From calfskin to upper
Leather - Making an exclusive shoe begins with the correct choice of leather. For the uppers, we use calfskin originating from the Alps, where the cattle live in healthy surroundings, devoid of barbed wire, which vouches for the flawlessness of the leather. This is the sort of meticulous attention to detail which ultimately defines the appearance and image of the shoe.
Inspection - We inspect both the thickness and nap of the hide. This is how the master cutter establishes which parts of the hide are suitable for the various components of the shoe. In selecting leather with the appropriate properties for each component, we ensure that it does not stretch or become disformed, but retains its original shape.
Cutting - The master cutter decides which components are cut from which parts of the calf hide on the basis of their properties. One high quality hide generally provides sufficient material for around six shoes.
Skiving - Skiving the leather components renders them thinner towards the edges, thus ensuring that they join more evenly at the stitched seams. This prevents the wearer from experiencing pinching or chafing, while also enhancing the elegance of the uppers.
Stitching - We stitch together leather components which will form the uppers, which ultimately lend the shoe its resplendent appearance.
From upper to shoe
Lasting - Having been steamed briefly, the upper is ready for lasting, which implies that it is manually stretched over the last and affixed using several dozen tacks. The upper is then left on the last for at least a week to stabilise. Greve is one of the world’s few remaining workshops which continue to perform lasting and tacking manually. The advantage of this approach is that the leather will not stretch out of shape later; thus retaining the model of the shoe. It also makes for an unparalleled close fit, however, which can only be achieved by means of hand crafting.
Internal stitching - The upper, insole and welt are all stitched together. The stitching is carried out using pitch-soaked threat, which ensures that the sole remains firmly attached even when the seams become worn.
Liquid cork and arch support - A layer of liquid cork is applied to the cavity between the undersole and insole. This creates its own footbed, offering the wearer the ideal cushioning effect. An arch support is inserted in the soft cork layer with a view to preventing fallen arches. The cork layer is then left to cure overnight.
Bottoming - The undersole is stitched to the welt. The shoe is now complete, except for finishing and final inspection.
From shoe to style
Burnishing - Pressure is applied to the sole to mould it to the exact shape of the last, thus ensuring that it accommodates the foot snugly.
Edge trimming - We carefully remove any excess material from the sole using a device known as an edge trimmer.
Cutting - The excess sole leather is meticulously pared off using a cutter, following the sleek lines of the last.
Finishing - Greve shoes are subjected to a special finishing process, whereby successive coats of polish are applied to the natural hide one by one. This labour intensive method of finishing makes for a deep, rich finished surface. It is available in a wide range of colours.
A Greve shoe is therefore manufactured by means of a highly impressive and extensive process comprising literally hundreds of manual tasks. And while it is impractical to describe this process entirely on our website, this is hardly relevant; as soon as you start wearing Greve shoes, you will comprehend why we do things the way we do.