The precise manual tasks necessary in manufacturing a pair of men’s bespoke shoes of the highest quality are so numerous that the term semi-handmade footwear makes perfect sense.
It is clear that we have to integrate progress and technological improvements to the manufacturing processes of artisanal footwear.
On the other hand, it is also evident that we must be faithful to our essence, to the tradition and know-how of our expert craftsmen. In Cambrillón, we are proud of our arstisanal essence and heritage, striving to preserve and add value to our tradition and know-how, so that our heritage remains unchanged over the pass of time.
In this brief shoe glossary, we want to offer a brief guide on the different parts, steps and processes involved in the manufacturing process of a pair of bespoke shoes for men.
A tassel is a trim of leather formed by a group or tuft of thin strips of leather secured by a knot and stitched to the vamp
It is the measurement or space between the last and the shoe from which the shoe adapts to the foot or to the last without oppression. At Cambrillón we produce our shoes in a variety of widths for each length, in order to satisfy the requirements of the most difficult fits.
In English known as shank, the Cambrillón is the support that is applied to the narrowest part of the insole, positioned between the heel and the ball of the foot, parallel with the arch.
It is a piece usually made of leather, brushed cloth or cotton fabric that reinforces the shoe, at the heel. It is a support which is inserted in the heel between the lining and the upper to stiffen the latter.
The upper part of the shoe, including the lining, trimming and accessories, in contrast to the sole.
This term refers to the frontal part of the heel, specifically focusing at the area that forms a space which can be more or less accentuated.
It is the frontal part of the upper part of the shoe, referring precisely to the box or place that goes from the instep to the end of the fingers. It is the area where any decorative element is placed, such as broguing, laces, buckles or tassels. The term toecap applies when a piece of leather is sewn on the top of the box towards the end of the fingers, always with an ornamental purpose. The vamp can also be plain, meaning that no decorative elements have been used.
The point of the foot which is most arched and narrow, which in the shoe will be the narrowest part, more evident when seen from the sole upwards.
Lasting sole and welted sole
The first is a 4 mm thick insole usually made of rubber, while the welted sole can be of rubber or leather. In between them, a thin layer of leather or cork is placed in order to compensate for the height difference between the sole and the interior.
They are pieces of leather or any other material that are applied in the cut, for ornamental purposes, such as kilties or tassels.
Inner part of the upper, usually made of leather that will be in direct contact with the foot.
It is a decorative element that consists of a series of cuts of the same length, or of different lengths determined according to the desired decorative design. This decorative element is attached to the upper part between the instep and the tip of the shoe.
Strip usually made from the same material as the upper. The tongue is stitched to the vamp, running parallel to the closure of the shoe intended to protect the instep.
Brogueing refers to a specific ornamental technique based on making decorative perforations on the leather, usually only at the vamp and quarters using an awl and a cord.
Quarters or Quarter panels refer to each of the two symmetrical rear parts of the upper. For example, in Derby shoes, the quarters overlap the vamp while on the Oxford shoe, quarters do not overlap with the vamp, ending right before the trimming, so that once laced up, they overlap the tongue.
Refers to the curved part of the sole, right between the heel and the ball of the foot.
Tanning and dividing
These are some of the first steps of the tanning process. After the first tanning process, the leather is divided horizontally obtaining leather of a uniform thickness. Once divided, the leather will enter the first colouring steps of the tanning process; setting the base for a material that can then be prepared for the different dyes and desired finishing.
It refers to the part of the shoe that touches the ground, usually made of strong leather. The term sole refers to the set of separate components that make up the sole.
Piece, of greater or lesser height, attached to the sole of the shoe in the part that corresponds to the back of the foot. The top of the heel is the piece that closes the bottom of the heel of the shoe and is in direct contact with the ground.
A thermo-bondable sheet that serves as support, placed on the front part of the shoe between the lining and the shovel.
To obtain a top quality material, such as Top grain or top grain leather, a layer of full grain leather has to be removed so that the leather is made thinner and more flexible. The outer surface is sanded to eliminate imperfections and a finishing treatment is added to make it feel “cooler” and with a silkier touch.
Despite being a great material for making shoes, given its finishing process, using top grain leather will prevent us from developing a patina finishing.
The welt is made from flexible leather, following the outline of the sole. While the upper and insole are stitched onto one side, the sole is stitched onto the other side of the welt. The final stichtching processes will depend on the welt selected: Goodyear or Blake.