Each new style starts with a basic paper pattern (similar to a dress maker’s pattern).
We have a dedicated group of people on our staff that work exclusively on creating patterns for our shoes. It all begins when the designers return from their trips abroad with information about fashion trends and new ideas for new toe shapes, heel heights, and materials; which starts as the rough outline of a shoe style. The product department manager assigns each style concept to a specific pattern engineer that specializes in, and has experience with, that particular style, be it a sandal, shoe or boot.
The engineer takes the designer’s guidelines and using their knowledge of the Munro fit characteristics (which we have developed over 50 years of making shoes) draws a “last bottom paper”. [A last is the foot form a shoe is made on and every different toe shape and heel height requires a different one.] This is the outline of the bottom of the last and defines the overall shape of the shoe and the outsole.
The designer establishes the desired heel height for this shoe shape and what type of shoe it will be: sporty, dressy, or casual. This in turn determines the material, shape, and tread design of the outsole along with the specific manufacturing process needed.
Once the last bottom paper, heel height, and outsole features are finalized the engineer orders a sample last. Developing the last takes into consideration the need for Munro shoes to translate into all the myriad sizes and widths we offer: from super slim to wide-wide and sizes four to fourteen.
While the sample last is being manufactured the designer begins to draw styles on the outsole design, usually using a good old fashion pencil and paper.
As soon as the sample last arrives the pattern engineer “molds” the last to allow 2 dimensional paper patterns to be drawn from a 3 dimensional form.
This process involves wetting a material that is similar to cheese cloth and smoothing it all over the last, allowing it to dry and harden. It is then cut down the center line and ironed flat to make a “shell”. The different parts of the shoe’s upper are created in heavy pattern paper using this shell as a dimensional guide – each piece is fitted to the shell to insure that when all the parts are sewn together, they will create the shape of the shoe as defined by the last. When all the pieces necessary to make the upper of the shoe are created they are passed back to the designers who will pick out the materials for the samples. From there it’s on to the sample room where the first version of any new style is created.