Saturday, September 15

A lament for the western heels

Hi everyone,
It's almost three months since my last post. There's been some dramatic changes to my current hobby: making fine bespoke ladies shoes, as I've been kicked out of my employer's shop to pursue my hobby elsewhere. As I'm writing, I've still no actual working space so it makes it somewhat impossible to continue. I managed to get a hold of a post bed sewing machine, but I noticed that it's not reliable enough for my needs. But scarce as resources are, I'll maybe forced to use it.

As for the pause in posts I think there's just no excuse. I've chosen to have an ambitious hobby of making fine heels and keeping a blog about it, and that's only my choice: so I can't complain.

On with the business:
Last year my employer had promised to have bespoke shoes made by our shop to one of our employees. Well the project had been delayed for various reasons, until in may of this year someone approached me with it;

"Otso, could you make these shoes?"

So I started right off by taking measurements and ink prints of her feet and ordered the lasts from Minke, germany. Minke provides an excellent service wherein you can send an ink print of the feet and measurements and they pick a last for you that's closest to what you require. Neat. They reply to emails quickly and are prompt on shipments and answering questions. The lasts that they send were so fitting that I only changed the tip to my liking. Hooray!

The client's criteria for the shoes:
-some heel
-western boot theme shoes
- no laces
- some flashing detail

Now, from those I had a vision which is the drawing above. I was satisfied as it took only couple of minutes.
The red area is supposed to be somekind of a floral leather carving inlay.
A top sketching view.

The lasts with the tips redone to look more like western boots.

I tried a new approach to the tip by casting polyurethane foam hartz, which is durable enough for shoemaking.
Well the foam didn't work the best as there obviously was some moisture left on the wood and the foam reacted with it and became really soft and crumbly near the wood. That's why I patched it with some rubber cork sheets.

Minke also provided some nice fitting heels for the lasts, which made my work a lot easier. Again.
Here you can see the orthopedic insole sandwiched between the last and the lasting insole.

With the lasting insole, I used (again) an oak tanned leather base with thin sheets of carbon-fibre plating for stiffening. The steel shank has been laminated between two coats of carbon-fibre, and the reason why the sheet runs all the way to the tip is because it will hopefully prevent the tip from twisting upwards from use.

Some profile shaping of the insole. Notice how the thickness runs to almost zero after the heels front edge (marked with a pencil), and then goes back to full thickness on the ball, and shoots to zero towards the tip. I wanted to accent the aggressive shape starting from the ball.