By Kerryn Moscicki, Founder & Brand Director.
Shoe making always begins with the last – the ‘block’ that shoe makers use to simulate the shape of the human foot to build the shoe around.
With the production of our Obus x Radical Yes 'The Magic' luxe pool slides (where we had sourced the rubber outsoles from the local market) the last was used to draft the padded strap over the top of the foot. There were a few tricks to this – primarily because the outsoles had a ‘pre-molding’ mark that determined where we would be able to place the strap.
This had an impact on the level of padding that was available to use on the upper and resulted in a lot of problem solving on behalf of the make team as they tried to resolve how to make the thick upper strap work within the constraints of the pre-molded detail.
The slide itself takes shape on the assembly line. Our factory is quite small with only around 20 workers on the entire production process. This includes technicians who execute the cutting dice to cut the upper strap sections, a team of sewers who assemble the uppers, the padded section and the lining together as well as the lasting technicians whose job it is to hammer and seal the upper to the outsole (which is referred to as ‘lasting’).
Because we work with small factories, most of this lasting is done by hand with just a few products being machine lasted. One of our favourite parts of the process is watching our logo being machine pressed onto the outsole – the silver foil stamp being our own special seal of authenticity for the slides.
ABOUT THE MATERIAL
For our collaboration with Obus, the team supplied us with their proprietary ‘Tell Me A Story’ check print designed by Obus Creative Director Kylie Zerbst. The design was then woven into a Viscose yarn. To stabilise the material (usually used for garments) so that it could be used for a shoe upper the factory laminates the material onto a 10 ounce canvas backing. This also helps to make the upper more durable and prepare the strap for the super thick padding that is part of the signature in ‘The Magic’ slide. The viscose upper is then finished with a soft pink leather lining – providing breathability and softness on the foot which is always a key consideration for every product we make.
It is truly radical to think of the number of hand processes that take place to complete a single pair of shoes, but we love watching over every one of them.