Why we still make shoes from elephants

A Norwegian welted shoe I made using a chain stitch. All stitches were done by hand.
An attempt to shape and smooth the sole of a shoe. Glass and sandpaper is used to perform this function. You can also see wooden nails in the heel here. The nails come from Germany and are made from Lemon trees.
A Norweigan stitched shoe I made. I abandoned this because the way I cut the cork inside made the shoes squeak incorrectly as they walk.
Dying cut leather from a pattern is turned into the upper part of the shoe.
Photo by: Yohei Fukuda. Bespoke / Elephant leather whole cut oxford made by Yohei Fukuda.
Just before I begin the Goodyear welting process of stitching the actual shoe to the sole. This part is very stressful and requires you to work quickly while the sole is wet. It took me about a year to realise you had to soak the leather overnight instead of just wetting it with a brush.
Some boots I made, probably one of the better shoes I had made that were painful to use because I messed up the pattern. The shoe is just too high and cuts into your foot as you bend it.
Because only certain kinds of the hide can be used for toe caps, for instance, it means you waste a lot of the hide because only certain parts can be used for specific parts of the shoe. The whole process is very wasteful and inefficient. Being able to grow leather, at specific thicknesses, will make shoemaking vastly more productive.

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Brad Dunn

Brad Dunn

Product Management Executive 🖥 Writer 📚 Tea nerd 🍵 Machine Learning Enthusiast 🤖