måndag 27 september 2010

Interview with Lewis Composites

Bought everything for your bike and yourself but still want something that no one else has?
Maybe a pair of custom shoes is what you need.
Learn more about the guy who can make it happen.

Where are you from?

I’m Canadian, but I’ve been living here in Sweden for a little more than one year now.

How come you live in Sweden?

My girlfriend is Swedish, we met when she was over training in Canada. We were both elite speed skaters originally, and I was living and training in Calgary. She had lived in Canada for about two years to train full time there. After we both retired from competition back in 2009 we decided that we wanted a change of scenery from Calgary, so we decided we’d come over to Sweden.

Where in Sweden are you located?

Right now we’re in the town of Kristinehamn, it’s about 40km east of Karlstad.

New roadshoe with a special liner for colder weather.

What´s your background?

While training I worked at a speed skating shop where I did a lot of repair work to peoples skates and blades. I specialized in boot fitting for people who just couldn’t fit regular stock boots very well.

How come you started working with composites?

It started back in 2002 when I ordered my first pair of custom skating boots. I had ordered this pair from a builder in Calgary and I had asked for a few special details in how I wanted my skates to fit. When I got them, none of the details I wanted were done. The fit wasn’t very good at all, there were lots of small gaps and air pockets around my foot. And on the ice I just couldn’t’ skate fast on them. Talking to the builder about my options it became clear that he wasn’t willing to stand by his product. So after trying them out for a season I finally decided that I could do a better boot than these ones. So I set out to build my own pair. The first ones were really ugly, but with only one week of time on them I set all new personal records.

How long have you been doing this?

I started building skate boots as sort of a hobby in 2003 where I would build some boots for myself and see how they worked. After a few pairs of trial and error I had some friends that wanted me to build them some boots. So for a few years I had myself and some friends try out al my new ideas to see what worked and what didn’t. Every year it got a bit busier, eventually in 2006 I started doing this full time. I started doing cycling shoes in 2005. A lot of the benefits that you get from custom skates transfer straight into cycling shoes. So it was sort of a natural progressionto start working with cyclists.

Take us thru the making of o custom shoe?

The very first step is to make a mould of the foot. I use a method called alginate moulding. It’s the same material that they use when the dentist takes a mould of your teeth. It’s by far the best method to get a good mould of your feet, the moulds are good enough that I can even see the wrinkles in your skin. I then fill the moulds up with plaster to get a copy of your feet. Next the plaster must dry out for about two weeks, once it’s dry enough I have to carefully sand the feet down. This is the most important part in the shoe building, knowing exactly where to shave a little bit off the mould to make the shoes fit better. But at the same time still be comfortable. It’s quite an art form to do this well, It’s taken years of practice to get really good at this. Once I’ve completed shaving down the feet I can start with the building of the shoes. The first step is to build a leather liner that will become the part that sits against the foot. I use a special pigskin with a nice suede finish on it so it’s quite comfortable. Also it’s good to note that the only seam in the leather is at the heel of the shoe, under and around the foot there are no seams. The insides are smooth so there’s nothing to rub against the skin and cause sore spots. Then I’ll use a layer of Kevlar to stop the completed shoes from stretching when they get wet, and then an initial layer of carbon fiber. All the parts for the cycling shoes or speed skates are added and then a final few layers of carbon are added. The actual build process is a secret, it’s a system that I’ve been developing for the last eight years. The carbon is all vacuum formed around the foot moulds. And I’m the only builder in the world to run the leather underneath the carbon. This adds quite a bit of work time, but it stops any issues with the leather peeling away from the carbon, and it makes them much more durable.

How long does take to make a pair?

Every single shoe is completely hand made, all the materials are cut out specifically for that persons shoe. The leather insole, exterior to all the carbon used is made only for that one pair. I don’t use any pre fabricated parts to build the shoes. As such it takes about 40 hours of work to build one pair from start to finish.

Read more about Lewis composites soon....

2 kommentarer:

Tom sa...

Intressant läsning!

Micke sa...

Sälj roddmaskinen till mig och köp ett par skor :-)