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The Craft Behind Sneakers

Thursday 30 July 2015

Ever wondered what it takes to make a quality pair of sneakers? In collaboration with Lyst, we explore what it takes to craft high quality sneakers.

High-end sneakers have taken over, and the days when all it took to sell a pair was an iconic logo are long gone. Now it’s all about the construction, materials and quality. From the upper to the sole, it can take up to six weeks to go from the initial idea to finished pair.

With a manufacturing process more meticulous than a Savile Row suit, luxury men’s sneakers from the likes of Balenciaga, Gucci and Prada take on a five-step approach that’s more in-depth than you realise.

Made in Italy and Spain by artisanal shoemakers, Balenciaga, Gucci and Prada sneakers fuse a strong sense of heritage with cutting-edge design. Each pair is made with the brand’s signatures in mind, whether it’s Gucci’s web detailing, Balenciaga’s terrazzo pattern or Prada’s architectural shapes.


The Method


The meticulous drawing stage
Pairing the classic silhouette with innovative technology, hundreds of drafts are created before the final concept is decided. Taking into account the way it fits, the way it looks and adaptability, every detail is included in the drawing stage, from the materials to the glue that binds the outsole to the upper.

The shoe last
The shoe last takes the sneaker from 2D line drawing to 3D shape. It’s this solid form from which the sneaker is molded, stretching the upper into shape and holding it ready for the outsole to be bonded.

The prototype
This is the stage that brings the sneakers to life. Serving as a guide, rough pieces are assembled to make a mock-up of the sneaker.

The craft
It’s now time to craft those sneakers. Materials are cut to size and dyed through a coloring process, the upper is made and the soles are cut. The trims are sealed, the heel tab and hardware is attached and the laces are added, ready for it to be glued together.

Each pair is tested for wear and stress, ensuring the slick design is matched with durability.


Now you know just how much effort goes into your leather sneakers from beginning to end, adding another pair to your collection is completely justified, right?