The making of a Duo boot
Our boots are known and loved for their quality, craftsmanship and fit. We’ve worked with some of the same family-run factories in a well-renowned shoe making area of Northern Portugal for over 10 years. Over this time we’ve continually improved the fit and quality of our boots, for a finished product our customers love.
It takes a whole team of people to create every single calf-fitting boot and ankle boot. Each craftsperson in the process has a unique skill; whether they are last makers or pattern cutters, their intricate work is essential to achieving our unique DuoBoots fit. Our British designers in Somerset enjoy a close relationship with our factories, and often pay a visit to them to see how their designs are being brought to life. On their latest trip to Portugal they took a few snaps… so we can show you what happens behind the scenes!
If you’ve ever wondered how a Duo boot is made… read on!
Every boot starts its journey with a last. This is the form that the boot is shaped around. Traditionally made from wood, nowadays they’re made from plastic. The last determines the heel height and toe shape of the boot, as well as the fit around the foot (ie. the width of the boot) and the length. The skill of the last maker is imperative as their styling sets the tone for the whole look of the boot, as well as the fit and the comfort.
For example, if we want to put extra padding into a shoe, this needs to be considered at this stage and factored into the last. Every shoe made on that last from then on will need to have the same padding, or the fit will be affected. It’s at this stage that we collaborate very closely with our factories to ensure we achieve the fit we are looking for.
Once a design concept has been created the last is ‘taped up’; this is when strips of masking tape cover the whole last so the design can be drawn onto the last by the pattern cutter.
This design is then carefully cut off the last and translated into pattern pieces. The final task for the pattern cutter is to adjust the patterns to fit across all foot and calf sizes.
Pattern making is an incredibly skilled job; every millimetre will affect another part of the boot as well as the over all aesthetic and fit. At DuoBoots, we have been working with the same pattern cutters for many years now, so they know our style and have helped to perfect our unique ‘bespoke feel’.
The next stage is to cut the leather out from the patterns the pattern cutter has created. For larger scale pieces, metal cutters are made and a large machine presses the cutter into the leather. For smaller jobs a craftsman known as a ‘clicker’ will cut by hand using the traditional method of a clicking knife.
A ‘clicker’ is the person that cuts the leather out – before machinery came along this was a job done by hand and this name came from the noise made by lots of people cutting leather out in a room – a tapping buzz of clicks from the metal blades hitting the cutting mats.
This is where the boot starts taking shape. The cut out pieces of leather are taken to the closing room, ready to be sewn together. Metal trims and fastenings are stitched into the leather, the leather upper pieces are put together and finally, the lining is attached.
The last is prepped with an insole board and a metal or wooden shank (depending on heel height of the boot), these are then secured to the base of the last. Next, the lining is attached ensuring there are no creases or wrinkles, and stiffeners are added to the toe and heel area of the last. Finally the upper leather is carefully secured over the last.
These days, machines are usually used for this process, whilst traditional shoemakers would have done this by hand with lasting pincers and tacks.
The final step is to attach the soles and heels. There are many different types of soles and heels that we choose for our boots, and each has a different method of attachment.
A finished pair of Duo boots! The boots are then put through quality control, polished up and hand finished, before being carefully packed into our DuoBoots boxes… ready to begin their journey across Europe, to our warehouse in Frome, Somerset and our store in Bath.
Are you still looking for your perfect pair of boots for this autumn / winter? Take a look at the calf-fitting boots and ankle boots in our AW18 collection.