Our Process

A lot of the tools may have changed since we built our first shoes back in 1922, but the quality and integrity that go into our practice remain exactly the same. Handcrafting a great pair of footwear calls for precision over speed and careful attention to detail not cutting corners. We’re proud to share the steps we take to ensure that we continue to make the very best footwear, right here in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

Hand-selecting the Leather

It all starts with a careful inspection of each hide, looking for flaws or areas of discoloration that could affect the look of the final shoe. All the pieces for the upper and lining are then cut out of the leather and expertly sewn together.

Building on Our Signature Lasts

Next the uppers are stretched over foot-shaped forms called lasts that give the shoe its shape. Our lasts are completely unique to us and specially developed to accommodate a full range of styles for all types of feet. To ensure everyone can get the perfect fit, more than 40,000 individual lasts are used in our factory to cover the full range of extended sizes and widths we offer. After the shoe has been lasted, the uppers are attached to the insoles.

Constructing Our 360° Goodyear Bench Welt

The labor-intensive method used to make our Bench Welt is one of the most important parts of our process. A strip of leather, called the welt, is sewn around the full circumference of the uppers, forming a space under the insole that’s filled with cork and other innovative materials that will mold to your feet over time, creating a custom fit. Not only does this make our styles sturdier and more supportive right out of the box, it also allows our experts to recraft our shoes and boots in the future, extending the lifespan of your favorite footwear.

Attaching the Soles

In the last step of the welting process, the soles are sewn directly to the welt, affixing them to the uppers. Heels are added to the soles and both are trimmed to the shape of the shoe.

Adding the Finishing Touches

Depending upon the style, the completed shoes are then hand polished and burnished. As a final step, every detail of our footwear is thoroughly scrutinized to ensure that it measures up to our exacting standards.

Our Commitment to Quality

The team in Port Washington takes you through our quality control process.