Introduction: Make Your Own Shoes!
A couple of years back I found myself with a weeks vacation and nothing to do, so I decided to find out how to make a pair of shoes. At the time, there were no resources or books that I could find, so I took apart a pair of old loafers I had and "reverse engineered" them as best I could. The trick to making shoes is to do things in the right sequence and to use the right kind of glue.
Basically, I started out by tracing my feet on a piece of brown wrapping paper. I cut around my foot outline at around a couple of inches and bent the paper up to come to the level of the top of my foot. Then I shaped a piece to act as the "top" front of the "shoe"...kind of adding pieces to it to form a "tounge" and the ankle surrounding material...I wanted them to be sort of like boots. I was taping everything together with blue painters tape so that I could reposition everything without tearing apart the paper. Ultimately, I cut things apart to make flat patterns, which I then cut out of leather that I sourced on the net. I got a leather sewing repair kit from the hardware store and hand sewed it all together as you see in the picture. The "secret" is the sequence of construction. It seems that many shoes have a "midsole" that acts as the means of connection between the soft comfy foot bed and surround and the tough "sole" portion that contacts the street surface. What I did was sew the midsole to the upper portion while all was flat, then, I sewed the "tops" of the shoes to the lower "foot-bed" portion...then when your shoes are all sewed up, you glue the mid-sole to the outer sole. Use a cement called "Barge" cement which is at the hardware store. Its a contact cement that I suspect most shoes are made with. Anyway, that's how I did it...it was fun and I have yet to actually use them outside on the streets cause I think of them more as sculpture than shoes. But they are comfy cause they're custom made!