Those wise words, said to me by Father when I was a mere slip of a boy, have always stayed with me. I’m not sure I’ve ever really grown up, but I am lucky enough to be doing something I truly love: designing and making shoes.
To be fair, shoemaking is in my blood. My Father and Grandfather were both shoemakers and I’ve been in the business for over 30 years.
They have used some of the finest leathers available for our flawless leather collection, the box calf is from the Weinheimer tannery in southwestern Germany, which has been perfecting its art for over 150 years. This leather is considered amongst the best in the world and derives from alpine cattle that graze at over 1500m, free from ticks and flies, ensuring a flawless finish.
Paired with the ever-reliable Goodyear Welted construction, a tradition dating back over 150 years. The outer sole is attached by stitching through rand, midsole and sole around the outside of the shoe. This keeps water away from the upper, resulting in a sturdy and practical construction, that can be resoled many times.
This Italian speciality dates from the early 1900s. The upper is stitched to a soft leather sock rather than a traditional insole board, to form a 'glove'. This is then Blake Stitched from the inside of the shoe to the sole. The resultant sleek profile produces an exceptionally comfortable formal shoe.
Oliver Sweeney's factories
Le Marche, Italy
Our family run, artisan factory in Le Marche excels in tradition. Skilful hand finishing and time honoured shoe making techniques have been passed from generation to generation.
The factory specialises in high specification formal footwear, with Blake stitched and Blogna constructions Bologna contractions, but they are also masters of clean cut casuals with hand antiqued finishes. The level of craftsmanship and attention to detail make Italy an ideal choice for new concepts and ranges.
Unlike a vulcanised construction where the sole is baked onto the upper, their cupsoles are made in the traditional way. The upper is lasted to a soft insole, the cupsole is then secured by stitching around the top of the rim to the upper. This produces a comfortable, practical shoe with a more refined look.
Taking the principals of the Goodyear welted method the Norwegian welt includes an extra visible stitch row. Instead of disappearing under the upper, the welt is stitched from the outside of the shoe through the upper and the ridge on the insole. This forms a protective lip around the join of the upper to the sole. The upper is then stitched to the outsole through the welt and midsole. A durable and practical construction ideal for hiking boots and sturdy outdoor shoes.
This ancient, simple construction is associated with the traditional footwear of the native North American population. The leather is wrapped underneath the foot and stitched to the apron on top of the foot, forming a ‘sock’. The construction doesn’t require an insole board, so is flexible and comfortable. In modern times the upper is stitched from the inside through a sole.
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