Segments in this Video

Shoes: Inside the Factory—Introduction (02:19)


The average British man owns nine pairs of shoes; the average British woman owns 17 pairs. Greg Wallace and Cherry Healey will visit the largest sport shoe factory in the U.K., a leather tannery, and a ballet shoe company. Ruth Goodman will trace the origins of sports shoes.

New Balance (02:46)

The company opened in 1982 and established a reputation for performance running shoes; workers produce 3,500 pairs of shoes in 24 hours. Wallace begins the process of making the 576 Classic leather trainers in Material Intake; synthetic materials are vital to making modern trainers.

Pittards (03:56)

The tannery provides New Balance with leather for shoes; the hides are a byproduct from the beef industry. Healey helps process hides and prepares them for packing.

Cutting (03:59)

The exterior of the 576 Classic is 91% leather and has eight shapes. Factory workers are split into six teams—Greta, Derwent, United, Ellen, Indians, and Solway. Wallace works with Team Solway and helps cut the leather; machines cut the polyester and foam.

Athletic Trainer History (04:19)

Joe Foster added spikes to shoes in 1895. While wearing Foster's & Sons spiked shoes, Alf Shrubb broke three world records in 1904, and Harold Abrahams and Eric Liddell won Olympic medals in 1924. In 1958, two of Foster's sons founded Reebok; Adidas now owns Reebok.

Pre-Fit, Embroidery, and Auto-Stitch (05:39)

Wallace watches Joanne Murphy reinforce the tips and the foxings. Jackie Hebson oversees the design embroidering done by industrialized sewing machines. Wallace helps assemble the upper for his trainers.

Cordwainer's College (05:38)

Some of the best shoe designers, including Jimmy Choo, attended Cordwainer's. Students help Healey design a shoe. She chooses a court shoe design, her materials, and a Sarah last. Women's designer shoe sales in the U.K. topped £532 million last year.

Manual Stitch (04:45)

Chris Hodgson reveals "quirky British influences" for shoe designs at New Balance. Wallace helps shape the upper for his trainers and attaches the backtab and collar.

Handmade Shoes (05:05)

In 1851, shoemaking was a cottage industry; Todd Booth makes his shoes in the traditional way. In the 19th century, Northampton had a reputation for making some of the best shoes in the U.K.; the invention of the sewing machine significantly impacted workers.

Cushioning and Molding (03:18)

Wallace helps sew cushioning to the inside of the upper for his trainers. The shoes are heated in an oven and Wallace molds them around a last. Shoes at New Balance are exported around the world.

Freed of London (06:05)

The company produces 250,000 pairs of ballet shoes a year. Allen Doherty shows Healey some of the secrets of making pointe shoes. Dancers for the Royal Ballet go through 13,000 pairs of shoes per year; each dancer customizes his or her shoes.

Sole Fitting (02:48)

Wallace roughs the bottom of the sole of his trainers and helps Theresa Tyson apply primer and glue. A cement dryer activates the glue for fusion. Approximately 75% of people will experience foot problems at some stage.

Shoes for Healthy Feet (03:25)

Podiatrist Matthew Fitzpatrick believes the correct footwear could correct many common problems. Healey and Fitzpatrick examine people's feet at a bowling alley.

Pressing and Inspection (04:14)

Wallace helps Carl Dryden attach the soles to his trainers. Kerry Hoskins performs a final inspection. Wallace reflects on the elements involved in making his shoes. The factory produced 3,626 pairs of shoes that day; 80% of the output is exported.

Credits: Shoes: Inside the Factory—How Our Food Is Made (Series 2) (00:37)

Credits: Shoes: Inside the Factory—How Our Food Is Made (Series 2)

For additional digital leasing and purchase options contact a media consultant at 800-257-5126
(press option 3) or


Part of the Series : Inside the Factory (Series 2)
DVD (Chaptered) Price: $300.00
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $450.00
3-Year Streaming Price: $300.00



Gregg Wallace joins a human production line in the largest sports shoe factory in the UK to see how they produce three-and-a-half thousand pairs of trainers every 24 hours by sewing 32 million individual stiches and using 140 miles of thread. Meanwhile, Cherry Healey gets hands on in a tannery to help them process thousands of rawhides into finished leather for the nation's shoes, and finds out how a ballet shoe company painstakingly turns 37,000 square meters of satin into a quarter-of-a-million ballet shoes - some of which only last for one performance. And historian Ruth Goodman reveals how, when the sewing machine was first introduced into shoe factories in the mid-19th century, traditional shoemakers went on strike, rebelling against joining a restrictive production line.

Length: 60 minutes

Item#: FMK138669

ISBN: 978-1-64198-073-9

Copyright date: ©2016

Closed Captioned

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Not available to Home Video and Publisher customers.