded too


Time for some careful inking

Carmelito burnishing his heels with wax as Rick snips the heads off the odd stray nail inside his shoes
Then, with a justified sense of pride, it was time to get their shoes on....

Brittney..celebrating the joy of finishing her shoes with a cracking pair of socks!

Amazing work everyone - well done.

A well-earned glass of bubbly, cake and certificates of course!

Apologies for the handsyness to Mr Bond, my post-production editing wasn't great! 

Now all of you, on to your next pair! Until Friday, happy shoemaking!

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Intensive Shoe Making Course, August 2017 - Part I

Hello again to all of our readers, we send you a big Carreducker welcome

We did the same on Monday to our seven intrepid students who started our summer intensive shoe making course. This time round, we have 3 Americans, a Nigerian, a Frenchman, and 2 Brits. So a wonderfully international group, as ever

Day 1 saw us sharpening knives; skiving toe puffs/stiffeners; and blocking insoles.

Everyone cutting out stiffs and puffs

Blocking the insole

Skiving a toe puff
Day 2 was filled with preparing the holdfast/feather; finishing the skiving; and lasting the heels.

Holdfasts and awl holes made

Day 3 was spent lasting heels and foreparts; shaping toe puffs and making threads.

Lasting the forepart

Initial lasting stage

Flattening the stiffener with the French hammer

Lasting the heel
Day 4, the welting started. This is a challenge which all of the students were looking forward to and which all of them tackled with great success.

Welting the left shoe - not sure about the thread on the floor though!

More welting

Welting the toe with bristles

 Day 5 saw us finishing welting and making more threads.

Making threads

 And so on to day 6, today, Saturday. We have spent this morning attaching shanks; filling the forepart with cork; and trimming our welts in preparation for stitching the soles on.

Beating the welt

Soles which have been soaked and are being left to mellow

And that is it for this week. Well done to all of oour students who have worked so hard. Next time we will share the second week of the course with you and show you some of the finished shoes

Until then, happy shoemaking!