Our favorite shoemaker got a new website and to celebrate this Michael Rollig, the founder of Saint Crispin’s – the Austrian company who is making one of the most exclusive and finest bespoke shoes in the world – shares a little history with Anothersomething in this special feature.
‘Saint Crispin’s are are craftsman of shoes, which are made exclusively with hand tools and one or two hand-driven auxiliary machines. We are not talking about hand-finished factory-made shoes offered by many proprietary shoemakers as made to measure shoes. Therefore we are shoemakers in the true sense of the word, and not shoe manufacturers…
The following list of working phases should give you an impression of the time expenditure necessary for the first pair of shoes. The working time then decreases to about 7 hours for every further pair.
Measuring and customer care 0.5 hrs.
Building of last and pattern cutting 8 hrs.
Making of trial shoe 2 hrs.
Fitting 0.5 hrs.
Preparation and upper leather cutting 1 hrs.
Closing of the upper 3 hrs.
Making of shoe 22 hrs.
Polish and finishing 1 hrs.
Making of hollowed shoe trees 8 hrs.
That makes about 46 hours altogether.
In comparison, building a proper violin takes about 120 hours, and a good tailored suit some 36 hours to make….
The shoemaker, contrary to the fashion designer, does not have an anonymous ideal customer in mind, but real individuals with feet belonging to them which want to be shod. As initially mentioned at the beginning, the last is an expression of the foot, the shoe therefore an expression of the last, and thus the made to measure shoe an integral part of its wearer. This is exactly what makes made to measure shoes so exclusive. They are made for a certain person, by a certain person. A well-made shoe emphasizes the physiognomy favourably, but does not retouch it…
Of course the shoe is not only the inevitable result of the feet. The handwriting of the shoemaker also plays a decisive role. The style of the shoemaker has usually developed very slowly, dependant also on his professional origin and tradition, and on his clientele. He will build the nicest shoes when a customer has recognised and appreciated that his handwriting is the right one for him. On this basis, the leather, colour, model and taste can then be discussed. I hope that I have given you a good impression of our handicraft with this small excursion into the making of made to measure shoes. For some people it may seem anachronistic, but for myself and many of our customers it gives much pleasure and satisfaction, for the very reason that it is different to many other industrial products…’
These are excerpts of the online story on Saint Crispin’s website.