How Shoes are Made Video
How Shoes Are Made Video:
I found this video on you tube that is a quick walk down a very typical shoe assemble line. This is a very small one line factory. (which is not a the typical size of a modern shoe factory.) The shoes being made in the video are for a local Asian footwear brand but the process is exactly how a Nike shoe is manufactured. It is hard to see what’s going on so I’ve detailed a few steps in the process to shoe you what is going on. This video picks up at the start of the shoe assembly line, the uppers are already stitched and stacked waiting for final assembly.
The Start of the Shoe Assembly Line Video:
This video does not show so clearly the lasts being inserted but you can see the shoe coming out of the first “shrinking” heat tunnel. The heat helps dry the steamed shoe uppers. Once out of the tunnel the lasting machine operator gives the shoe a quick squeeze, This machine is the same type used for board lasting but can be set up to stretch a shoe upper down tight on to the shoe last. A heel lasting machine can be used on the back of the shoe. I don’t see this machine on this shoe assembly line.
The next operation happens fast! The worker pulls a shoe off the line and matches it to the correct size outsole. A foot activated press holds the shoe down while she marks the top edge of the molded EVA midsole with a pen. This is called the glue line, in this case it is a guide for the workers at the cementing work station. If this shoe required roughing the workers with the buffing tools would follow the same line, before the primer and glue are applied.
Next you will see the workers apply the primer and cement coats to the uppers and the shoe outsoles. You can see the outsoles and upper are on opposite sides of the line. This allows the workers to apply different compounds of primer and glue to each part. The outsole requires a different primer for a strong bond.
Once the primer and cement are dry the parts can be assembled. The worker matched the correct size outsole and upper and will press them together by hand. Carefully, but quickly aligns them. The worker will start with the toe of the make sure it’s centered then flip the shoe and set the heel into position. The cement is dry but tacky so it can be repositioned without affecting the final bonding strength.
A metal or plastic tool is used to make sure the midsole follows the glue line and to make sure the edges are straight. This tool can also be used to remove air bubbles our unroll any tucked edges of the midsole.
To set the glue bond shoe is cooled in a chilling tunnel. To insure the outsole and upper have complete contact the shoe will have three pressing operations. The downward press, side press toe and heel pressing operations are critical to getting a good bond. These pressing surfaces must be clean and smooth so not to damage or soil the assembled shoe. The bottom press should be made with matching negative casting of the outsole or contoured pressing plate to insure the arch area is fully pressed.
After pressing it’s time for the shoe last to be removed , and the footbed to be inserted.