Step 2: Making a Last

We need to make a last before we do anything.

A "last" is a hard, usually wooden, object that shoemakers build their shoes around. Lasts look like feet, with extra space in front of the toes to accommodate the sleek pointed style common in shoes.

Lasts are important because they allow you to accurately draw your patterns, give you a harder surface to work with, and they also provide a quick context when you are unsure.

Here you have two options:

1) Buy a last: ask a shoemaker or do an Internet search (these are not expensive)
2) Make a cast of your foot and augment that.

I'll teach you how to make your own lasts, but if you choose to buy some, they aren't very expensive.
<p>I think the soles in these DIY huaraches kits from Xero Shoes would last longer than other materials - they offer a 5,000 mile warranty on the soles! :-) http://xeroshoes.com/shop/diy-kits/diy-feeltrue/</p>
Very nicely done!
<p>so I'd like to make a pair of leather boots, (the reason is- can not find anything that is long enough in the calves to suit my taste. Im a tall woman. I want a riding boot that actually comes up just a little past my knees, seems impossible to find without going to the &quot;Hooker Protocol&quot; thight boot lol any suggestions?</p>
<p>Hi there! I'm a custom shoe &amp; boot maker, and I'm assuming you're not interested in paying what it would cost to have custom boots made. (Although, if you're interested, I could possibly point you in the direction of some people who are making the sort of thing you're looking for.) If you're seriously looking for something you can make yourself, out of leather, I'd recommend modifying a pair of shoes that fit into boots rather than trying to make boots from scratch. Making a solid pair of footwear that looks good, lasts through more than a few days, and fits properly is extremely complicated. To modify shoes into boots, you'd be covering over the existing shoes, in their existing pattern, with leather that then extends up the leg as far as you want it to go - probably best to do a fabric mock-up first, then do it in leather. Also, you'll probably have more success with a boot that laces up the front or has a side zipper than with one without an opening. If you're interested, I'd be happy to recommend materials or methods for going that route. </p>
<p>most wear resistant sole material you can find is crepe. 1 square foot panels, in 3 or 4 mm, can be purchased from tandy leather for about $12.</p>
<p>a useful method for making the shoes more waterproof and durable, especially when making them with all fabric, is to take the outer material and prep a mix of equal parts beeswax and linseed oil. paint the mixture onto the material while it's hot and molten, let it soak in, and that's it, waterproof. it'll stiffen the fabric a bit, and darken the colours some, but you end up with an extremely durable waterproofing that works for cloth and leather.</p>
<p>Suck your mothers croch you dick</p>
<p>WTF this sucks balls!!!!!!!!</p>
<p>I haven't made shoes from scratch but have worked with shoe materials and anatomic plaster models. </p><p>Adhesives: Barge is outstanding. Renia is also outstanding. I actually prefer Renia but it is expensive and a little tricky to purchase unless you're a professional. <a href="http://www.algeos.com/html/products/adhesives/renia.html" rel="nofollow">http://www.algeos.com/html/products/adhesives/reni...</a></p><p>Barge is easier (an advert for ShoeGoo popped up on Amazon when I searched for Barge):<a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0032YYOFS/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_dp_ss_2?pf_rd_p=1944687582&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B002JL2ZHE&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=1BA5FZ96BD9968CPKMF3" rel="nofollow">http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0032YYOFS/ref=pd...</a></p><p>Modifying plaster is possible and mostly easy. You can extend/round the toe box by placing the foot mold sole side down. Then staple a 1.5&quot; wide strip of plastic (like 1/8&quot; polypropylene) to the sides of the foot so the strip makes a loop around the front of the toes and makes full contact with the work surface. This plastic is going to serve as a barrier for plaster, if there are gaps the plaster will seep. Then mix about 1/2-3/4 cup of plaster so it is silky smooth. Pour the plaster between the toes and the plastic. Wait. When the plaster has set pry off the staples and plastic. Shape as needed using a surform rasp. </p><p>Or modify like in this video around the toe box. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wqBpXMMtirY</p>
<p>I'm planning to do this soon, I am a little confused though on how you removed your foot from the mold without ruining it?</p>
<p>Sewing most leather is all about the needle, not the sewing machine. They make leather sewing machine needles that will fit most any normal sewing machine. They also make hand needles for leather. Also, the tandy company has a lot of leather crafting things. I use to make shoes for my toddlers. The last ones I made, I made a last out of a cheap pair of off brand crocs. Those were the best shoes I ever made. I'd love to try my hand at making my own shoes. If I could make myself a boot that I could actually wear, I'd be in heaven.</p>
<p>How does the cork insole hold up?</p>
<p>Well done</p>
<p>I just spent the weekend experimenting with shoe prototypes! question, what fabric do you recommend for the fabric used on the inside of the shoe? Did you use canvas? bukram? something I haven't heard of...?</p>
<p>I know this sounds too extravagant, but I always wanted to make my own Soccer cleats. do you think replacing the rubber / cork outsole with suitable plastic material (I think I found some suitable ones for this purpose) and cutting holes in it to accomodate the studs will work? Please let me know if you have any ideas I really want to do this and this tutorial was both eye opening and full of hope for my project! Thanks!</p>
heya i was just wondering about the bit where you have made the last and want to mould around your toes, did you just use tape or did you use some sort of filler permastone solution? i want to make my own lasts and fill in that area to make it smooth ish. thanks for sharing your work
To do this, you will need to take a second mold of your &quot;foot.&quot; You create the original permastone foot mold, then using regular old modeling clay, smooth the whole thing over to make the last design you're looking for. Take a second casting of that with amalgam, and create another permastone (or resin - for stability's sake's) mold to finalize your last. As another addition, you can crank four or five large nuts over a large bolt, and set those into the &quot;neck&quot; of this last when the medium is still soft. Once the medium has set, the bolt can be removed and the nuts (with threading) will remain in the last. This will give you a hole that can be used to prop the last on a cobbler's stand, and the threading will allow you to crank in a handle (or attach it to a stand) so you can remove the shoe once it's built around the last. (Don't want to end up with a last stuck in a shoe that you can't remove!)
I love this inscrutable, it is very inspiring. I have been looking for something like this for years, and it opened the door to a wealth of information by means of knowing what questions to ask :D. I do have a question for you though. I tried this, and I used a roll of cork that I bought at Lowes. The shoes turned out great except that the second time I used them the cork sole cracked. I think it is 1/8 cork from the flooring department, I don't know much more about it. Is there a special kind that you are supposed to use for shoe making that is more flexible?
Dude this is utterly awesome, I am a total shoe freak and have been search for instructables on how to make decent usable home made shoes like for EVER. Coupled with all the cool advice in the comments I can't wait to get started!
Your instructable is great so far! Although to reduce the air bubbles found in the casting, you could coat a thin layer on the inside of the mold first and tap out the rest while pouring :) This was a great idea though. I probably would have done a two part mold and gotten a mess everywhere.
Wow, I love your ideas, I am researching making espadrilles at the moment and found that I have gone off on a tangent. I thought of using cork on my own and I have to say you made an amazing job of the assembly. <br>Thank you for sharing <br>angel x
This is very cool. I've been looking at making children's shoes (I have a young son) as well as comfy slipper shoes, so this is really useful.
This is awesome! Great instructions :) <br>Do you (or any of the other commenters...) know how I could tweak your steps to make high-heeled shoes?
With the 2nd way you could also fold under the seam allowance and it'd give you a much prettier (and fray-proof, if applicable) edge.
i was wondering could i draw my foot on a piece of paper and then cutting that on cork then using steel wire into the cork then add some cardboard for structural support around the shoe then glue down leather
i like the idea for the outsole could i use a large rubber alos for insole could i use something like doctor shouls pads thanks
Hi William. Can I recommend one of the easiest way of improving the strength of your shoe uppers and sole attachment would be to stop using a running stitch! Either use a sewing machine or learn to saddle stitch (with two needles and threads). <br><br>Shoe glue shouldn't take too long to dry. In the industry we use contact adhesive (called Barge in the USA I think) which only requires a fairly thin coat. No glue should really take hours to dry unless it's water based.
Thanks for the tip! I've seen shoe glue before (it smells!) and I would *definitely* agree that sewing machine work is ideal. I did this in college and I didn't have a sewing machine. I'll update the Instructable with your insight in mind!
Thanks much for posting this article. I was wondering: did you remove the last from the upper prior to attaching the sole, or were you able to take it out afterward? The thought occurred to me that I could make the initial cast of my foot in plaster/Permastone/whatever and then fill it out with Sculpey or the like to get closer to the desired interior shape so that I can pull the material tighter to get a more defined form in the end. The problem I run into with that is getting the last out without destroying it or the shoe... If I wanted to go all out, I could replicate the last in silicone putty, cut it into segments, and embed magnets to hold the pieces together. However, that probably wouldn't be worth the effort...
I'd love to see a photo of them on your feet. Have you made other styles?
this is quite possibly the only truly step by step tutorial that i have been able to find on shoe making. and i have been searching for quite some time... thank you very much.<br>
Can you give me some advice on how much of one permastone packet you used for the casting? I'm in the UK and can only find permastone from usa so want to make sure I order enough. Best how to make shoes instructions I've found on the web!
Hello!<br><br>I have US men's size 9 feet, and I used entire 28oz packages of permastone for each foot. Honestly the couple of times that I made casts of my feet I didn't use enough, and I had to end up adding volume by stuffing paper into the drying mold.<br><br>While everything depends on the type of shoe you're designing, I think you should play it safe and get around 80 oz of it, or two of the 48oz bags they sometimes sell, and split it between your feet (unless you have giant feet, then you're on your own!)<br><br>You should also be generous with the alginate when you make the actual mold for your feet, and try to mix enough that you'll be able to make a mold of your foot that goes up to the ankle.<br><br>This mold-making part of the process is probably the most resource heavy, but it's also pretty important. Good luck and ask if you have any questions!
looks good and can't wait to try w/ leather,thanx! <br>
THE.BEST.SIMPLE.DIY.HOWTO.<br><br>Thank you for this c:
Geez, thanks for being the ONLY practical step by step process for this topic on the entire internet! <br> <br>Nice Ible by the way, it'd be great to see more of these made. but it just seems so tedious. <br>
this rocks. <br>I've made some turn shoes in the past but these are awesome. <br><br>How well does the cork hold up against concrete/ street walking?
Thanks! It's a pretty fun project because it can be very involved if you want it to be but isn't so long that you'll stop halfway through.<br><br>I'll say that the cork will work with street walking if you're careful to avoid rocks. There are several thicknesses of cork you can buy at a drafting or art store and I think that stacking thinner pieces together works better than getting using a single piece. It seems to allow for more flexibility.<br><br>However, I try to use my shoes indoors only. If you want to use them outdoors I'd suggest you visit a shoe repair store and ask for some of their sole leather. You should be able to buy them and pare them down yourself for about $20.
I've been thinking about this a bit and there is a shoe making group (I can't seem to remember the name right now) and they use regular shoe glue or contact cement to adhere tire shavings. I tried this out myself a couple of times and it's a fun way to do it too. Just smear a coating of contact cement on the sole and then put tire shavings on it. Let it dry and repeat until desired thickness is achieved. I usually tap the sole with a light hammer to make the rubber stick a little tighter. <br><br>I won't have time to do this for at least a couple of weeks to a month, but I really want to try this out. Once I do I'll see if I can figure out how to make an instructable response to yours and do only the soles part. <br><br>At any rate, thanks again for making this one. I looked and looked online trying to find an easy way to make lasts and then how to make a shoe around it... this is certainly the best bit I've found.
this is cool, I wonder if you could make a pair of boots with this?
for the toe<br><br>i have all of the darts and everything<br><br>im using one sheet of fabric instead of multiple strips. so<br><br>how do i put a square around a circle?
I don't quite follow... Show me a picture?
im sorry. i kinda worded that as a puzzle hahah. the best example is to get a CD and a piece of copy paper. fold the paper around the circumference of the cd. you will have a perfect edge but the rest of the paper is sticking up in the air and there is no way to fold it back down with out messing up what you already did. idk if that is very clear. but i will try to upload a picture
This project is so creative!! Now I have a new use for my fabric scraps! :)
Yay! It's not difficult to use this to make different tops for a pair of shoes you already have too.
do i need 1 yard of fabric per shoe or for both?
You could get away with 1 yard if you position your pieces right but it's always good to have extras
ahh awesome :D im using eco friendly bags for fabric haha<br>

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Bio: I am trying to do what I love to do. Looking for people to do it with!
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