Boot-Maker to the Kings and King of Boot-Makers

Shoemaker John Lobb

In the middle of the 19th century, John Lobb was a lame Cornish farmboy whose mastery of the Gentle Craft of last and awl brought him golden awards in the Great International Exhibitions. He held the Royal Warrant as Bootmaker to Edward, Prince of Wales. In this ‘Edwardian’ era of opulence and splendour, Lobb shoes became synonymous with quality and elegance.

In 1976, the French luxury brand, Hermès, took over the John Lobb name and has since broadened the reach of the brand.

The Last Shall Come First

A John Lobb shoe- or boot-maker stretches leather over a ‘last’, a beech wood form that is a hand-carved representation of the customer’s foot. Then he draws a pattern for the uppers which is passed to a clicker, the person who cuts the leather. Next, the closer assembles the leather uppers.  Once this is done, the heel and soles are clicked.  The shoe- or boot-maker assembles all the parts and finally, polishes the shoes or boots.

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‘The Standing Man’ Protest


Turkey’s nationwide protests last year grabbed headlines with images of police violence and protesters’ creativity.  Taksim Square, a much-loved green space in Istanbul, was the epicenter of this anti-government action. The icon that put all the other protest antics to rest was the appearance one evening of ‘The Standing Man’.

A 34-year-old performance artist named Erdem Gunduz walked to the middle of the square, stuck his hands in the pockets of his gray pants, and assumed a stoic stance that lasted about eight hours.

Still shell-shocked from two days of fierce clashes with the police, protestors were looking for a peaceful way to extend their effort into its third week. Those arriving at Taksim Square joined Mr. Gunduz.  By the end of the evening, several hundred people were standing quietly, some of them holding hands as they faced the Ataturk Cultural Center. In a time-out face-off, security forces lounged in front of the center underneath big umbrellas. Behind them teargas canisters lay in wait.

A phenomenon was born. Within a short period of time, The Standing Man was the hottest thing on Twitter–not only in Turkey, but for a brief period, worldwide.

Then, ‘The Standing Woman’ appeared at the Kizilay Square in Ankara, where a protester was fatally shot. The passive resistance spread like wildfire, even to Paris and London.

Mr. Gunduz, the artist, was quoted as saying in a message posted on social media sites. “Standing Man is not just one person!”


Excerpts and photo from:


“Shoe Intifada” – On the Heels of Dissent


Muntazer al-Zaidi could hardly have anticipated the extraordinary reaction when he hurled his shoes at George Bush to protest the invasion of Iraq. His “farewell kiss” to the US President has kept the previously unknown TV journalist in the center of global attention — a hero across the Arab world and beyond.

Zaidi’s emergence as a role model for anti-American resistance was confirmed by the Iranian Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, who praised what he called the “shoe intifada (uprising)” at Tehran University.

In London, ‘Media Workers Against the War’ presented a box of shoes and a letter…to the US Embassy, stating the journalist was “guilty of nothing but expressing Iraqis’ legitimate and overwhelming opposition to the US-led occupation of their country”.

Ayatollah Jannati called for the [infamous] shoes to be deposited in a museum in Iraq. But Judge al-Kinani revealed they had been destroyed by investigators trying to determine whether they contained explosives.

Copycat footwear-hurling seems to have begun elsewhere, with a Ukrainian nationalist, as yet unnamed, throwing his boots at an Odessa speaker arguing in favor of NATO expansion.

It was also a busy week for the spin-off online game ‘Sock and Awe’, which lets players throw virtual loafers at Mr. Bush. The site says 46 million cyber-shoes had struck the presidential head as of Friday afternoon. (December 21, 2008. GUARDIAN)

Excerpts from article:

Photo shows Iraqis raising their shoes in Kufa, Iraq, on December 19, 2008, demanding the release of Muntazer al-Zaidi, who threw his shoes at the U.S. president the previous Sunday. 

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A London Marathoner’s Stellar Effort





 Thirty-six thousand runners completed the 26.2 mile marathon course in London in 2012. So did Claire Lomas. 

The paralyzed 32-year-old conquered the course of uneven sidewalks using a bionic suit to control her legs. Her effort took around 40 hours, averaging between a mile and 2.5 miles spread over 17 days. Claire is a former chiropractor and competitive cross-country horse rider.  She broke her spine after being thrown from her horse five years earlier.

Claire’s is an overcomer. From strenuous athleticism to immobility; from a wheelchair to a pioneering bionic suit called ReWalk which gives her mobility through motion sensors, battery operated motors and an onboard computer system. She can stand, walk and climb stairs. When her daughter was learning to walk, Claire joined her – one for the first time, the other for the second time around.

She completed the race with her husband in tow.  Tourists, supporters and family clapped her along to a marathon success.

See also:

“Time wounds all heels.” (From the Cabaret called ‘Shoes’)

The Sadler’s Wells Theatre in London, hosted the world premiere of ‘Shoes’ in 2010. This quirky cabaret explored Choos, Louboutins and Crocs through song and dance. Richard Thomas, the man behind Jerry Springer – The Opera, composed the music. Stephen Mear, the Tony- and Laurence Olivier-award winner choreographed.

Twelve dancers performed in more than 250 pairs of shoes including flip-flops, sparkly platforms, Ugg boots as well as outsize footwear – flippers, clown shoes, and skis. The multilevel set had the band sitting atop a giant stiletto, where some entrances were made by sliding down its insole.

Tongue in cheek: there is much irony surrounding our affection for shoes.