The Pathfinder: The Shoe That Built the Cordwainer Shop
We are extremely proud and excited to announce that our first book is now available for purchase! The Pathfinder: The Shoe That Built the Cordwainer Shop provides step-by-step instructions for creating your own pair of Pathfinder shoes at home. Contact us to order your copy!
Make your own shoes with this step-by-step guide written by artisan Molly Grant of the Cordwainer Shop in Deerfield, New Hampshire. Molly’s guide takes readers through the process of creating the Pathfinder shoe, a style created by Cordwainer Shop founder Edward Mathews in the 1920s that is completely stitched together by hand. Along the way, the story of the Cordwainer Shop’s nearly 100-year history is relayed through text and historical photographs and documents.
Make your own Custom Handmade Leather Shoes!
The Cordwainer Shop specializes in 4-day shoemaking workshops at the Deerfield, New Hampshire shop and at craft schools around the country. Give us a few days of your time and we will take you step by step through the process of creating custom handmade leather shoes for your unique feet.
"The shoes fit perfectly. Very, very comfortable.
Thank you for this once-in-a-lifetime memory."
Doris - Arrowmont student from Tennessee
Workshops in Deerfield, New Hampshire
Visit us at our beautiful New England farmhouse studio
Small class sizes (1-2 students) and individual attention every step of the way ensure that each student leaves with a beautiful pair of custom handcrafted shoes. Students choose from a wide variety of shoe styles and leathers to create shoes that perfectly fit both their feet and their personality.
Class fees start at $1800 and include all materials, instruction, meals and lodging at the Wild Orchard Farm on the property. You can view photos of the accommodations here. Workshop prices may vary depending on the style of shoe chosen and length of stay. Advanced Victorian boot making classes are also offered, with a prerequisite of completing a previous Cordwainer workshop.
Workshops are generally held from Tuesday-Friday. Check the schedule page for available class dates this year. When you find a date that works for you, get in touch with Molly to sign up.
Typical Workshop Itinerary:
Tuesday: Students arrive at the Cordwainer Shop around 5:00pm and settle into their rooms at the Wild Orchard Farm. After going out for a welcome dinner, Molly traces feet and students select shoe styles and leather.
Wednesday: After a restful night at the Farm, students dive into pattern tracing and cutting leather for shoe uppers. A homemade lunch is served and the afternoon is spent finishing uppers and making soles.
Thursday: Students finish their uppers and begin sole lacing, and by the end of the day their shoes are ready for lasting, shaping and tightening in the oven.
Friday: On the last morning of the workshop, students add heels and taps, then complete sole trimming, waxing and burnishing sole edges, and removing lasts. Then students put the finishing touches on their shoes, such as personalized sock linings and laces. With their beautiful new shoes on their feet, students depart that afternoon.
"Thank you so much for opening the Cordwainer Shop for our glorious shoes adventure.
I hope this will be the first of many collaborations in the future."
Joyce - Portland Historical Society
Workshops at Craft Schools
Join the Cordwainer Shop at a craft school in your area!
Molly Grant teaches shoemaking workshops at craft schools across the country. A group of 12-15 students gather for 5 consecutive days to create their own “Pathfinder” style shoe, which is stitched together completely by hand.
Here are some of the schools at which Molly has taught or will be teaching this year:
- Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, Gatlinburg, TN
- Peters Valley School of Craft, Layton, NJ
- The Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen, Lancaster, PA
- Touchstone Center for Crafts, Farmington, PA
- North House Folk School, Grand Marais, MN
Check the schedule to see if Molly will be teaching at a craft school near you. Links to the schools are provided on the schedule page. Please check availability and sign up for classes directly through the school in which you are interested.
Molly's Craft School Teaching Proposal
The Cordwainer Shoe workshop begins with an introduction by Molly Grant, which includes a brief history of the Cordwainer Shop, founded in 1925. Students are then invited to tell about themselves and their call to shoe making. Using original tin patterns from the 1920s, students will learn about basic pattern-making and the steady-paced class will move forward from there. From start to finish, this process is 100% hands-on shoe work.
Students choose from an array of leathers and their shoes are made to their exact foot measurement. From cutting the leather, lacing the uppers together and culminating with hand-lacing the soles to the uppers, Cordwainer shoes are unique in the world of shoemaking. The final product leaves the students feeling amazed and proud of their unique shoes.