20 Misconceptions About Sex - mental_floss on YouTube (Ep.212)
I don’t wear sandals, but if I did, I’d want to get mine from Barbara Shaum. Shaum is something of a legend in the trade. She moved to NYC in 1951, having just come from a small town in central Pennsylvania, and picked up the leatherworking craft by apprenticing for a sandal maker named Menalkas Duncan. Three years later, in 1954, she opened her own leather goods shop in the East Village, and has been there ever since. In fact, her history there goes back so far that she was the first woman to ever be allowed in McSorley’s — the oldest bar in America, and one that used to disallow women from entry until they were sued in the 1960s under the Civil Rights Act for discrimination.
Sandals are one of the few kinds of footwear that can actually be handmade. Most Western shoes require a machine of some kind. So, even if the welting is done by hand (which is rare), the uppers are almost always sewn together by machine. Sandals on the other hand, can be produced from nothing but simple tools. First a pattern is cut from a tracing of the customer’s foot, and from that come the leather parts that form the base of the shoe. That base needs to be shaped, so the leather is soaked and then hand molded, before being laid out to dry. The leather straps are then cut, dyed, and attached to the sole through a series of holes and ties, depending on the design. Finally, the edges are sanded down and burnished for a finished look.