Publish date:

Leather and Laces

Want to know how it feels to be a PGA Tour player? Walk a mile in his shoes, or better yet, his shoemaker's
Author:

In 1900 there were more than 100 shoe factories in Brockton, Mass., the presumptive footwear capital of the U.S. Today there's but one. It's housed in a four-story brick building where the shoes are made the way they've always been in Brockton: by hand. The finished products make up Footjoy's Classics line, and on any given week up to 80 Tour pros tread the fairways in them. To witness the process is to understand why the shoes are so popular.

B/W PHOTO

Photographs by Fred Vuich

TALENT POOL

THE DECIMATION OF THESHOEMAKING INDUSTRY IN BROCKTON MAY HAVE BEEN BAD FOR THE TOWN, BUT IT'S BEEN A BOON TO FOOTJOY, WHICH HAS ITS PICK OF SOME OF THE WORLD'S BEST COBBLERS.

B/W PHOTO

Photographs by Fred Vuich

 [See caption above]

B/W PHOTO

Photographs by Fred Vuich

NICE DRIVE

 A COBBLER drives the final nail into a shoe. this kind of INDIVIDUAL ATTENTION TO DETAIL IS WHY SO MANY GOLFERS ARE WILLING TO SPEND BETWEEN $275 AND $315 ON A PAIR OF SPIKES.

B/W PHOTO

Photographs by Fred Vuich

LEATHERMAN

RAW MATERIALS ARE INSPECTED BEFORE BEING CUT TO MEET EACH NEW ORDER. MORE THAN 13,340 PIECES OF LEATHER ARE USED EVERY DAY.

B/W PHOTO

Photographs by Fred Vuich

PACK AND STACK

BEFORE THEY'RE SHIPPED, EACH PAIR OF CLASSICS IS TAGGED AND WRAPPED IN A PLASTIC BAG. SHOES CUSTOM-ORDERED WITH SPECIAL COLORS OR MATERIALS TAKE 12 WEEKS.

B/W PHOTO

Photographs by Fred Vuich

MATERIAL THINGS

EACH SHOE REQUIRES 28 BRASS NAILS, 48 STAPLES, THREE SQUARE FEET OF LEATHER AND 20 EYELETS. HERE, A LACING MACHINE DOES ITS WORK.

B/W PHOTO

Photographs by Fred Vuich

FOOTPRINT

THE MOLD FOR A STANDARD 81/2 EE (TOP) SITS NEXT TO ONE CUSTOMIZED FOR JOSÉ MARIA OLAZABAL, WHO HAS A NERVE DISORDER IN HIS FEET.

B/W PHOTO

Photographs by Fred Vuich

SEW FINE

INSIDE THE MAIN SEWING ROOM WORKERS STITCH LEATHER UPPERS WITH GREAT CARE. STILL, ABOUT 2,000 SHOES A YEAR DON'T MEET THE HIGH STANDARDS OF THE CLASSICS LINE.

B/W PHOTO

Photographs by Fred Vuich

TOUR WALKERS

THIS TAG MARKS A PAIR OF SHOES CUSTOM-FIT FOR THE NO. 6 PLAYER IN THE WORLD.

B/W PHOTO

Photographs by Fred Vuich

CUT AND DRY

A CUTTER USES A PATTERN TO MAKE LEATHER UPPERS. SINCE CLASSICS COME IN SIZES UP TO 13 AND IN A FULL RANGE OF WIDTHS--FROM AAAAA TO EEEE--THERE ARE MORE THAN 150 PATTERNS ON HAND.