FOOTWEAR CONSTRUCTIONS

THE PROCESS BEHIND FOOTWEAR PRODUCTION & CONSTRUCTION

Over the past century, the footwear production process has dramatically changed thanks to technological advancements in machinery, materials, processes and testing techniques. However, despite these new innovations, the way in which shoes are made today still follow traditional methods. Combining the old with the modern, the footwear industry has experienced a massive boom with around 22 billion pairs of footwear produced globally each year. While Asia dominates footwear production, it is in places such as Portugal, with a rich history of shoe making embedded into its culture, that are thriving thanks to their offering of quality and affordable prices. But, what exactly is needed to start producing footwear and what is the process. Here, we tell you all.

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HOW TO START THE FOOTWEAR PRODUCTION PROCESS?

Footwear production consists of multiple stages and factors that are centered around the development of a shoe style - from concept to manufacturing. Through the design, materials and production method used, a shoe takes on its desired qualities. Like anything, the process begins with an idea and a shoe design, followed by the creation of a sample. Once the shoe sample has been approved, production of the footwear styles can begin. Naturally, because all shoe types are different, the production methods differ too. Footwear production methods are selected based on the requirements of the shoe design. For example, a running sneaker would require a different sole and stitching method in comparison to a leather boot. Depending upon the specifications of the shoe, production will be carried out in a specialized factory or department dedicated to that particular construction.

shoe sample being stitched

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT FOOTWEAR PRODUCTION METHODS?
Each footwear style requires its own method of production. Inside different factories there are unique kinds of constructions used that enable any style of shoe to be built. These are the most common method of footwear production:

Cemented
The simplest and cheapest method of construction. Cemented sees parts of the glued together using strong adhesives. This process makes the shoes light and soft, however they can’t usually be resoled, making them less environmentally friendly and long lasting.

Blake/Rapid
The Blake construction is recognizable through the sole of the shoes as the insole is sewn directly to the outsole. Often, blake-stiched shoes, like loafers, don’t have additional layers of insulation above the sole.

Bologna
Similar to the Blake construction in terms of its advantages and disadvantages, the Bologna shoe construction has folded uppers that are stitched together like a sock. This is then combined with a thin leather insole allowing for an even softer shoe compared to the Blake-stiched style.

Goodyear Welted
A method in use for 400 years, the Goodyear-welted production method is one of the best known. This style of production is often seen in elegant shoes that boast a refined appearance. They are also high in durability and quite easy to repair.

Hand Welted
With a process that is identical to the Goodyear-welted method, and as the name suggests, the hand welted method is different in that it is performed entirely by hand. This is the finest construction method and is used by almost all bespoke makers. If you want a truly hand-made touch, this is your best choice.

Vulcanized
Vulcanized shoes are extremely popular in sneakers, with one of the most notable styles being the famed Converse canvas sneakers. Vulcanization involves heating rubber with certain chemicals that extend its durability and flexibility. In this process, the rubber outsole is molded first and then attached to the upper.

Norwegian
The Norwegian footwear construction process is the most complex. The technique was traditionally used for hiking boots in Northern Europe, and today the method is perfect for creating long-lasting, sturdy shoes. Norwegian construction is designed to make waterproof shoes that are tough and suitable for long usage outdoors.

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WHAT IS THE FOOTWEAR PRODUCTION PROCESS?
THE STEP-BY-STEP FOOTWEAR PRODUCTION PROCESS:

  1. Development - Beginning with an initial shoe design and concept, and following the sourcing of materials, artisans work towards  handcrafting each component of the shoe. This process includes the creation of the upper, last shape, sole, prints and patterns. Each one of these components can be customized according to your desired design with a bespoke service from beginning to end.
  2. Sample & Testing - Once the initial shoe design has been transformed  into a physical sneaker, a sample will be sent. At this stage, we will consult with you to determine any adjustments needed for the overall shoe construction. In some cases, multiple rounds are necessary. At the same time, we conduct our own quality and fit testing to make sure we perfect your sample prior to production and to maintain quality standards throughout.
  3. Production - When the sampling process is completed, we are ready for production. Depending upon the components of the shoe, each piece will be created in a dedicated factory, with the right equipment and personnel to complete the footwear production. Handmade in Portugal, our expert craftsmen and women refer to the sample to produce your finished footwear style at the highest quality. 

 

GET STARTED WITH YOUR FOOTWEAR PRODUCTION TODAY

Taking your footwear dreams into production can at first seem complex, but following a stringent process from conceptualization to production can make things easier - especially with the help of Addvance Studios. With our specialized experience in footwear development & production, we are able to efficiently develop tailored shoe requests based on your specific needs, turning your shoe designs into final footwear collections.

So, what are you waiting for? Submit your shoe design today on our dedicated website portal or reach out to us via email at [email protected] and start your footwear production process today.

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