This project is an homage to my grandfather, an attempt to recreate a pair of shoes I got from him many years ago.

A pair of oxfords is pretty straight forward, however, this pair came with a few special challenges.
To achieve a clean edge the standard approach would be to simply fold over the leather and skive it neatly.

Unfortunately on this pair that is not an option. Folding over the crocodile skin looks ugly; plus the leather I am using is rather on the thin side and might stretch too much without extra reinforcement.
So, using a collar seems to be the way to go. But there is a problem.

Traditionally, a collar is being made by using a strip of leather folded over and glued together. To be able to bend it around curves, incisions are being cut out to avoid creases. This works fine on “normal” relatively thick leather. After having made a test of this method with the leather I have, it became clear that this is not an option. Even after the best skiving I could pull off, the collar still showed through.

So the workaround I try is to cut the collar in the same shape and curving as the upper, skive the side which is facing the outside of the shoe.


IMG_1449The folded over part of the leather has incisions only on one side – half of what would normaly be there if the collar was made out of a straight piece of leather.

IMG_1450They also are being skived after they have been glued on.

IMG_1774Since this portion is on the inside of the shoe – towards the lining, the collar blends in nicely and does not show through the upper anymore.


Another issue is the crocodile skin. The piece I have is very thin. It would not keep it’s shape and tear at the holes for the laces. So I back it with kangaroo leather, which – to my knowledge – is the strongest leather available and still thin enough to avoid too much bulk.



This pair should be as elegant as possible, so aside from using thin leather…



When cutting the inside channel for the holdfast, I save the leather and glue it back in after welting.
The surface of the insole is now very smooth and does not need any fillers like cork.


When stitching the outsole, I make the holes underneath the featherline. If the leather is wet, it can be bend down to allow a much steaper angle. The upper needs to be protected though. I use two thin but strong pieces of plastic taped together to avoid nasty toolmarks from the awl.


The stitching is visible when the welt is bent down…


IMG_1699…and disappears once the sole is bent back into place.

IMG_1520When cutting the channel in the outsole, I make an extra channel for the thread.

IMG_1701The stitching will be invisible once the outsole is finished.



I use woodpegs on the inside of the waist to keep it as slim as possible.

IMG_1657After sanding them, they are barely visible.



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