Most manufacturing processes have become highly automated or at the very least, machine-assisted. This is especially true in today's mass-market driven world of fashion where style often reigns supreme over substance. Taking a much slower, nuanced and careful approach, however, often yields products that have a power that is much greater than that of their mass-produced counterparts.
Traditional moccasin construction involves sewing panels of leather together by hand, using waxed thread. Although this process can be sped up with the use of sewing machines, we find that hand-sewing the heel, plug and overcast on each shoe results in superior footwear and a unique, hand-made aesthetic. I had the privilege of conversing with one of our finest hand-sewers, Doug, during a recent trip to our manufacturing site in Maine in the north-eastern United States. Prompted by why he felt that true-moccasin construction footwear is so desirable, Doug responded by describing the "marvelous ability of leather to wick moisture away from the skin". Moccasins are the only kind of shoe that wraps the wearers foot in leather. Moccasins are constructed such that a single piece of leather (called the vamp) passes underfoot to be secured to the plug (toe box) leather by hand-sewn thread. In this way, the foot is cradled and surrounded by leather, resulting in exquisitely comfortable footwear.
As we spoke, Doug's hands moved undistracted, crossing back and forth across the heel of a pair of Yuketen moccasins in the making. Doug has been hand-sewing footwear in Maine for over 50 years and insists that he is still learning something new about the process every day. With fewer and fewer crafstmen taking up the skillset of hand-sewing as manufacturing jobs continue to vacate the United States, hand-sewn American-made footwear may one day go extinct. Yuketen is proud to share the art of hand-sewn footwear with each one of our customers and we wish to illuminate the subtleties and sublime details of hand-made products to all those who appreciate our mantra "every stitch has a soul".