Freed of London was established in 1929, and just like the art form of Ballet, we pride ourselves on our traditional methods. 90 years ago, we were busy working on the intricate craft of pointe shoe making, and once we perfected our hand-made and quality driven methods, we stuck to them – which is why so many wonderful ballerinas from around the world continue to choose Freed of London pointe shoes!
The ‘Goodyear welting machine’ and the ‘sole channelling machine’ – both used for sole attaching – have been and are still being used in our Freed of London factory to this day.
In our Freed of London factory, we have maintained the same traditional and delicate pointe shoe making methods and machinery used to prepare the soles (channelling) and stitch (welting) them to the shoe upper.
The production of the welting and channelling machines was discontinued in 2000 when the British United Shoe Machinery company went out of business. This means that all machine repairs have to be done internally and the machine parts are so obscure that we have to have them specially made by an engineer!
Before the sole is stitched, it has to go through a process called channelling. Our channelling machine simultaneously removes a thin strip from the outside of the sole while also creating a deep groove on the inside – making room for the stitches in the welting process.
Shoe welting is a process that was created in the 1800’s, it was originally used as a form of sole attaching and was typically seen on men’s shoes. It’s a method that attaches the sole to the upper of the shoe using a chain stitch that goes inside the groove of the sole (made in the channelling process) leaving a visible stitch around the sole.
When Freed of London was established, however, the welting machine was cleverly modified and adapted so it could be used to make our wonderful pointe shoes. So to this day, our soles are still expertly attached using this method - which helps to add extra strength and durability to the Freed of London pointe shoe.
90 glorious years on, we carry on using these tried and tested machines and processes because once you have perfected the craft of hand-made pointe shoes – why turn back!