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Shoemaking Techniques and Traditions--"...these foolish things..."

DWFII

Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker
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In my opinion, too loose a fit does indeed create more and deeper creases.

Cracking comes about when the leather dries out to some extent and is not kept clean. Dust and other micro-abrasives get into the creases and the flexing action of the shoe cause the leather to be abraded by the dirt. Polish and conditioners containing heavy fats attract and hold the dirt to the surface of the leather, creating what is fundamentally a piece of sandpaper. The resulting abrasion cuts the fibers of the leather.

The deeper the creases the more surface area to attract dirt and the more 'action' to abrade fibers.

A closer fit will certainly help, but keeping your shoes clean is the best way to ameliorate cracking.

That said, ultimately, all leather will crack esp. if it dries out.
 

willyto

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I have to say that after having made my first pair of shoes under Carréducker guidance in their 12 day intensive shoemaking course my opinion about shoemaking has changed for the better and has sparked more interest in it.

Having hands on experience even for as little time as 12 days makes all the difference in appreciating the craft even more and seeing everything with different set of eyes.

Everything is much more difficult than it looks online or reading about it.
 

DWFII

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I have to say that after having made my first pair of shoes under Carréducker guidance in their 12 day intensive shoemaking course my opinion about shoemaking has changed for the better and has sparked more interest in it.

Having hands on experience even for as little time as 12 days makes all the difference in appreciating the craft even more and seeing everything with different set of eyes.

Everything is much more difficult than it looks online or reading about it.


I saw your IG posts and applaud you for doing this. Carreducker was/is a fine place to train.

I don't know if you plan on making shoes in the future (good luck if you do) but the real take away...for the rest of your life...will probably be how 'insubstantial' manufactured shoes are by comparison. And how precious the Tradition and skills are in a world that does not really value such.

Good on you, :fonz:
 
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emptym

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DWFII has passed away:


He taught us so much about shoe making and care, sometimes with hyperbolic language, but always with lots of experience and wisdom. We will miss him.
 

brax

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DWFII has passed away:


He taught us so much about shoe making and care, sometimes with hyperbolic language, but always with lots of experience and wisdom. We will miss him.

Oh, no. This is indeed very sad news. He was very generous with his encyclopedic knowledge.
 

taxgenius

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I learned so much from him, and as I type this, remember that my signature for many years is a quote from him.
 

Testudo_Aubreii

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In DWF's honor, I thought I'd update mw's below list of North American custom boot and shoe makers. Sadly, several have closed up shop since mw wrote. SF hasn't done very well by these folks, I feel. If anyone should be wanting the better fit that custom-made footwear will give you, and be willing to work with makers to get it, it should be us on SF. But few of us seem to support them. That even though they in many cases charge less for MTM (or even bespoke) than famous manufacturers charge for RTW Goodyear welted shoes. Feel free to correct.

-DWF. Departed this life. By all knowledgeable accounts, made world-class footwear, fully bespoke, all by hand, with a starting price always less than that of John Lobb Prestige RTW gemmed factory-made shoes. Wow.

-Paul Davies (the London Shoemaker). Looks closed.

-Craig Corvin. Seems closed.

-Paul Opperman Custom Boots. Maybe closed?

-Brooklyn Bespoke. Split into Stiefelwerk (open) and Jesse Moore, the latter of which seems to have closed.

-Not sure whether James Sommerfeldt makes for customers anymore.

-Tim Goodrich became Sutorial Boot and Shoe Makers.

-Grisha's. Closed.

Not listed by mw:
-Kroop Boot (Maryland. MTM.). Closed in 2018.
-Don Ville (California. MTM.). Closed.
-Jon Gray (Nova Scotia. Bespoke.). Might be closed?
-Dehner Boot. (Omaha. MTM.) Still at it.
-Rick Roman (Oregon. Bespoke.). Still at it.
-Nasser Vies (Hamilton, Ontario. Bespoke and MTO.). Still at it.
-Treccani (Toronto. MTM Goodyear made in Italy.). Still at it.
-Sergio's Shoes Express (Mexico City. MTM Blake). Closed in 2021.
-Atelier Amareto (León, Guanajuato. MTM--and maybe bespoke--handwelted). Still at it.
-Dan Freeman (Vermont. Bespoke shoes.). Store still open.

A bit of good news is that younger makers have opened. Need more info, but:

-Francis Waplinger (NYC. Bespoke and MTM (or maybe only MTO, not MTM?))
-Reid Elrod (Bespoke in Portland, OR?)
-Rhoncus Atelier (Mexico City. I think MTM handwelted?)
-Castez Ermili Shoemaker (Querétaro. Looks like full bespoke.)

....

In terms of US bespoke, there are many different people as long as you are willing to travel to them. NY has quite a few as well and New England. Then of course we know about DW, and the others out west. Texas has many bookmakers who still are involved and willing to try out some of our crazy ideas!

Here are a few North American people you can look up. I don't know them all and don't know how many of them are true bespoke vs just making custom one off shoes. You could contact them if they are in your area but I know that many of them do offer custom lasts and bespoke shoes. I know that not all HW the shoes, but if you find ones that you are interested in, you can contact them and report back.
Some have orthopedic experience as well, so they can work on unique foot types as well. Obviously the styles that they work on may not be to everyones' taste (there were a few that were quite horrid in my opinion), but to each his own. I have spoken with a few of them and all of those were very open to trying things out of their normal work and style as well. Of course quality will vary so not all with be at the same level as the top few on the list.

DWF
Perry Ercolino (PA)
Paul Davies (Virginia)
Oliver Moore (NYC)
Craig Corvin (Seattle)
Daphne Board (Massachusetts)
Exit shoes by Jeff Mandel (Oregon)
Paul Opperman
Brooklyn bespoke shoes
hark weber (St. Paul, MN)
loveless custom boots and shoes (Oklahoma)
James sommefeldt (Chicago)
kika bespoke (NYC)
Crary custom (Oregon)
David Ulan (NY)
Tim Goodrich (Michigan)
Vogel (NYC)
Grisha's (California)
Al's Attire (San Fran)
T. O. Dey (NY)
Der Dau (NY)

And two in Canada:

Peter Feeney (Toronto)
Last Shoes
 
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