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In the strongest possible contrast to the factory-made article, a pair of our handmade shoes are a work of art, unique to their owner. They are created by the close teamwork of a number of specialised craftsmen, all of whom have served long apprenticeships to acquire their particular skills.
First, the customer’s feet will be measured and examined by the fitter, who meticulously notes the precise statistics of each foot, recording not only its basic dimensions but every individual feature.
The fitter’s measurements, tracings and notes will go to the last-maker, whose brilliance rests in his ability to use such data in carving a solid block of well-grained maple, beech or hornbeam into a precisely contoured model of the customer’s foot; outlines, indentations, protrusions and all. The individual last thus created is used to construct a first pair of shoes and will be added to the many thousands of lasts retained on the Lobb shelves; ensuring that subsequent pairs can be made to the same standards of closeness and comfort.
Lasts are then passed into the capable and dextrous hands of the pattern cutter, under whose eye the pattern will be cut to not only the specifications of the last, but to those of style the customer has chosen.
Another of these trade aristocrats is the quaintly named clicker; a lover of leather whose experience of the properties of hides and skins enables him to pattern, choose and cut the eight pieces of leather used in the upper part of each shoe. Because of his experience of the various colours, weights, grains and flexibilities of the leathers, only he can help to ensure the smartness and durability of a shoe in which material is perfectly matched to function.
The sewing, stiffening, lining and final shaping of the clicker’s pieces around the last, are the responsibility of the closer. The closer cuts, skives and stitches the upper part of the shoe; ensuring its strength and lasting distinction.
The uppers and lasts are passed to the rough stuff cutter who selects and trims all the materials which make up the bottom of the shoes. This includes parts such as the welt, the stiffeners, the lifting for the heels, and the inner and outer soles. Only the best quality oak bark tanned sole leather is used, with each part carefully selected and cut.
The maker takes the carefully-assembled upper and adds the essential long-wearing Lobb sole - made of the best English oak bark tanned leather - and the layered, riveted heel. So precise is the work of a Lobb maker that he can tell you the exact number of stitches to the inch needed to give maximum strength to the union of sole and upper on any particular shoe.
The socker fits the thin piece of leather to cover the innersole. It’s this piece that carries the shop’s name and the royal warrants printed in gold. He will also fit any padding or metatarsal pads that the customer may require.
The tree maker will fit wooden shoe trees exactly to each individual pair of shoes, thus maintaining the shape of the shoes and prolonging their life for many years to come.
The polisher brings the shoes to their final pristine glory, and with that, another pair of Lobb shoes has been born. A process which has lasted months, compared with the factory articles produced in minutes, has resulted in an individual masterpiece – a Rembrandt compared with a penny print.
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9 St. James’s Street