so you want to know how to make shoes?
Part One describes in a rough-and-ready way how I learned to design & develop my first collection of shoes.

Part Two will be a photo essay on shoe production in China.

Step 1: Coming up with your design & making a prototype

This is not the conventional way to design shoes, but I, like many of the people on this website I suspect, like to see things 3-dimensionally, and not just on paper. So when I went to design my first collection of shoes, I started out by making some mock-up prototypes.

I did this by choosing shoes that I liked the overall shape of, and then using vinyl (seen here in yellow), leather & sculpey to transform the shoe into my own.

since I wanted to create a collection of racecar shoes, I spent a lot of time looking at rare sportscar magazines. The shoe pictured here is inspired by the Lamborghini Gallardo. I did another one inspired by a Bugatti which we'll come out with next season!

Colin, Andrew & Dan S. were very helpful in mocking up the first rounds of electronics to get my led headlights & brakelights up and running.

Black sculpey works great for playing with the look of your outsole. It really looks like rubber and its easy to mold.

Your outsole is very important at this stage, since the next step is making the technical drawings for it...
May I ask.<br>How much did it cost?<br>How many shoes were made?<br>How many different models?
hmmmm... u all can help me how to make a shoes?<br>give me a tips
personaly i prefer an enzo farari.
Me too! Enzo Ferrari's are the hottest cars ever!
Nope, second hottest. Lamborghini Countach is where it's at.
Great information.
I think this 'ible might be better titled "how to design shoes" or "how to get shoes made". Most people on this site are looking for things they can do themselves. Otherwise, great job. Those shoes are B.A.
thats a good point about the title... i know the post is rather beyond the scope of a diy project, but whatevah, it sort of started out that way and snowballed!!!
this might be the best instructables I have seen and will ever see. thank you for a very helpful and informative instructables. instructables.com should make a category just for post like this, cant wait to see part 2!
thanks! wow thats a very high compliment, im flattered :) i really have to get around to posting part two... (so darn busy, oy vey!)
cudo"s on the design and process. What type of lateral torsion control do you have with the implementation of the higher heel cup? Can the software help with those numbers? How firm is the last? Was that a consideration in production as far as cost or was it not a dynamic option?
Hi, your instructable was a help for designing the shoes. You should make another that teaches you how to go about actually building them. Thnx.
What ever happened to part 2?
Nice Instructable, But couldn't you have had them made in the USA???
I don't know if it quite meets the expectations I have from an instructable if the last step is: Fly to a factory and have them make it. I think your steps are informative and appreciate your effort, but have you considered making a prototype yourself? Or perhaps (just throwing this out there knowing full well it is just plain crazy...) having it made domesticly? Shoe repair shops are still around to help produce the sole and attach it to your upper which could be made by a seamstress. Orthotic and prosthetic labs can be a treasure trove of experiance and materials...
iam going to make myself a nice pair of converse but not converse like them but more support that would be a dream come true for me :P ..............................good instructable
Hi Jenna, Thanks for your inspiration!!!!! I'm so grateful to have found your instructable.
Wow Jenna, Thanks for what u have accomplised and shared with us. I've been so in the dark about this topic. I'm a student studying CAD and i'm an new entrepreneur. I'm into graphic arts, photography,and music production. To add on to my business i would like to produce my own clothing and shoeline. I've realized that i may have to bite the bullet and take a trip to China, but i do have concerns. thank you for the post this has motivated and empowered me to continue in my quest.
Jenna, This is much more than creating a shoe, its building a business. It's fantastic....taking the Instructables web site to the next logical and ultimate step. Need to set up a web site that focuses just on this - designing a product, manufacturing, marketing & setting up the organization (not just the employees) to create a successful business. Looking forward to part 2....or even updates on your progress. Good Luck!
thanks for this nice comment! great idea about an instructables-for-entrepreneurs. what is your field?
My field - bought (& started) and sold a few small businesses (nothing big)...years ago, it was finance. Next month headed to Vietnam and quick stops in 3-4 other Asian countries to look for opportunities( import?, mfg?, outsourcing?). If you know of any, let me know. Keep me/us updated on your progress! Doug
maybe you could get a job at nike or something.
That was cool. Now only if I could make my own. By the way, what do they define for "mass production" 100 pairs? 1,000? 10,000? 100,000?
Wow, this is one of the coolest get-rid-of-the-amateuristic-thing-and-do-it-like-the-pro's instructable ever! Can't wait to see Part 2! Altho, I do wonder some things: -How can you find a correct factory in China that can produce your design? - You clearly have done this before right ? But then with something else like clothing ? Otherwise I give you an extra "Wow" for the courage and the succes in getting this started up!
Hey- finding a fty in China is really a matter of networking; i was in the unusual position of being introduced to one of the largest shoe factories, which didn't necessarily make my life easier. <br/>If you're looking for factories or sourcing in China in general, I recommend the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, they can help you get in contact with a zillion factories. <br/><br/>the only &quot;un-instructable&quot; part of this is that factories pretty much won't want to work with you unless they think you're going to be in mass production pretty soon... it would be awesome if there was some kind of service for really making one-offs or limited runs of your own designs... (and considering how far a couple hundred bucks can go in China, it doesn't seem like it would be all that hard to set up...)<br/><br/>-Yeah, i had experience in pattern making etc from having done lingerie design<sub> but this was definitely my first experience working with producing stuff in Asia!! when i got started i thought making lingerie was way harder than shoes... ha ha ha!</sub><br/>
<a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.tdctrade.com">Hong Kong Trade Development Council</a>Hong Kong Trade Development Council<br/>
jenna this is awesome! some more photos of the prototypes, cutaways and parts like you had at Maker Faire would be interesting.
DAN! so glad you like. i'll totally include the cutaway shoes in part 2. great idea! how was <em>your</em> trip to china??<br/>
Jenna, you are wonderful. Do you have some appointment for tonight? ;)
Wow! A mass-production-scale Instructable. Too bad you don't have photos from inside the factory itself.
Hey-- thanks for your comment! In my next post I'll include a full photo essay of production from inside the factory, along with description of what all their crazy machinery does...

About This Instructable




More by jenna:How to Make Shoes. Part One. Patternmaking tips for Bras 
Add instructable to: