Well, I had absolutely no idea what to expect from today. I had originally found Dan by googling around for someone to make my prototype and I came across an article. I spontaneously phoned the shop (with no idea of what I wanted out of it) & shortly after, began my journey to Settle.
I’m not originally from Yorkshire so perhaps that’s why Settle surprised me so much. Settle is the definition of quaint, it feels like someone finally managed to create a time machine and they’ve thrown you back 100 years or so. The old shoe shop has such charm, just like the village it belongs to and the sight of hundreds of shoes nearly made me wee with excitement.
Dans approach to life was a breath of fresh air, he owns no phone, no computer, just a simple landline to get him through. Unsurprisingly, he’s extremely chilled & benefits from his lack of constant connection to social media (who’d have thought?). The enquiries come to him through the door, quite literally as they’d be no other way to find him… (well unless you’re trying to make walking boots and have no idea what you’re doing, then I guess you might dig deep enough like me). But anyway, the shop had hundreds of lasts and leathers, more laces than you know what to do with and for me this was absolute bliss!
I arrived on a sweaty Wednesday morning and I was sent downstairs to get some lasts. Actually, thats a slight lie, it began by me failing to get into the shop 3 times (not a brilliant start, making me look like I have the IQ of a cauliflower). But anyway, where were we up to? Lasts, thats it. I fumbled around the cellar like a mad woman in TKMaxx trying to find a size 7 (yup, I have massive feet – don’t judge) and finally found the sacred pair.
I knew the shoes Dan made were completely handmade from scratch, but nothing could have prepared me for the amount of effort and dedication that goes in to each pair he creates. He started by making me take my shoes off (sweaty train = sweaty feet, awks) and drew with a pencil & paper around my unusually large skinny feet – poor guy!
We then went on to creating a pattern for my boots, again all pencils and paper still – proper old skool! This part of the process was the longest but necessary for cutting out the leather in to the correct measurements. Finally, several paper cuts later, I got to choose my leather and lining….
To be continued……… Just as you were getting into it, typical!