Good things come to those who wait. Back in April I went up to Maine on a top secret mission that I am finally ready to reveal (in two parts) today and tomorrow. As you would guess my mission was shoe based, to go to a factory specializing in hand sewn shoes and document everything while my friend worked out the details for a very special collection of shoes that I will reveal for the first time tomorrow.
I have gone to lengths to show as much of the play-by-play as I could without giving away what brands were being manufactured. (Out of respect for the factory owners who were gracious enough to allow me to poke around.) It was my first time in a shoe factory in Maine and the workers seemed either curious as to my presence or decidedly ambivalent. The shoe making process from start to finish seems fairly straight-forward, workers prepare the leather and operate the pneumatic press to cut the various components. Those pieces and parts are shuttled down the line on wooden racks to a series of people who assemble sections until the shoes start to take shape. Eventually the leather parts make their way to a group of hand sewers who work diligently and skillfully to guide their three-inch needle back and forth until the signature moccasin toe is complete. After the hand sewers are finished, the shoes are attached to their soles — either with adhesive or sewn on — touched up, inspected and packaged. It looks fairly simple, but the process requires a great deal of skill and leather experience. Photos of the shop and some seriously good looking shoes after the jump.