How Shoes Are Manufactured


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During the manufacturing process, the shoe goes through four basic stages before ending up on the shop shelves.  These processes are clicking or cutting, closing or machining, lasting and making, and finally the finishing stage.

In the clicking or cutting process, the section for the upper part of the shoe is made.  The operator is given leather skins, usually cow leather but not restricted to that kind alone.  Using a metal strip knife, the operator cuts out varying shapes that will become the uppers.  This requires great skill and precision to ensure that the expensive leather is not wasted.  The operator also checks for any defects in the leather such as barbed wire scratches and ensures that the defective sections are not used for the uppers.

Next, we go through the closing or the machining process.  This is where the pieces cut in the previous process are sown together by highly skilled machinists.  This process has several stages. Firstly, the sections are sewn together on a flat machine, then when the upper is no longer flat but three dimensional, a post machine is used.  A post machine gets its name from the fact that the upper is actually placed on a post to give the operator all round access.  An attractive finish is now given to the upper by applying various edge treatments.  It is also at this stage that the eyelets are inserted to accommodate the laces.

The next process is the lasting and making process.  This is where the uppers are molded into shape using a “Last”.  A Last is a plastic shape that resembles a foot.  This stays in place until the shoe is fully completed and then removed to be reused.  An insole is temporarily attached to the last.  When welted shoes are manufactured, the insole has a rib attached to its upper edge.  The upper is then stretched and molded over the last and finally attached to the rib of the insole.  This is known as a lasted shoe.  Now a plastic or leather welt is sewn onto the shoe through this rib. The upper and any superfluous material is now trimmed off the seam.  The sole and the welt are then stitched together and the heel is then attached, finally completing the shoe.

Flat shoes are slightly easier to make than heeled shoes as there are fewer operations involved.  The insoles in this case are flat and the uppers are glued to the inner surface of the insole.  The part of the upper to be glued is first roughened using a wire brush to ensure a stronger bond to the insole. Soles can now be added. The soles are usually made separately and then glued in place to the completed shoe.

We now come to the Finishing Room, where the shoes are polished, stained and waxed to ensure that they are waterproof. The bottom of the soles are also stained and polished and marked with characters unique to the brand of the shoe. The inside of the shoe is finished off by inserting the inner sock; this has the manufacturing details printed on it, such as the washing instructions, size of the shoe and manufacturing place. Our shoes are finally ready for packaging.

Now we are well acquainted with the manufacturing process, one has to wonder just which kind of shoes are best for standing all day? There are a lot of shoe companies out there who manufacture shoe for just this purpose, obviously aimed at the professionals who do have stand all day. A search on the internet shows just how many people are out there worldwide in pursuit of the best shoe for standing all day.

Most agree that a good brand of sneaker and the correct insole for your foot type is the way to go. There are also numerous Safety Shoe Suppliers for those of us who work as nurses, chefs, teachers etc. The number one criteria is to do research, hear what other people say and then go and try on various brands of shoes before deciding on which shoes are the best for standing all day.  

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