This Factory Produces about 5000 pairs of Sneakers in One Day
From comfort to fashion, we all need and use shoes every single day. But do we ever stop to think about how shoes are made? And as importantly, how are they made so quickly?
The evolution of how shoes are made has jumped forward in leaps and bounds. Nowadays, blending both hand-crafted and machine-made methods has sped up this process. In the past, shoes were solely made by hand, crafted to each person's foot shape – especially for royalty. Nowadays, you pay a pretty price for custom-made shoes, and even if you're not purchasing tailored shoes, you likely own various pairs of shoes for various occasions.
Even though the production of shoes has significantly moved forward, every shoe concept needs to be taken into account, mock-ups created, and models drawn to see how the shoe will look, fit, and feel before it can move on to the next step of production.
Once a shoe concept is given the green light, it's time for the digital design stage. Here, 2D parts are carefully cut using laser machines or serial cutting blades. These cut pieces are then put together to create the 3D shape of the future shoe before they are stitched together.
Fun fact: the stitching process of shoes is still completed by hand.
After this stage is done, the complete assembly of the shoe then happens.
The first station of the assembly line consists of wrapping and gluing the top and bottom edges of the shoe upper with a special material to bind the outsole. The outsole then has a high-performance universal adhesive applied to it before it is attached to the rest of the shoe. A vacuum sealer is then used to make sure the bond is as strong as it can be. Finally, the sole plate, with each brand's logo, is added and shoes are organized by size.
It's then time for the packing and shipping process so that shoes are displayed in shops around the world.
Interestingly, every stage of a shoe's production combines human and machine power. Humans ensure every step of the production runs smoothly and machines carry and move each part of the shoe to the next stage.
Given the number of shoes required around the world, the entire shoe-making process is a fascinating one. We wonder how it'll evolve moving forward!