The most commonly used materials for making a boot are cowhide and calfskin.
These materials are easy to work with and very durable. The majority of the cowhide and calfskin used in boot making and sourced from Europe and America. Aside cow hides and calf skin, boots are also made from pig skin and horse hide among others. The manufacturing process of boots are as follows:
- Cutting out the pieces:
In making a boot, the first process is to select the leather/material to be used. Once this has been done, the next step is to begin cutting out the pieces. This is usually done in factories by machines or by hand for small scale manufacturers.
- Decorating the pieces:
After cutting the pieces of the leather, the next step is decorating the pieces. It is at this stage that the manufacturers decide what kind of color and design pattern to be used to beautify the shoe. It is at this stage that the colors and patterns are dyed into the leather.
- Assembling the top of the boot:
The third stage is to assemble the top of the boot. The boot is assembled in two halves, the back and the front. During this stage, the vamp is stitched to the front upper section of the boot and the counter, the part that covers the heel is stitched to the back upper section. When the stitching is complete, the excess leather around the stitching is trimmed off. Finally, the front and back halves of the boot are sewn together and a long piece of leather known as the welt is attached to the back of the counter and left there to be used to attach the sole to the boot at a later stage.
- Attaching the insole:
The next stage of the manufacturing process is attaching the insole to the vamp and counter of the boot. The insole is the part that is visible when looking into a boot. It is the part that usually bears the logo or imprint of the manufacturer. An important component of this process is what is called the “last”. Lasts are usually made from molded plastic. During this process, the insole is first attached to the last. Then the vamp and the counter are placed on the insole and nailed together. At this point, a strong piece of leather is inserted at the front of the vamp to strengthen the boot at the toe.
- Attaching the sole and the heel:
At this stage, the welt now holds together the vamp, the counter, and the insole. The nails that hold them are no longer necessary, hence they are removed. It is at this point that the sole and the heel are then nailed to the boot.
- Finishing process:
The finishing process is the final stage and is responsible for the final appearance of the boot. It is at this stage that the final dyes are applied and the boot is waxed and polished. It is also at this stage that the boots undergo quality control to determine if it is suitable for sale.