Traditional tools

The artisanal production of footwear is a complex process that has maintained the same stages of production for centuries, and that requires shoemakers very special skills achieved after years of learning. To carry out this whole process, in the past it was common for all family members and some helpers to collaborate, sharing the tasks between men, women and children. First, the shoemaker took the customer’s measurements, made the patterns from the chosen design and prepared the skin cuts. A former had previously been in charge of making the form. Later, the women were in charge of sewing by hand or machine the leather cuts that the men then assembled, nailing them to the shape of the wood, and also sewing the insoles, the tour and the sole. It was also the women’s own work related to finishing the shoe, such as painting and cleaning shoes. The children, on the other hand, took care of the simplest tasks such as gluing or picking up the materials.

The Museum of Footwear and Industry has a wide selection of tools for the manual manufacture of footwear dating from the twentieth century provided by former shoemakers in the region, which show the large number of specific subprocesses needed to the making of footwear in the traditional way.