The shoe last is most often selected from available shapes, but for particular and unique designs, it is created and built from scratch. Last are sourced from a range of last manufacturers from Yikodeen newtork in Nigeria.
The pattern maker then builds a paper body on top of the wooden shoe last base to represent fully all the discrete elements of the shoe. Once set, the paper body is removed from the shoe last and set aside for the clicking phase, where the material is being cut to the desired shape before the actual product is built.
“Clicking” is the traditional name for the process of leather hand cutting – it comes from the sound of knives cutting through brass-bound pattern. During the process, the clicking artisan cuts all the leather pieces necessary to make the linings and the upper (part of the shoe sitting on top of the foot). For large production, we create knife patterns from the patterns cut by the pattern maker and we use a cutting machine to increase the process of the production.
Here the artisan is guided by binding marks, paths for the needle and thread, before giving the leather various edge treatments known as “skiving”. The different parts of the upper will be sewn together, eyelets will be inserted, and raw edges are stained. These operations require a very high degree of skill and experience with cutting and skiving tools to work the materials into a three-dimensional shoe form.
Lasted uppers are then attached to the sole, using cement method or chemically bonded (direct attach).