Our stated mission at Grant Stone is to build the best footwear we are capable, relying on our past experience. It's been proven leather welted footwear, made on a proven last, will provide endless utility, comfort and reliability. Historically, during trying economic times, the "disposable" theory did not exist. A shoe purchase was considered an important investment, therefore expected to last. The ability to repair footwear was essential as "hand me downs" were a common practice.
A last is the (wood or plastic) shape that the shoe upper is built around.
Creating a last is the most tedious and critical procedure in shoe making as it represents the shoes look, fit and tread. It has been stated many times over the years, “the last comes first”.
The leather pattern which is used on the outside of the shoe. The average leather used can range from 1mm – 2.2mm thick. The particular leather shown above is a vegetable tanned article, approximately 2mm.
The leather being used inside the footwear. A substantial full grain lining near 1mm thick is not only great against the foot, it creates a backer for the upper leather which breaks and creases naturally with the upper leather.
4) Leather Heel Counters
This component is placed at the heel of the shoe between the upper and lining. It is critical in holding the heel shape and providing heel stability.
Counters can be made from many types of materials such as compressed paper, plastic and reconstituted leather. As of Spring 2016, we have chosen to cut our counters from leather sole bends. A leather heel counter will retain its shape over time providing superior heel control. If you are without heel control, comfort and support is sacrificed. The likes of premium bespoke boots and shoes have maintained this feature as heel control is imperative.
This is the component inside the shoe which your foot rests on-top of. We use a 3.5mm leather sole bend for our insole. The vegetable tanned leather insole and cork filler combination is a critical component for four reasons:
A) Weight and heat of the foot creates an impression forming to your foot over time shaping your personal orthotic.
B) Cork and leather provides insulation. Whether hot or cold, your foot will have protection.
C) The thick vegetable tanned insole is the backbone of a shoe. All components are stitched and supported indirectly by the insole. Constant torque, twisting and flexing challenge the strength of the insole.
D) A good vegetable tanned insole has minimal amounts of chrome providing a healthier environment. Your foot will be cooler on a hot 90-degree day if encompassed solely by leather. The myth being lightweight synthetic, foam lined perforated footwear is cooler on a warm day. Actually, non-leather materials will amplify heat inside the shoe, creating an odor, discomfort and possible fungus.
In a Goodyear-welt shoe, a filler or "shank cover" is needed underneath the insole. We use a cork filler as it gives the insole above a structured bed, yet can be mildly suppressed during everyday wear.
A shank offers support when weight is being transferred from the heel to the ball of the foot. The steel shank is located underneath the insole and spans from the shoe's heel through the arch area. The shank should provide support in the arch, while not hindering the flexibility in the ball area of the shoe.
This component is a strip of resilient, vegetable tanned leather. The welt is what attaches the inner components to the outer soles.
Firstly, it is stitched to the “rib” on the bottom of the insole. The welt “deck” will then be sitting around the outside of the shoe, creating a ledge. With the shoe turned upside down, you can then attach the outer soles. At last, the welt can be stitched to the outer sole, essentially locking the upper and outsole together.
This component is not a necessity. However, it can be used to offer a thicker, sturdier outsole. On average, 5mm is the thickest leather bends offered. Therefore, if a thicker outsole is desired, a midsole is then added. We prefer to use leather midsoles to match the outsole.
Our outsoles are cut from vegetable tanned bends which are roughly 5mm thick. Leather soles have been sewn onto shoes for hundreds of years and are still preferred when making high-end dress footwear. While there are many alternatives for outsoles, a leather sole offers a refined look which requires hours of shaping, sanding and finishing. When cared for properly, leather soles can be worn for great lengths of time in all types of climates. Allowing your soles to fully dry naturally may be the most important details in caring for your footwear.
The heel is made up of multiple layers of leather, combined with a dovetail (rubber) insert. Each layer is cut from the leather sole bend, as we do not use leather constitute. This not only ensures a great adhesion but the heel stack appearance will be uniform with the midsole and outsole. Solid brass nails are used on the “toplift” (final, bottom layer of the heel) to further strengthen the stack.