Skip to content
Free shipping and returns on all full price items over $200 to Australia. Wide fit men's ready to wear in stock


Making Toe Puffs & Heel Counters

Making Toe Puffs & Heel Counters

The Complete Shoe Making Process: Part 4

Heel counters and toe puffs sometimes called "stiffeners" are the leather parts which give the heel and toe structure in a shoe. These pieces of A.McDonald shoes are made from oak bark tanned belly or shoulder grade leather. 

The traditional oak bark ground tanning relies on biodegradable renewable tan material and a slow tanning process taking up to nine months. After a preliminary surface tanning, the valuable hides lie between layers of tan for several months in century-old oak pits. This ecological treatment guarantees the extraordinary qualitative properties of all our leather shoes.  

Toe puffs and heel counters give the heel and toe structure flexibility and strength.

Each part is cut to shape skived by hand then soaked in water and wrapped in newspaper overnight. The following day the damp leather is then pasted into position with potato starch inserted between the upper and lining in the shoe ready for lasting. The Toe puff and heel counter give the upper of the shoe structure. The toe puff protects the toes from any impacts. The heel counter creates a cup like a grip that secures the heel in the shoe preventing movement within the heel and protection from any impacts. Leather heel counters and toe puffs breathe and mould into the wearer's foot shape creating a solid foundation for a long wearing shoe.

If you're interested in finding out more about the shoemaking process perhaps consider our shoemaking course.

This is the fourth article in our ongoing series: "The Complete Shoemaking Process". The next entry in the series is about custom fitting a pair of shoes.

Older Post
Newer Post


Free shipping and returns on all full price items over $200 to Australia.