Boot Making

Making Boots

There are anywhere from 80-110 steps used in producing a single boot. This section is a brief overview of the major steps in boot making.

  • There are two basic types of boot construction - welted and cemented.  Welted construction means that the welt part of the upper on the boot is stitched to the sole. A cemented construction means that the upper itself is glued to the sole. Many cemented boots are stitched to give the look of being welted. Now, on to boot making.
  • The cutting department does just that - it cuts all the upper materials used to make a pair of boots. A cutting die or pattern creates the unique elements of the different styles of boots.
  • Next, the boot parts are sent to the pre-fit department where the parts are partially assembled and the linings are cemented to the upper parts. If the style requires a medallion on the vamp it is stitched at this time.
  • While the upper parts are in pre-fit, the insoles and outsoles are cut and prepared for the lasting department.
  • Many western boot styles have a fancy stitch design on the quarter. This is done using a computer fancy stitch machine that receives electronic instructions from a standard audio cassette tape.
  • The next step is the fitting department where the upper parts of the boots are finally assembled. First, the decorative stitching is done to the foxing and the counter pocket is stitched inside the back quarters. The front and back quarters are attached using side welting. The upper is then turned right side out in preparation for the lasting department.
  • The insole, outsole, last and upper all come together in the lasting department. First a cemented box toe is inserted into the vamp section where it is pressed and formed. Next, the insoles are tacked to the last and the upper is attached with hot cement. The shank is then attached. The boots are visually inspected to make sure that the leather is pulled firmly over the last and any excess leather is trimmed.
  • The boots are then moved to the bottoming department where the outsole is stitched to the uppers and the heel is nailed on. The boot edges are then trimmed, scoured and inked for an attractive finish. The last is pulled and the boots are sent to packing.
  • Finally the boots are in the packing department. Here the boots are made ready for packing. They are cleaned, logo stamped, receive a final coat of sealer and final inspection. The boots are then packed and transported to the distribution center for shipment to customers.


Boot Care Basics

Q: Are petroleum oils good?
A: Petroleum oils are incompatible to skins or hides. They have a drying effect on leather.

Q: When should silicone sprays be used?
A: Silicone is O.K. to use on split leathers. Sometime silicones can be recommended for outdoor work purposes.

Q: If boots get wet, what can I do?
A: Let them dry naturally. Do not set them near heat or direct sunlight.

Q: What causes dry rot or cracking?
A: Dirt and dust that collect in the fiber structure can actually cut at leather surfaces like sandpaper.

Q: How can I get rid of scuff marks?
A: Scuff marks generally come off with a soft pencil eraser.

Q: What causes snake skin scales to lift up?
A: Snake skin moves the way the foot flexes. The scales will develop a "characteristic" that conforms to the wearer's foot.

Q: How often should exotics be conditioned?
A: Exotics should be conditioned often, or whenever they look or feel dry.


Boot Care Don'ts

  • Never use a wet cloth.
  • Never use petroleum based products. Over time they can weaken leather.
  • Don't store near heat or direct sun.
  • Don't store in cold or damp places. Boots will mildew.
  • Don't store in plastic where boots cannot air out properly.

How to Fit Boots  |  Making Boots  |  Parts of the Boot
Boot Care Basics  |  Leather Types   |  Boot Facts Index | Boot Glossary
Boot Care for Different Types of Leathers

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