How Shoes Are Made: Complete Step By Step Guide

How Shoes Are Made: Complete Step By Step Guide

Every shoe designer, wholesaler, and retailer must understand the shoe-making process. Understanding the shoe-making process enables them to make better decisions about designs and suitable materials. Fortunately, the shoe-making process is more straightforward than most people tend to believe.


In this detailed guide, you’ll learn how shoe-making works and how footwear manufacturers bring your designs to life.

Making Shoes Step By Step



How Shoes Are Made

Understanding the shoe-making process enables you to avoid costly errors and helps you choose the best manufacturer. The shoe-making procedure might differ depending on the type of shoe and material you want to use.


However, below is a step-by-step guide that most shoe manufacturers use.

1. Shoe Designing

The first step in shoe-making is designing the shoe. You’ll need an expert shoe designer to incorporate your ideas into a design. Having basic designs helps the designer or design team better understand your idea or concept. You can even have some reference images.


The shoe designer considers several factors: style, functionality, materials, and comfort. It would help if you had sketches showing different angles of the shoe. At this stage, the shoe designer will advise if any changes are necessary to make your shoe design more feasible.


Once you approve the designs, the shoe designer makes 3D models using computer software. HYD Shoes has a design team to help clients with new designs.

2 A Ladies Shoe Sketch


2. Pattern Making

In this step, a pattern maker takes the 3D model or the paper design and cuts out a pattern. I recommend first cutting out a sample of the material you want to use by hand. A prototype is ideal to see if the design will produce a functional shoe.


The prototype is a real-life shoe image that helps you understand the end product. It’s the only way to check the fit and whether the shoe’s shape is suitable for wear. Please make any corrections at this stage to avoid losses after mass production. If there are any adjustments, request the manufacturer to make another prototype with the new changes.


Ensure you also get sample packaging to make the whole process smooth. Once the client approves, the prototype goes to the factory for production.

3. Cutting

The next step is to place the pattern on a leather, synthetic material, or any fabric and cut out the shoe’s upper part. A cutting machine can make the process easier and error-free. The machine can also cut multiple layers of materials at once. Each shoe part uses a different knife from the cutting machine.


However, some parts might require hand cutting. Workers skive leather or synthetic materials. Skiving machines thin the edges of the material to reduce bulkiness. The primary purpose of skiving is to make assembly smoother.


 HYD Shoes uses eco-friendly materials and implements sustainable practices.

4. Stitching




After cutting different parts, skilled workers stitch them together to form the shoe. In most manufacturing factories, skilled workers use special machines instead of manual stitching to join the shoe parts. However, some specific parts require workers to cut them by hand.


Stitching is the process that gives a shoe structure and shape. Workers must practice precision and attention to detail. Most footwear manufacturers will have different departments for different tasks.


Some parts need skilled workers who can use machines, while others need handmade workers. Adding zippers, buckles, and other accessories requires hand stitching. A manufacturer must match the two departments (stitching and handmaking) well for better productivity.


Shoemakers use a loud puncturing machine to make ventilation openings, rivets, and eyelets. HYD Shoes has a production line with various cutting and stitching machines, which is essential for anyone who wants to manufacture shoes.

5. Lasting

Once the workers finish the stitching process, the workers in this department will pull the upper parts of the shoe over a mold (last). The mold determines the overall fit of the shoe’s human foot. The mold determines the overall fit of the shoe.


The last has the following dimensions:

  • Instep height:An instep is the arched top part of the foot. The instep height determines the comfort level and the fit of the shoe.
  • Forefoot width: It is the widest part of the foot.
  • Heel width: It mainly depends on the shape of the shoe. A narrow shoe can accommodate a narrower heel, and a wider shoe requires a broader heel.


The next step is heating and pressing the shoe onto the last so that it takes shape. Once the upper part has taken shape, it is ready for the workers to attach to the sole.

6. Assembling



The workers will join the shoe’s upper part and lower sole in this stage.  Depending on the type of shoe and sole material you’re making, the workers can use different assembly processes.

  • Gluing involves using an adhesive on one part, either the upper part of the sole. The parts will then undergo heat activation to form a permanent bond.
  • Cementing is the use of a strong adhesive known as shoe cement to attach the upper part of the shoe and the sole. It is a standard process when making dress, casual, and athletic shoes.
  • Stitching: Workers use sewing machines to stitch the shoe parts together. One of the most famous is the Goodyear Welt. Shoemakers use a welt (a piece of leather or any other material) to attach the upper part and the insole. The workers sew the welt utilizing a machine that passes through the outsole and the welt without penetrating the insole.
  • Direct injection: The workers use a machine to inject molten materials at high pressure to mold the sole, midsole, and upper part together. All the parts join without seams or stitches.

Most footwear manufacturers have a pre-molded sole. However, the manufacturer uses a sole metal mold if you require customized soles. The sole molding process is costly, especially if you are a startup.

7.How shoes are made with a nicely finishing ?

The shoe will need some final touches to fully fit into your design. During this process, you can add a heel, logo, and laces.


At this stage, workers remove excess material and refine the edges. The finishing process can also include treating shoes to protect them from the elements and adding labels and tags. Shoe treatment processes include dyeing and buffing.


The quality control team will perform their last inspection to check for defects or if any more touch-ups are needed. Some factories have shoe recycling machines for their rejects. The workers will then clean and polish the shoes and prepare them for packaging.

8. Packaging


5 Shoe Packaging Boxes

The last step in shoe-making is packaging the shoes to ship them to storage or clients. When packaging, you must consider the shoe type and client requirements.


The packaging might involve putting the shoes in a plastic bag before shipping or storage. However, some clients might request that the shoes be in boxes. Various clients might require that the packaging material have their brands.


Once the packaging team completes the packaging, the manufacturer ships the shoes to the client according to their agreement and specifications. Alternatively, the manufacturer can send the shoes to a warehouse where the client facilitates pick-up.



What are the materials used to make a shoe?

Shoes come in various forms and varieties. Cowhide leather is the most common. Its flexibility and durability make it the most famous shoe material. Leather is elastic and breathable and helps with heat insulation, regulating your feet’ temperature. However, leather is more costly than the other shoe materials.


Rubber, which comes from tapping rubber trees, is a natural material common in shoe-making. It is the primary material used to make safety shoes as it is slip-resistant. Rubber is also the primary material used to make the outsoles of most sports shoes.


PU leather is a synthetic material shoemakers use to make various shoe types. Most people choose PU leather because it is cheaper but looks like genuine leather. Secondly, PU leather comes in multiple textures and colors, unlike genuine leather.


Fabrics are another interesting material for shoes. Using fabrics in shoe-making allows for creating shoes in various colors and textures, including nylon, cotton, polyester, and wool.

What are Nike shoes made of?

Nike makes its shoes using various materials, including leather, EVA foam, synthetic leather (PU), cotton, polyester, and rubber. Nike uses the highest percentage of environmentally prefered rubber. In 2002, Nike released its environmentally prefered rubber after several modifications.


EVA (Ethylene Vinyl Acetate) foam is also environmentally friendly. It is also Nike’s cheapest and most efficient material for shoe production. China is the primary producer of EVA foam.


Nike also uses organic cotton to make shoes. Organic cotton comes from farms that don’t use fertilizers, defoliants, or chemicals. Turkey, China, and India are Nike’s primary organic cotton suppliers.

What are expensive shoes made of?

Expensive shoes have high prices that exceed the purchasing power of most people. The type of material and mode of construction make a shoe expensive. Genuine, high-grade leather is one of the most costly shoe materials.


In some regions, shoemakers make expensive shoes made of wood or canvas.

What are the 4 factors of production for shoes?

The shoe-making process depends on various factors.

  • Land is where a shoe manufacturer sets up its factories and offices. Some manufacturers also prefer to grow materials, such as cotton, making land essential.
  • Labor: Shoe manufacturers need different types of workers. They will require designers and skilled workers to run the factory machines, quality control specialists, and people who can make shoes using their hands. Assemblers and packagers are other types of workers necessary for shoe production.
  • Capital: All the machines in shoe-making factories require a massive investment in money. A shoemaker will also need money to buy materials and pay employees.
  • Materials: The various parts of a shoe will require different materials, such as leather, foam, rubber, fabrics, polyester, and plastic.

Which chemical is used in shoe-making?

Manufacturers use several chemicals in shoemaking. Primers and glues join the upper part and the sole. Heating is essential to cure the glue, releasing its chemicals. Most glues comprise isocyanates, and benzene is another chemical in glue.


However, each material manufacturers use in shoe making has a chemical, as shown in the table below.


Nubuck/suedeChromium III Sulfate
Polyester4-dicarboxylic acid
Carbon FiberCarbon atoms

What country are shoes made in?

The Asia Pacific region is the leading global shoe producer. China, in particular, produces over 60% of shoes worldwide. Vietnam is the second largest producer, with Indonesia being third. India is also among the top five largest shoe producers globally.


Turkey, Italy, Mexico, Thailand, and Pakistan also produce many shoes for global markets.

What are shoelaces made of?

Footwear manufacturers use synthetic fibers such as nylon, polyester, and polypropylene to make modern shoelaces. However, most also use traditional shoelace materials such as cotton, hemp, leather, and jute.

What is the most essential part of a shoe?

The sole is the most essential part of a shoe. It has the most contact with the ground and determines how well the shoe will perform. Hence, shoemakers must use good-quality soles. The sole should withstand frequent wear and tear without breaking down.


Shoes will only last if the sole provides the proper cushioning.


Who makes the best shoes in the world?

Nike is the most dependable brand because it consistently makes high-quality shoes. Its ability to continuously create new, innovative designs keeps the company at the top of the list. Initially, Nike specialized in sportswear but has ventured into other footwear niches.


HYD Shoes is one of China’s best and largest shoe manufacturers. It manufactures many of the world’s best shoe brands. HYD Shoes produces high-quality shoes, and its shoe-making processes are top-notch.


Each worker has specialized in a specific task, ensuring the production of higher-quality shoes. The company has a design team ready to bring your ideas to fruition. Contact HYD Shoes for all your shoe-making needs!



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