How does the shoemaker love his work? Heart and sole

Peter Limmer comes from a family of footwear makers. Today he crafts custom hiking boots with the tools, and in the shop, that his grandfather left him.

In 1939 a German-born shoemaker named Peter Limmer got the first U.S. patent for a “ski boot”—a stiff, square-toed leather shoe made to order. Today, gray-bearded Peter Limmer III hammers out about 200 pairs of hiking boots a year using his grandfather’s tools in the Intervale, New Hampshire, shop his grandfather opened. There’s a perpetual waiting list for the custom boots, priced at $775 and up; loyalists come from as far away as Tasmania for final boot fittings. Limmer, 63, still loves his work. “The best part,” he says, “is seeing customers dance in the driveway with their new boots on.”

More from this series

From hammers to anvils: 10 tools you need to make horseshoes
Can you match these tools to the movie sound effects they make?
Surfboard shapers hone the means to catch a perfect wave

Go Further

Subscriber Exclusive Content

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet