Behind the Scenes - The Walsh Factory
Wednesday, 5th Jun 2013
Introducing the Walsh Lostock Shoe to our ongoing Friends of Fred project.
Fred Perry took a visit to the Walsh Bolton workshop to meet the small team, Pete, Jon, Lynne, Michelle and Harry and to watch the Lostock manufacturing process from start to finish.
Walsh trainers are considered the original specialised running shoe. Founder, Norman Walsh began his training as a shoemaker in 1945, just three years later he was asked to make sprinting shoes for the 1948 Olympic Games in London. Following the creation of Walsh footwear brand in 1961, Norman collaborated with numerous athletes to create world leading performance styles.
This season’s casual style Lostock shoe draws influence from Walsh’s performance roots. Crafted from durable nylon and suede, the classic three colour sports upper features a lightweight EVA sole unit and a Walsh label on the tongue and side wall.
At the very beginning of the process Pete creates paper patterns for the uppers, once he is happy with the design and sizes, he goes on to make a set of templates, known as knives. The knives, made from metal, do not look too dissimilar to a giant biscuit cutter. There can be 8 knives for every upper and every size requires its' own set. The knives fix to a special machine which presses them into sheets of material to create the individual parts.
Lynne stitches the pieces of nylon and suede together to create a flat shoe. A mould is then used and heat applied, to stiffen the heel (officially called 'closing'). At this point the shoe starts to take form.
The upper is slipped around an anatomical mould of the foot known as a last. A lightweight insole is inserted; the shoe is then mechanically bound to the last and into its' final recognisable shape.
The final part of the process is known as 'soling'. The sole is glued to the upper and the complete shoe is fed onto a conveyor belt, which leads into a big oven. The shoe comes out, cools down and gets given the final treatment - a tag, laces, a tissue paper wrapping and a box.
For this seasons' Friends of Fred, the handcrafted Lostock shoe is available in two colour options, Regal and Rosso (show below).