Artisan, Behind the Scenes, How Shoes are Made

How Leather Soles are Made

The story of leather is as old as humanity itself. As early as Stone age, humans discovered various uses of leather and tried to find ways of making it flexible, hard-wearing and durable.

The craft of tanning has always been closely associated with shoemaking. The earliest evidence we have about the trade comes from the Egyptian wall paintings. In Egypt, as in ancient Greece and Rome, the most common preservation technique were vegetable tanning. Expansive leather was tanned with alum (a mineral salt).

Whether vegetable or mineral tanning, the essential feature of the main tanning procedures have not changed to the present day. Just like the art of shoemaking, the craft of the modern tanner has a history and tradition going back thousands of years.

In this post, I would like to share with you how leather soles are made. It was my first experience in a tannery (factory processing leather) and the raw cow skins presented a curious sight as I was not used to it.

Note: Reader discretion is advised when viewing photos.

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