© Geo J Cox Ltd 2016

In the Clicking Department at the 1st stage of production, the shoe uppers and linings are cut. The ‘Clicker’ is a highly skilled operative; named after the ‘click’ sound which the hand cutting knife makes as it is removed from the leather. The Clicker is responsible for examining the leather for any defects, scars or growth marks before each pair is cut by hand. A good clicker needs to be knowledgeable about the nature of leather, in order to maximise the usage whilst retaining the utmost quality

At the next stage of production the uppers are ‘closed’. Closing involves many different operations such as punching holes for interlaced styles, beading (folding) the edges, machine stitching sections together to form the shoe upper and fitting eyelets. The Closing Room machinists are highly skilled requiring excellent hand and eye coordination.

The lasting process is where the shoe begins to take shape. The upper of the shoe is pulled over at the toe by the lasting machine, before being side lasted by hand. It is vital for the toe laster to ensure that the shoe upper is fitted accurately to the last.  An important process in this department is ‘Welt Sewing’ where the operative stitches the welt (a strip of leather or plastic) to the rib on the insoles. The welt is a key element in the Goodyear Welted process. The bottoms of the shoes are filled with cork or felt, and wooden shanks are inserted to provide support beneath the insoles. The soles are then stitched or welded to the welt. This method allows for the soles to be removed for repair in some cases without affecting the uppers.

In the Finishing Department the edges are trimmed for a smooth finish and crepe “foxings” attached by hand as appropriate. Here the lasts are removed from the shoes.  dge trimming is a highly skilled and physical process, whereby the sole edges are trimmed to the specific shape of the last. This is done ‘free hand’ like many other operations in Goodyear Welted shoe making.

In the Shoe Room the uppers of the shoes are cleaned, in-socks are fitted and laces added before the shoes are boxed.

The craft of shoemaking