The Cottage Industry of Shoe Upper Making

Most individual boot and shoemakers in Europe do not sew the uppers of their shoes of boots. (The uppers are the top part of the shoe/boot that encases the foot. This is the part that contains the “style” of the creation.) If the shoemaker doesn’t make the upper—who does? Well, after the shoemaker has made your lasts, the lasts are mailed to an upper maker. The upper maker is an artist and artisan who designs the pattern, cuts the leather and sews the leather together. What are the limits to the style? None! Of course, some upper makers specialize in one particular style, but most of them can make almost any style. The main difference between upper makers is that some specialize in custom orthopedic footwear, whereas other upper makers cater to the “bespoke” trade. Some do both. Also, there are regional and country styles. This is especially apparent with English and Hungarian upper makers.

Here is a tiny sample of upper maker sites:


There are numerous shoe and boot upper makers in Slovenia, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Croatia, etc. The possibilities are quite literally endless. We can schedule an initial appointment to evaluate your needs and discuss designs. There is no cost for an evaluation consultation.