What is a ‘Violín’ sole?
As you know, most of our soles are flat at the waist. The bottom of the sole is simply a flat piece of leather running from toebox to heel.
With a fiddleback waist, the waist area is shaped. The sole is substantially thicker in the middle and then thins toward the edges, giving it a shape similar to a stretched-out U. Essentially, it appears convex when viewed from the side.
Fiddlebacks usually go hand-in-hand with a beveled and narrow waist, making the sole look like a violin or fiddle, hence the name.
A Matter of Work
We love the symmetry of it and how it plays to the shoe’s shape and curves by accentuating their features. However, as shoemakers, we know this may be the hardest detail to add to the shoe.
It is time consuming, has to be precise in its shape and needs to match perfectly on each shoe so that one does not differ from the other. This is not easy to do, but when done well it is very much worth the effect that the detail provides for both the customer and the maker. It is a sign of pride in your craftsmanship and a sign of elegance in your shoe.
Closed Channel + Metal Toe Taps
Closed channel stitching is a method of manufacture whereby the stitching is covered by a small flap of leather, creating a clean and elegant look.
To create a closed channel stitched sole requires real skill and a high level of craftsmanship. Firstly, a fine cut is made into the oak tanned leather soles. This cut needs to be the correct depth, not too deep yet not too shallow, approximately 1-2 mm. Once the cut is made the leather is moistened with water to make it easier to work with.
The flap created by the cut is then lifted up opening a channel, which is then ready to be stitched. Once stitched, the flap of leather is cemented and beaten down, giving a bespoke appearance.
Metal Toe Taps
Although they are considered mainly as decorative additions, they serve a functional purpose. While the closed channel sole is a sign of quality shoes, it does have one flaw.
You see, in order to close the channel, you have to cut into the sole to make a very thin flap, as explained before. But closing that flap is ultimately done with shoe cement, which can be reopened over time, particularly in wet environments
The channel often starts to lift at the toes and works its way down. So getting toe taps actually helps to prevent that from the very get go.