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This website is for promoting handmade shoes cluster in Seongsu-dong, Seoul, Korea. There are many handmade shoes master artisans in this area, but it is not known to people overseas.

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Information on hand-sewn welt shoes from a craftsman with 40 years of experience in Seongsu-dong

 

- What is hand-sewn welt?

It is the most classic and durable method of shoes construction which requires sewing the welt by hand.  The method requires far more processes and longer time than the cement construction, given that the whole process is carried out by hand.  The method leads to durable and less altering high quality products.  

* Welting- the practice of stitching a strip of leather to the insole and upper of the shore and then stitching it in turn to the sole.

- How long have you been working as a craftsman?

. It has been 40 years since I began my career when I was 17.

- What is the difference between now and then?

. At the time, cemented construction was used which requires a practice of stitching or sewing by hand mostly instead of gluing. 

Now, I heard that some craftsmen still practice the welting, but it is uncommon now.  Only there are few of them left.  Most artisans who has as long career as I have are retiring, and there are only few who practice welting professionally as I do. 

- What are difficulties associated with stitching?

You can’t stitch well if you treat the stitching awl as just a metal spike.  You need technical acumen to puncture and hang thread, which requires precision.  

You have to take good care of yourself.  As I have been engaged in this work for long, my hands have been deformed like this. 

- What are advantages of welt shoes?

. Welt shoes are quite durable, dignified, and beautifully patterned.  They are fully made by hand.  More than anything, the patterns are lively, they are shoes with breath. 

(Video footage provided by: hand-sewn shoemaker in Seongsu) 

경력 40년의 장인을 만나다. 박용덕 장인 from I love shoes, handmade in Seoul on Vimeo.

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