The making of Tricker's

260 processes

Tricker's shoes and boots are made to last. Looked after properly, there’s no reason why a pair of Tricker’s couldn’t last you a lifetime. This is thanks to the incredible care and attention lavished on every Tricker’s boot or shoe  by their craftsmen and women in Northampton – the traditional home of English shoes. Every single pair of Tricker’s boots or shoes is the result of 260 individual processes. All of them are carried out by master shoemakers who have learned their trade over many years.

Clicking

It takes years to develop the skill to cut out the distinctive patterns of Tricker’s hand-made shoes and boots. Tricker's clickers have to judge which direction to cut the leather in, and how the piece of hide they are working with will stretch to fit the foot perfectly. Only once they are satisfied will a clicker sharpen their blade and set to work, cutting against the brass-bound edge of their pattern, making the distinctive ‘clicking’ sound that gives their craft its name.

Closing

Sewing together the different pattern pieces to create a single upper for a shoe or boot is a craft that takes years to learn. This is where Tricker's shoemakers add eyelets, rivets and the brogue patterns that make every pair of Tricker’s stand out. It’s also the part of their factory where ‘skiving’, the painstaking process of hand-thinning leather takes place. Once the uppers are closed, they are hung for a few days to moisturise, so that the leather will always be supple and flexible. Every pair is then hand-labelled, giving it a unique identity.

Lasting

Tricker's shoemakers then stretch the uppers onto individual lasts, It’s a delicate operation that requires a brilliant eye, heat, moisture and a touch of force. The upper is then secured to the woven rib on the insole with small nails and staples to hold the shoe together temporarily. The welt joins insole to upper on every pair of Tricker’s shoes and boots, the sole is then stitched directly onto the welt. 

Welting

The shoemakers now add a wooden shank to the sole, making the shoe strong and supportive. The cavity between welt and insole is then filled with a layer of cork resin, which moulds to the wearer’s foot, providing insulation and comfort. The cork is then covered with a leather mid-sole for protection. At this stage the chosen sole is added – whether leather or rubber – and excess is rounded off and lock-stitched to the welt. After a number of days drying, the heels are gradually built up and added to each shoe or boot. Because their welted shoes are sewn rather than glued together, a skilled craftsman or woman can unstitch and repair them whenever it is required. Now, it is ready for finishing.

Finishing

Each pair of Tricker's shoes & boots are hand finished by one of their shoemakers, who trim the soles and heels and buff the edges until they are smooth. It can take years of experience and a very good eye to master this traditional freehand skill. Tricker's craftsmen and women then stain, polish and wax the leather uppers to create a water resistant finish, before ‘bunking’ the soles by adding decorative patterns with tools heated over a naked flame.

The Shoe Room

In the shoe room, the sock liner is fitted to the insoles for added comfort. The finished pair is then cleaned, and the uppers are dressed to create a patina using our unique blend of creams and polishes. After hanging overnight one last time to moisturise the shoes or boots are hand polished and burnished to give them their final distinctive lustre. Then they must pass a final inspection before they are laced, wrapped in cotton cloth and packed into their box together with their Tricker’s shoe bags. After 260 different processes, all carried out by hand, another pair of Tricker’s hand made shoes or boots are finally ready for dispatch.


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