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We wrote the book on shoemaking. We've collected some others, too.

Our passion for shoemaking is reflected in a collection of pamphlets, booklets and magazine articles we've collected about the techniques, the history and the craft and art of shoes and shoemaking.

Among these is the original 1957 United Shoe Machinery handbook – "Shoes and How They Are Made" - covering the complete range of shoemaking activities.

Download PDF (51.9 MB) »

Footwear fundamentals

An explanation of the basics of the different types of shoe construction, including turnshoe and welt lasting.

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The history of last making

The 1982 Sterling Last Corporation booklet on the company and the history of last making, as well as a history of American shoemaking and shoemaking technology.

Download PDF (21.60 MB) »

Against all odds

The story of Jan Matzeliger, a poor black immigrant, and his invention of a lasting machine that revolutionized shoemaking.

Download PDF (9.57 MB) »

The story of shoe sizes

A history of shoe sizing and shoe fit in the U.S. and Europe.

Download PDF (33.77 MB) »

A stick and an odd number

An article explaining how the shoe sizing stick – and the mysterious size 13 – came to be.

Download PDF (3.96 MB) »

USM & Rhodes Eyelet Setting Tools

A handbook on eyelet setting tools manufactured by United Shoe Machinery and J.C. Rhodes Co.

Download PDF (11.59 MB) »

How American
Shoes Are Made

The 1961 United Shoe Machinery Corporation booklet gives a comprehensive picture of the complex process required to make various styles of shoes. It also includes history on the development of shoes and the shoe industry.

Download PDF (115.8 MB) »