Thomas Keil Bespoke Shoemaker

Watching bespoke shoemaker Thomas Keil crafting shoes feels like looking back in the past although the handicrafts seem to experience a revival these days. Many customers are sick and tired of running the hamster wheel of consumption while their cheap footwear is falling apart faster than you’re able to replace it. And to be honest, who needs 20 pair of shoes to combine it to 30 pants in your closet (which are often produced under horrible circumstances).

At Thomas Keil’s studio you can see every step of the making of your shoe while the shoemaking craft has a long tradition in his family. His great grandfather used to be a shoemaker in Pirmasens and after his knowledge got lost for a few decades, Thomas Keil set out to walk in his footsteps. He learned the craft from scratch from a Hungarian Bespoke Shoemaker before he became a master craftsman and opened his own shop in Hamburg.

An old workbench, his tools, a stool and a small leather sofa form his working environment. The master craftsman is passionate about his work that is still very traditional. He’s taking the measurements of each foot before fitting the last, creating the upper and working on the innersole. Always considering the unique characteristics of ever foot. Then he crafts the shoe step by step. Approximately three months later the shoe is ready to be picked up. Who isn’t willing to wait can take a look at Keil’s ready-to-wear shoes where you can adjust color and model of your shoe.

Photography and video by Matei Plesa, Text by Caroline Kurze

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