Graeme McKinlay

From my early days working in the factory during school holidays, the family business felt like a natural progression. I’m deeply passionate about shoemaking, and there’s nothing more satisfying than seeing the finished shoes, knowing the craftsmanship that went into each pair.

  • What inspired you to become a shoemaker, and how did you get started in the industry?

    I worked in the factory during school holidays & it was a natural progression to then become involved full-time.

  • Can you walk us through your typical day at McKinlays Footwear?

    Arrive about 6:30am & clear emails, look at website sales. Juggle staff around factory particularly in last few years with Covid! Plan production schedules, talk with shops around country. Order leather, soling & other materials that we need.

  • What do you think sets McKinlays Footwear apart from other shoe brands?

    Being New Zealand based we have a great understanding of local markets & what people want.

  • What is your favourite part of the shoemaking process and why?

    Seeing the finished shoes on racks waiting to be cleaned, checked & boxed. It is satisfying to see the finished product.

  • What is your favourite shoe style and why?

    Hunter Jr in all the different colour-ways that we make it in. Kids love the bright colours & with no laces they can get it on & off themselves.

  • What’s the strangest shoe trend that you’ve seen?

    Stiletto heels, totally impractical!

  • Can you share a little-known fact about shoemaking or the shoemaking industry that people may not be aware of?

    Shoemakers were originally known as ‘cordwainers” meaning they made shoes from new leather.