How To Make Your Own Shoes

See What's Needed to Create a Pair of Shoes

Man fixing leather shoe

Everyone loves shoe shopping, but what about shoe making? If you've got a little bit of a creative flair, then you might enjoy designing and making shoes. The tools you'll need for a basic pair of shoes are quite simple and readily available. And handmade shoes have the added benefit of being customized for a perfect fit. Here's how to make your own shoes:

Step 1

Decide on the design. Before you begin, you need to know what you want the finished product to look like. So you need to have a design to follow before you can create a pair of shoes. Take a moment to sketch out your design ideas for the shoe. Consider the overall shape of the shoe as well as the materials you will use.

Step 2

Start with the shoe sole. Your shoe sole has to be constructed from materials like rubber or leather. You might even want to use soles from an old pair of shoes. Trace the sole of a shoe sized the same as the shoe you want to make and cut out two soles, one for the left foot and a reversed one for the right foot. Otherwise, remove the soles from an old pair of shoes (which can be easily found at the thrift store).

Step 3

Construct your shoe upper. The next part of shoe making is a bit open-ended. It all really depends on what design you had in mind for your shoe. You need to construct the upper portion of your shoe. You can either create a sandal, a boot, athletic shoes or a basic loafer. In general, a shoe upper is made using a shoe pattern which you can easily make using a shoe last (wooden shoe form). When you create shoes, extend the shoe last to the size of the shoe you're making. First cover the last in fabric or plastic and secure it over the last so that it does not move or budge. Then begin covering the last in masking tape. Use one short strip at a time until the entire last is covered in at least 2 layers of masking tape. Once complete, run a sharp knife along the bottom of the shoe last in order to remove the masking tape pattern. Trim the pattern down the middle (both front and back) so that the pattern will lay flat. You've just created a shoe pattern.

Use canvas, leather or even fabric to cut two patterns using your masking tape pattern. Remember to flip the pattern over so that you will have both a left and a right foot pattern.

Once complete, attach your shoe upper to your sole using shoe cement, shoe nails or shoe staples.

Step 4

Add insoles. To make a pair of custom shoes that are comfortable, you'll want to add new insoles to your shoes. To do this, it's easiest to buy a pair of insoles from a shoe store. They'll be comfortable for your feet. Attach them to the sole with shoe cement. (Crazy glue won't stick.)

Step 5

Make holes for laces. If you want the shoes you make to have laces, simply cut down the front center of each shoe. Using a shoe hole punch, punch out 6-7 holes on each side of the upper flaps you have created. Make sure they line up perfectly. Thread in some laces and your job is complete. You've just successfully learned how to make a basic pair of shoes!

Now that you can design your own shoes, you just need a shoe rack to display your shoe making abilities.


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