Creating the finest shoes requires a tremendous amount of time and dedication to source the best materials and techniques. We concentrate on creating timeless designs with best possible materials for the modern gentlemen.
First Part is always the most difficult one, and buying leather is certainly one of them. Every piece of leather we use must pass four prestigious barriers; they must be able to repel moisture, breathe, hold their shape and most importantly, age delicately. The only way to find such quality was to travel the globe in search of the finest materials that money can acquire. We stumbled upon three tanneries which were able to supply us with the premium leather needed. The third supplier was closer to home, Premier in Pakistan, one of the world’s largest exporters of tanned leather for the footwear industry.
Once all materials have reached our workshop, we begin the process which includes over 45 steps and more than 100 hours of skilled hands-on craftsmanship. The only way to create shoes of distinction is to use the traditional methods which have been perfected over hundreds of years.
We use the age-old ‘cemented hand sewn’ technique to create every shoe. This enables us also to design both sleeker Italian styles with English class of welted shoes. There are multiple steps to this process, each requiring a perfected skill set. We begin by preparing the upper part of the boot, all work is completed by hand to get the perfect design. The uppers are always hand sewn with high attention to detail and intensity of work; with some uppers having over 120 brogues punched in various sizes. After which, the stiffeners are added between upper and lining in the heel and toe area, which helps both parts to retain their shape after years of wearing. Both sections are then merged with a paste and sewn together.
To create the perfect fit, we use a fundamental technique called lasting. This process moulds the shoe to a dimension of a foot, and with over 50 different lasts in our workshop, we can ensure a tailored fit for any client. We choose to hand last each shoe; this provides highly defined curves and angles in every shoe. This whole process requires attention to detail throughout and is the most important part of ensuring our unmatched standards are met. The last will remain in the shoe throughout the rest of the process, until the shoe is ready for packing. Before the final shoe is created, our trademark vegetable tanned sole and stacked leather heels are sanded to a smooth and professional finish.
A leather welt can be attached to the upper to allow the shoe to be easily repaired and more weather resistant. It is easy to tell, whether the British or the Italians created this technique. After the welt is attached, the sole is hand stitched to the upper and midsole.
The trademark of our shoes lies in the style and quality. However, what you cannot see is the comfort and luxury felt by all who wear a Retro Cordwainers shoe. We use a multi-layered sole. Made with the finest vegetable tanned bovine hides, from French and alpine grazed calf’s. Not only is it shock absorbent and durable, but it is the number one reason why we are known for sophisticated comfort in our leather shoes.
The final process of making, before the product is dispatched, ensures the shoe is perfect. We hand polish and burnish each shoe to give the sleek natural appearance while simultaneously protecting it from the elements. Quality control takes precedence at Retro Cordwainers. Our director inspects every aspect of the shoe to ensure that no stitch is wrong, no folds uneven and that the shoes are an extension of the elegance and class each customer already carries. No shoe is overlooked.