Freed of London
Freed of London Ltd, often referred to simply as Freed, is a manufacturer of pointe shoes and other dance shoes and apparel.
Freed of London was established in 1929 by cobbler Frederick Freed, his wife and an assistant. Freed and his wife had both been previously employed by Gamba, a London-based dance shoe maker. Freed had a workshop in the basement of a shop in Covent Garden, which still exists on the site and now serves as the only dedicated Freed sales outlet in the world. In 1993, the company became a wholly owned subsidiary of Japanese apparel company Onward Kashiyama. The Freed corporate headquarters and manufacturing facilities were retained after the acquisition and continue to operate at their original location in London.
Freed pointe shoes are made using the traditional turn shoe method, with a "signature" peach-colored satin. The toe box is constructed by gluing together hand-layered triangles of hessian and paper, using a proprietary, water-based glue. After the box is formed, pleats are formed in the satin that covers the shoe and secured with metal pincers. The shoe is then stitched and the sole is joined to the upper with wax thread. Next, the pointe shoe is turned right-side-out and the insole is inserted. Finally, the box, which is not yet dried, is hammered into its final shape.
Each cobbler makes about 50 shoes a day, most of which are custom made for individual dancers who order 20 pairs at a time from a specific, preferred cobbler. A letter or symbol is stamped on the sole of custom-ordered shoes to indicate the cobbler who made them.