Blog # 209 I talked about next up we tour a last factory. In this blog I want to talk about how today we tour several shoe factories.
The following day we were picked up after breakfast to tour several shoe factories and a box factory. We started out in an area of Dongguan known for its shoe factories. There was a large shoe on a pedestal to signify this.
There are several steps that need to happen before the shoe is even constructed in the factory. First the hides to be used are usually stored in a storage room organized by the type of leather it is. The hide is taken to the cutting room first. Here they outline the patterns to be cut on the hide using a marker.
Blocks of each piece/pattern are placed on leather then outlined on the entire skin. The goal is to use as much of each skin as possible. The hide is then placed in a machine that stamps the patterns using a metal blade. The machine comes down with tremendous force to cut the leather. and then pressed by machine to cut.
Each piece of the cut leather is placed through a machine that makes the thickness the same and consistent. Then each piece runs through a sewing-like machine to cut all around the edges of each piece, creating seam allowance (seam allowance is cut thinner to be to fold over the last. Interface and sole cushion is done the same way.
Each piece is organized in bins. Each bin will have all the components to make one shoe. The bins are sent to the “stitching room”
The assembly line will stitch and put together all the pieces of leather in a “stitching room”. This room is full of sewing machines and the workers stitch together the pieces before they go to the shoe line. The stitched pieces are then grouped together by the last they will go on. It was really amazing to see what the process was to make a shoe.
Rob and Matt explained every station to us while I video taped it for the buyers at home. Rob was definitely in his element here as “Retail Rob” came out once again. It was a great experience and I’m glad I got to share it with my “Shoe Dog Mentor”. Next up we would go to the shoe line where all the pieces we saw so far would be put together to make the finished pair of shoes. We had a few other facories to go as well so it would be a long but interesting day.
SIZES... SIZES... SIZES... SIZES...
…just sharing my story and tips from my footwear career.
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