In the modern world of off-the-rack mass produced shoes, a set of one-off handmade shoes are king. This has always been our thinking but we've never really explored why. Lets take a look at some amazing luxury handmade men's dress shoes and how they're made.
It all starts with a cast of your foot. If you are able to go to the shoemaker directly, then you can have them cast a mold your foot for a more precise fitting. If you are ordering online, then they would use a more universal mold for each size. Based on these casts, designers would then make a template of the shoe with paper and masking tape marked up for the various parts and sections of that luxurious handmade apparel.
Once the template is complete, its transferred onto cardboard. It's at that point where the craftsman's skills really start to shine. They need a steady hand to sketch the individual design onto the cardboard and carve out the pieces for the upper portion the shoe.
Once these templates are made, they are used to carve out the individual pieces of leather which will then be used on the footwear. These shoes, such as in the Paul Parkman line, can be made out of almost any animal skin / leather. They use calfskin, crocodile, python, ostrich, stingray and others (Stingray below).
It's at that point that the skilled shoemaker will also craft the shoes design onto the leather. They will use specialized tools to cut and puncture the leather precisely. Excess leather is trimmed away as well at this step. Afterwards it's amazing what some of the final shoe uppers can look like once sewn together.
Following the process for the upper portion, the bottom thicker layer of leather and cork are installed. This bottom piece is called the outer sole. It's essentially the part of the shoe that makes contact with the ground along with the layered leather heel.
After final assembly, the shoes will receive layers of primer and paint by hand according to the final color scheme chosen by the customer. This is called the hand dye process. Companies like to Paul Parkman use organically produced dyes which contain no harmful chemicals. Finally the shoes are polished with natural wax for a beautiful shine.
Please check out our full collection of handmade luxury men's dress shoes here.