My latest acquisition is rather different from what I mostly wear, yet something rather intriguing, if you ask me. A pair of bespoke side seamed Wellington boots in Horween Chromexcel leather, where Swedish bespoke shoemaker Janne Melkersson of Melker Shoes & Boots have added a Scandinavian touch to a very traditional British model, and created a quite spectacular pair. Here’s lots of photos of both making and final pair.

 

Those who don’t know about Melker Shoes & Boots and Janne Melkersson can read more in this report, but to summarise he is sort of a legendary Swedish bespoke maker who’ve worked for over four decades in the trade, also highly respected internationally. Today he mostly do one-on-one shoemaking courses with people travelling in from all over the world to learn how to make lasts and shoes, especially since his eyes and hands are getting tired as he’s been coming up in age, complicating the shoemaking a bit. This is my third pair from him, after a dark brown plain cap toe oxford and a special adelaide version with where my twin brother hand stitched the decoration seam. The boots are made on my regular bespoke shoe lasts, which I certainly adore. The uppers are stitched by Wales-based closer Gunvor Troelsen, who knows how to make this type of traditional Wellington boots. The shoes has rubber topys on leather soles and are made with wood pegged bevelled waists, making them stand out a bit compared to the more common square waisted Wellingtons, and in a lovely mid brown Horween Chromexcel leather. These boots surely will gain a lot of character as years go by. Below a bunch of photos, first some that Gunvor and Janne took of the making, then mine of the final shoes.

Pattern making getting started.

Pieces rough cut from the hide first, then proper clicking to be made.

Upper and lining cut and ready to be assembled.

Skiving machine, which thins the pieces off towards the edges. Common to use machine first, then perfect by hand.

Lining pieces stitched together.

Stitching the Chromexcel upper.

When you do this type of side seamed boots, you first assemble the front and back part separately. Notice that the vamp has been blocked to shape, necessary on boots like this.

It’s stitched together inside out.

Edges trimmed on inside.

Time to fold it right again. Notice how the attaching leather piece is left in the middle between front and back part.

Here it’s trimmed off, and you get the characteristic raw edge centre.

Uppers done.

Doing modifications to the lasts, here’s my foot tracings with last tracings added.

Adding leather build-ups.

Further into the work with the leather build-ups.

Insoles attached on the lasts and holdfasts prepped.

Lasting almost done, just finishing the toe stiffeners and leather backings here.

Now ready for stitching the welt.

Welts stitched, shank sorted and cork plates added to the cavity.

Heel lifts being prepped.

Heel building. Outsole already attached as you can see.

And here they all in all it’s glory! The canvas pull tabs you see on top of the shafts one tuck down when the boots are worn, but would be very difficult to get them on without them. Now on to the photo bonanza.