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"truly" hand made shoes (ready to wear)

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Dear Gentlemen, The article "Ludwig Reiter vs. Vass" made me think: How many workshops make their ready to wear shoes in the same manner as Vass does (Hand-welted,etc.)? Could you name a few? Why do some makers call their shoes hand made, if the majority of the work is done by machines? Many Thanks.
post #2 of 14
Of course there is Silvano Lattanzi, which will cost an arm and a leg, but there are also a few of the more exclusive Italian manufacturers who employ these methods in their top ranges. (A Harris is far more knowledgeable about Italian shoes than I am). Most of the better shoes are clicked (cut) and lasted by hand but employ Goodyear machinery for the welting and sole application. Anyone who has ever used a sewing machine will know it takes a great deal of skill to stop the machine from running away and behave the way you want. "Handmade" means hand guided machinery as opposed to computer guided. To see the difference between a hand-welted and a machine-welted shoe look at the insole. If you see a row of dimples going all the way round, they are hand-welted. If the surface of the insole is smooth, they are machine-welted.
post #3 of 14
Aside from Lattanzi and Bemer, I don't know of any other completely handmade Italian shoes, although my expertise is minimal. I don't think Stefano Bi, Lidfort, Santoni, or Mantellassi are totally handmade, but I could be dead wrong.
post #4 of 14
What about Aubercy, and Bonora?
post #5 of 14
There are a few but not many. To clarify things a bit, "making" a shoe refers to the process of lasting the shoe and sewing on the welt and sole. So a "handmade" shoe is one that has had the welt and sole sewn by hand. The process of sewing together the upper is called "closing" and just about everyone short of Lattanzi does that by machine, most bespoke shoemakers included. A handstitched upper can look great on some casual shoes but on most dress shoes the irregularity of the stitches would not be attractive. So who "makes" shoes by hand? In England all ready-to-wear shoes are "made" by machine. That includes John Lobb and Edward Green. Aubercy in France does handmade ready-to-wear shoes if the pictures and claims on their website are correct. Unfortunately they are not available in the US. In Italy Mantellassi does some handmade models (their more expensive shoes.) Testoni does a few handmade models but they are always well over $1000. The majority of Testoni's shoes are Blake stitched. Most of the top-end Santoni shoes use some sort of combination of machine-welting and handwork. They have a few models that are completely handmade, all of which cost over $1000. Stefanobi usually uses a combination of Blake stitching and handwork for their "Norvegese" shoes. I think the have some fully handmade models that sell for well over $1000 but I have not seen them in person. As you may have noticed, Italian shoemakers tend to use a bewildering array of shoemaking techniques, not all of which I understand. There are probably quite a few more tiny workshops in Italy turning out handmade shoes but most all of them will never make it to the US. And, of course, Lattanzi makes a completely handsewn shoe. They are rather expensive - starting at about $1700 and going up to the $5000 range. If I remember correctly Lattanzi bespoke shoes run $5000-$10000.. Bonora's ready-to-wear shoes are welted by machine. Heinrich Dinkelacker in Germany does some handmade shoes. And, of course, Vass in Budapest.
post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 
So this is quite a small circle, less than a dozen workshops we know of... Guys, thank you for the answer.
post #7 of 14
Being here in Europe, I get to see other handmade shoes that are not mentioned here e.g in Germany D. Kuckelkorn. Check out the following website to see some other unknowns: www.handarbeitsschuhe.de . Most of these are only seen in Germany - the styles are a bit clunky for my taste almost like leather clogs or dress Doc Martens, but if you know the style in Germany...... These shoes lack the balance and refinement of Lobb, Mantellassi etc. Testoni does make some "handmade" shoes, though they retail over $1300 (cheaper to buy it in Italy). Ignore any talk regarding the "black" or "red" label inside. Current Testoni's have a black label inside. Older ones have the red label with the lion's head. Mantellassi also has some handmade shoes (linea benchmade) again costing over a thousand. Check out the webpage at www.sutormantellassi.com Selection has not been changed in over two years. Audrey Santoni has a totally handmade line but be careful. The label inside the the other two lines are: Santoni, and Audrey Santoni fatte a mano (the leather inside being orange). Totally handmade Santonis has Audrey Santoni fatte a mano in tan leather and are usually produced using the Bentivegna contruction. Aubercey and Berluti are totally hand made. Lobb, Green, Weston, are partially hand made. In the Netherlands, Van Bommel has launched a new handmade line "Noble Blue" quite similar in style to Santoni/Mantellassi
post #8 of 14
I'm noobie style necro-bumping a 10 year old thread. Though there are only 7 replies, there is a lot of good information there and it is worth having this discussion again with the chatter about gemming.
post #9 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by usctrojans31 View Post

I'm noobie style necro-bumping a 10 year old thread. Though there are only 7 replies, there is a lot of good information there and it is worth having this discussion again with the chatter about gemming.


I agree, since the information might well be outdated.

post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by A Harris View Post

There are a few but not many. To clarify things a bit, "making" a shoe refers to the process of lasting the shoe and sewing on the welt and sole. So a "handmade" shoe is one that has had the welt and sole sewn by hand. The process of sewing together the upper is called "closing" and just about everyone short of Lattanzi does that by machine, most bespoke shoemakers included. A handstitched upper can look great on some casual shoes but on most dress shoes the irregularity of the stitches would not be attractive. So who "makes" shoes by hand? In England all ready-to-wear shoes are "made" by machine. That includes John Lobb and Edward Green. Aubercy in France does handmade ready-to-wear shoes if the pictures and claims on their website are correct. Unfortunately they are not available in the US. In Italy Mantellassi does some handmade models (their more expensive shoes.) Testoni does a few handmade models but they are always well over $1000. The majority of Testoni's shoes are Blake stitched. Most of the top-end Santoni shoes use some sort of combination of machine-welting and handwork. They have a few models that are completely handmade, all of which cost over $1000. Stefanobi usually uses a combination of Blake stitching and handwork for their "Norvegese" shoes. I think the have some fully handmade models that sell for well over $1000 but I have not seen them in person. As you may have noticed, Italian shoemakers tend to use a bewildering array of shoemaking techniques, not all of which I understand. There are probably quite a few more tiny workshops in Italy turning out handmade shoes but most all of them will never make it to the US. And, of course, Lattanzi makes a completely handsewn shoe. They are rather expensive - starting at about $1700 and going up to the $5000 range. If I remember correctly Lattanzi bespoke shoes run $5000-$10000.. Bonora's ready-to-wear shoes are welted by machine. Heinrich Dinkelacker in Germany does some handmade shoes. And, of course, Vass in Budapest.

Very good and Very professional 

post #11 of 14

An old thread, but worth revisiting. There is a bit of misconception that handmade techniques are limited to very few very expensive shoe makers. I grew up in one of the countries of former Yugoslavia, and there are more then few shoe makers left that still do everything by hand (apart from sewing the upper with sewing machine, of course). I guess the same is true for parts of Eastern Europe that were under the influence of Austro-Hungarian Empire. Their techniques are all over the place and sometimes hard to understand, as they are typically rooted in traditions more then 100 years old.

 

For last 15 years (more or less since I stopped wearing exclusively sneakers :-) ) I've been using two Croatian makers. Their price for MTO (so, adjusted existing last) is in range of decent RTW, so less then $500, they use good leather, and I can attest that no shoe of theirs has shown any deficiency to date - given the normal maintenance, of course. To be honest, all my other shoes from known brands (Carmina, C&J...) are nice, but I somehow gravitate towards my Croatian makers. They are joy to wear.

 

I know about shoe making as much as I learned on this forum. Their shoes are definitely lighter and softer then the likes of Vass, and also of typical GY welted shoe, but I cannot identify the technique. Maybe next time I visit the workshop, I might ask, and take some pictures.

 

I guess what they are lacking are marketing skills and means to expand. Or even the availability of new generation willing to learn.

post #12 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by gs77 View Post
 

An old thread, but worth revisiting. There is a bit of misconception that handmade techniques are limited to very few very expensive shoe makers. I grew up in one of the countries of former Yugoslavia, and there are more then few shoe makers left that still do everything by hand (apart from sewing the upper with sewing machine, of course). I guess the same is true for parts of Eastern Europe that were under the influence of Austro-Hungarian Empire. Their techniques are all over the place and sometimes hard to understand, as they are typically rooted in traditions more then 100 years old.

 

For last 15 years (more or less since I stopped wearing exclusively sneakers :-) ) I've been using two Croatian makers. Their price for MTO (so, adjusted existing last) is in range of decent RTW, so less then $500, they use good leather, and I can attest that no shoe of theirs has shown any deficiency to date - given the normal maintenance, of course. To be honest, all my other shoes from known brands (Carmina, C&J...) are nice, but I somehow gravitate towards my Croatian makers. They are joy to wear.

 

I know about shoe making as much as I learned on this forum. Their shoes are definitely lighter and softer then the likes of Vass, and also of typical GY welted shoe, but I cannot identify the technique. Maybe next time I visit the workshop, I might ask, and take some pictures.

 

I guess what they are lacking are marketing skills and means to expand. Or even the availability of new generation willing to learn.

You are right,old tradition lack of marketing and expanding,but that's somehow make it valuable.

post #13 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by gs77 View Post
 

An old thread, but worth revisiting. There is a bit of misconception that handmade techniques are limited to very few very expensive shoe makers. I grew up in one of the countries of former Yugoslavia, and there are more then few shoe makers left that still do everything by hand (apart from sewing the upper with sewing machine, of course). I guess the same is true for parts of Eastern Europe that were under the influence of Austro-Hungarian Empire. Their techniques are all over the place and sometimes hard to understand, as they are typically rooted in traditions more then 100 years old.

 

For last 15 years (more or less since I stopped wearing exclusively sneakers :-) ) I've been using two Croatian makers. Their price for MTO (so, adjusted existing last) is in range of decent RTW, so less then $500, they use good leather, and I can attest that no shoe of theirs has shown any deficiency to date - given the normal maintenance, of course. To be honest, all my other shoes from known brands (Carmina, C&J...) are nice, but I somehow gravitate towards my Croatian makers. They are joy to wear.

 

I know about shoe making as much as I learned on this forum. Their shoes are definitely lighter and softer then the likes of Vass, and also of typical GY welted shoe, but I cannot identify the technique. Maybe next time I visit the workshop, I might ask, and take some pictures.

 

I guess what they are lacking are marketing skills and means to expand. Or even the availability of new generation willing to learn

 

looking forward for the pictures~

post #14 of 14

Unfortunately pics of the process will have to wait, as I now live across the pond, and will probably visit the EE region somewhere during summer. In the meanwhile I can share some of pics of the shoes (been cleaning them a bit yesterday), just to get feeling of style. As you will see I like wingtip brogue ankle boots, but this is just my preference. Last shape however is standard for this particular maker. Having closely looked at them, I think they use some sort of hand channel stitching - so similar to Blake, but I know for fact they do not have any machinery of that sort, and stitch is very non-uniform inside of shoe. I know from info on this forum that that should be inferior in terms of water resistance, and I do have rubber soles or sole protectors on more winter shoes. I never experienced any leaks or moisture inside shoe, and I live in Toronto - the amount of chemicals these guys put on streets during winter is scary. The upside is, they are truly joy to wear, very light and comfortable to walk in.

 

Brown grain with Vibram sole

 

Burgundy suede 

 

Black calf

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