Shoemaking – 150 manufacturing steps to make the perfect shoe – shoemaking at Sioux
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150 manufacturing steps to make the perfect shoe – shoemaking at Sioux

There are lots of steps involved in making a shoe. From developing the model in the first instance, to the stamping, sewing and putting the finishing touches to the shoe at the very end.

Until the middle of the 19th century, every shoe was individually made to measure by shoemakers. Today, specialized departments take care of every single step.

Every shoe is made of two main components, the upper (the shaft) and the base (the sole). A high-quality shoe must go through a large number of manufacturing steps until the end product is created. The Grashopper alone, for example, consists of 30 individual components and around 150 manufacturing steps. Other models vary, depending on the  style in question.

As soon as each department is finished with their assigned task, the shoe is passed on to the next manufacturing stage.

However, even the best manufacturing process is redundant if the materials being processed are of low quality. This is why we rely on high-quality leather, manufactured in European tanneries, which boast a sustainable environmental management system.


Even before the material or the colour of a shoe is chosen, the initial concepts for the design and the lasts must be developed. The model development department is responsible for all of these steps.


The stamping department cuts or stamps the leather to create individual components needed for the shoe upper (shaft). These parts are either cut out by hand or using a laser cutter (this usually takes place during the preparatory stages and prototype manufacture) or are stamped using a punching knife (in batch production).


The assembly department is the heart of shoe production, where the shoe upper (upper part of the shoe) and sole become the finished shoe. Also in the assembly of shoes most of the work steps are carried out in skilled manual work.


As the name implies, the finishing department is the final stage of the entire footwear manufacturing process. It is the final stage before creating the end product – it all comes down to the finishing. This is the stage where the final look of the shoe is created, and where it gets its final touches. The high-quality fats and creams are applied here, giving the leather depth, protection and radiance.


Lasts are moulds that are modelled on the foot, and every shoe is constructed around these lasts.


The sewing department receives the (cut-out) individual components of the the upper shoe from the stamping department. This is done manually using a sewing machine.


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