(by "from scratch", I mean from fabric and other things available at any local craft store)

Hi everybody, about 5 months ago, I decided to move from my hometown (Philadelphia, PA), to Daegu, South Korea. Before I came, I asked some Americans living in Korea about what I needed to bring (things they don't have here in Korea), they all said about the same things, deodorant, socks, toothbrush, and shoes. Everybody said I should make sure I bring enough shoes with me because Korean shoes are made for Koreans, so for some reason, Korean shoes just don't fit Americans correctly.
Of course, since I am not the kind of person that can tolerate being limited by the available retail products, I decided to make my own. Turns out, it's not so hard.
I looked up other instructables, but none gave me the info I was looking for, some told me to purchase soles and glue them on, which made me feel sad inside, and another said to use cork for soles and that I couldn't ever wear them outside or they would break, yet another said I should first make a casting of my feet, which is probably a good way to do it, but there is no way I want to do that.
So I started from scratch. Bought some crazy colored suede type fabric, took some loose measurements and started sewing, at which point I realized that I had no idea how to sew, so I looked up an instructable about sewing knots and that type of thing, which was a big help, but I'm still no seamstress (or seamster??). I had almost completed one shoe when I had to leave for Korea, now I've been in Korea for 4 months, and I just got around to starting the second shoe, but this time I'm remembering to take pictures so I can write this instructable for you guys :-)

Step 1: Gather your materials

Basically you need the following:
-Suede or leather type fabric (something of that strength, can be fake if you prefer)
-Some other kind of fabric (doesn't really matter)
-Plastic sewing mesh stuff (I don't know what its really for, but its good for making shoes, and all craft stores sell it with sewing stuff)
-Sewing needles
-Fabric scissors
-Measuring tape
-Polyester filling (or some other filling if you prefer)
-Foam sheet
-Felt (probably unnecessary)

For the sole, I used:
-Liquid rubber for carpet backing
-Paint brush
-Foam sheet (Thicker, I actually used a flower pot holder for this, it was the same material)

-Eyelet tools (eyelet anvil, eyelet tool)

Choose your fabric colors wisely, I fully endorse using the most bright and obnoxious colors available, the world needs more of that. The suede or leather is for the outside of the shoe, if you didn't guess that already. Also note that I used a pre-existing shoe for the measurements, which I assume is what you are wearing now.
For the sole, you might want to try other things, but I know the carpet backing worked pretty well for me. The stuff I bought is made by SAF-T-BAK. I know many craft stores carry liquid latex for making molds, but I don't think that is as strong. Online, you can find better rubber making kits which involve mixing stuff together, but its quite a bit more expensive than carpet backing. Liquid latex for molds is also much more expensive.
<p>I'm impressed! I've made some of my own shoes before, but the sole was always the trickiest problem to find solutions for...materials and how to attach them, etc. Yours is an elegantly resourceful idea...I plan to steal it forthwith, since I have a very narrow hard to fit foot (read: EXPENSIVE and almost impossible to find size...) This was what prompted me...eons ago...to make my own shoes in the first place. (My son came home from 1st grade 30 years ago to inform me that no one else's Mom made their own shoes...sigh...) THANKS!</p>
<p>lets have sex</p>
<p>lets have sex</p>
Thanks for sharing this great Instructable! Well done with clear directions and lots of helpful photos. How are the rubber soles holding up to wear?
The wear isn't the issue so much as the strength. They hold up ok as long as you let the rubber cure long enough. However, if I were going to do it again, I would use something like Oogoo (http://www.instructables.com/id/How-To-Make-Your-Own-Sugru-Substitute/) or a bioplastic (http://www.instructables.com/id/Making-BioPlastics-Environmentally-Friendly-Plast/)
That's awesome! This is a great walkthrough - lots of good ideas for shoe making.
Thank you very much :-)

About This Instructable


50 favorites

Bio: I'm from Pennsylvania, but lived in Korea for several years. I enjoy making things from scratch, learning new skills, programming in low-level programming languages ... More »
More by prushik: Hnefatafl Board - The Viking Board Game Simple Circuit Tester Replacing a button for only 10won (about $0.01 USD)
Add instructable to: