My last pair of boots. 7. Vamps, shafts, and heel counters

My boots, under construction by Lee Miller in Austin, Texas, are coming along nicely. Today we see how the panels are fastened to both the vamp (the foot part) and the counters (the heel part), as well as how the panels are sewn together in pairs. Beyond the soles and insoles, there are basically four pieces of leather on the outside of each boot: the shaft (two parts, sewn together on the sides), the vamp, and the counters.

But there’s still a ways to go after this post: the toe boxes have to be made, giving the square toe, these must then be fastened to the vamps, and then the whole top must be put back over the last (the mold of my foot) so that the insole, outsole, and heel can be fastened to the boot. This is a complex operation, as you’ll see.

The captions and photos are, as always, by Carrlyn Miller, and are indented:

All four panels are done and now it’s time to put the vamps on.

Jerry%27s Boots1
But, first we need to stitch the toe flower on.
Jerry%27s Boots2
Here you see the vamps, the hard counters and the pattern for the toe flower (upper right).
Jerry%27s Boots3
Lee stitching the toe flower.
Jerry%27s Boots4
Another view.
Jerry%27s Boots5
The underside of the vamp with the toe flower sewn on.
Jerry%27s Boots6
Now it’s time to attach the hard counters.
Jerry%27s Boots7
The hard counters are on, cemented and drying.
Jerry%27s Boots8
Ready to put the kangaroo counter on the hard counter.
Jerry%27s Boots9
Lee applying the kangaroo to the hard counter.
Jerry%27s Boots10
It’s on.
Jerry%27s Boots11
Time to sew everything on.
Jerry%27s Boots12
 The counters are sewn on the back panels.
Jerry%27s Boots13
The vamps are sewn onto the front panels and are now ready to be side seamed.
Jerry%27s Boots14
The boots have been side seamed and are now ready to have the pull straps attached.
Jerry%27s Boots15
Lee sewing the pull straps.
Jerry%27s Boots16
Again, another view.
Jerry%27s Boots17
Pulling the tabs of the pull straps through to be sewn down.
Jerry%27s Boots18
The pull straps are on, and the boots turned. Ready to last. [JAC: In this photo you see how the mirror writing appears from the side: a true mirror image of the script that makes it look more like art than calligraphy.]
Jerry%27s Boots19


  1. Dominic
    Posted June 28, 2016 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    In your dotage – long may that hold off! at least with these on you will remember your name 😉

  2. Michael Day
    Posted June 28, 2016 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    Those are gonna be some bad-ass boots, Dr. Coyne.

  3. Randall Schenck
    Posted June 28, 2016 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    This is one of those things where cost of materials,although considerable, are insignificant.

    • Posted June 28, 2016 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      Actually, boot leather isn’t cheap, though if you get alligator or other high-end hides, it can constitute a major part of the final price.

  4. Posted June 28, 2016 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Hey, Nice Post. I like it…..

  5. kansaskitty
    Posted June 28, 2016 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    I love to see skilled crafts like boot making still surviving! Beautiful work and beautiful boots.

  6. Kevin
    Posted June 28, 2016 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    Wow and to think that in a few years my sons may actually purchase shoes for most of their lives that will be made from vats of polymers added to additive manufacturing machines, assembled by robots, without the touch of a single human.

  7. ladyatheist
    Posted June 28, 2016 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    Wow! Really taking shape now & they’re going to be awesome looking boots!

  8. Posted June 28, 2016 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    This is quite the artistic process! If those were mine, I might wear them only when I go to London to visit the Queen!

  9. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted June 28, 2016 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    I’m still suffering cobbler’s dissonance. Every (“eavery”, not ” most”) hole in the leather is a leak path.
    I know – different climates, different purposes.
    But I still see any un-necessary hole and feel the peat bog squeezing through, soaking my sock and guaranteeing a rub point, then a blister.
    Q.V. previous conversation about leather care. But still one feels holes and leak paths to be synonymous.

  10. rose
    Posted June 28, 2016 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    My son just bought shoes for 200.00 i said someone is going to steal them because thats what they do. So watch out for those new boots they look really nice.

  11. Posted June 29, 2016 at 2:20 am | Permalink

    Looking fantastic, PCC, you must be very pleased!

%d bloggers like this: