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Details for Shoe Machine Operators and Tenders


Operate or tend a variety of machines to join, decorate, reinforce, or finish shoes and shoe parts.


  • Align parts to be stitched, following seams, edges, or markings, before positioning them under needles.
  • Cut excess thread or material from shoe parts, using scissors or knives.
  • Draw thread through machine guide slots, needles, and presser-feet in preparation for stitching, or load rolls of wire through machine axles.
  • Fill shuttle spools with thread from a machine's bobbin-winder by pressing a foot-treadle.
  • Lower levers to open guides for passing wire along and through machine feeders; then raise levers to close guides, and turn knobs to adjust wire tension.
  • Operate or tend machines to join, decorate, reinforce, or finish shoes and shoe parts.
  • Remove and examine shoes, shoe parts, and designs to verify conformance to specifications such as proper embedding of stitches in channels.
  • Select and place spools of thread or pre-wound bobbins into shuttles, or onto spindles or loupers of stitching machines.
  • Study work orders and/or shoe part tags to obtain information about workloads, specifications, and the types of materials to be used.
  • Switch on machines, then lower pressure feet or rollers to secure parts and start machine stitching, using hand, foot, or knee controls.
  • Turn knobs to adjust stitch length and thread tension.
  • Turn screws to regulate size of staples.
  • Turn setscrews on needle bars, and position required numbers of needles in stitching machines.
  • Collect shoe parts from conveyer belts or racks and place them in machinery such as ovens or on molds for dressing, returning them to conveyers or racks to send them to the next work station.
  • Hammer loose staples for proper attachment.
  • Load hot-melt plastic rod glue through reactivator axles, using wrenches, then switch on reactivators, setting temperature and timers to heat glue to specifications.
  • Perform routine equipment maintenance such as cleaning and lubricating machines or replacing broken needles.
  • Position dies on material in a manner that will obtain the maximum number of parts from each portion of material.
  • Select and insert cassettes into consoles of stitching machines in order to stitch decorative designs onto shoe parts.
  • Staple sides of shoes, pressing a foot-treadle to position and hold each shoe under the feeder of the machine.
  • Test machinery to ensure proper functioning before beginning production.


  • Realistic - Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Education, Training, Experience

  • Education - These occupations usually require a high school diploma.
  • Training - Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.
  • Experience - Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is usually needed. For example, a teller would benefit from experience working directly with the public.


  • Mechanical - Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
  • Production and Processing - Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.


Related Careers

  • Fabric Menders, Except Garment
  • Prepress Technicians and Workers
  • Printing Machine Operators
  • Sewers, Hand
  • Sewing Machine Operators
  • Shoe and Leather Workers and Repairers
Wages for this career
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