Toasty warm and super comfy genuine shearling boots can be yours in a few relaxing hours.
Shearling is sheep leather tanned with the wool still attached. It's super warm and soft, hence often used to line shoes and garments. It's also easy to sew up with a simple, inexpensive, easy to find tool called a stitching awl.
Why not make yourself a custom fit pair?
Step 1: Tools & Materials
* Stitching/sewing awl ($6.99 @ Harbor Freight tools, $10-20 at hardware or outdoor gear stores like REI. Look for "Speedy Stitcher" or "Quick Stitch")
* X-acto knife
* cutting mat
* Sharpie marker
* optional: binder clips or bulldog clips
* small Shearling hide, about 5-6 square feet
* the heavy waxed thread that came with your stitching awl
* Foam/rubber sole material, see notes below.
* Barge brand contact cement, see notes below.
* optional: leather or wool felt of your choice in same amount as shearling, see notes below.
Commercially made shearling lined shoes are just that - lined only. They typically use a different leather on the outside because it's hard to dye leather without dying the wool or the leather part isn't very strong. The hide I found is rather thick and came in a nice natural caramel color so I just used it as is. if yours is on the thin side or you just don't like the look of the non-wooly side then glue another material of your choice onto the non-wool side before you mark and cut your pattern pieces. My favorite leather store had a special closeout so I was able to buy a hide for $15, enough for 2 pairs of these boots. If you can't find the real stuff you can use faux from the fabric store, but you may need to finish the edges to keep them from unraveling.
About Barge cement: This is the absolute best glue for leather, rubber and nearly anything else flexible. However, the original version of this stuff in the YELLOW PACKAGE is HIGHLY TOXIC. Make sure you are outside or wearing a respirator when working with it or you're going to have quite a buzz. The new version in the BLUE PACKAGE is toluene free and supposed to be much less smelly. I haven't tried it myself yet but I'm told it works just as well though I'd recommend being outside for this one, too. A 2 oz tube should be enough for this project and can be found in hardware/outdoor gear stores near wherever they sell tarps and tarp/strap mending kits. I buy mine by the quart from a leather supplier.
About foam/rubber sole materials: I'm lucky enough to have several shoe suppliers within driving distance so for this project I used actual sole making materials. (Saderma in Los Angeles & Orange Counties is great) The first layer I used is a spongy crepe for cushioning and the bottom layer is a rugged textured solid rubber. A piece of each big enough for 3 or 4 pairs of shoes cost about $5. If you can't get your hands on these don't fret - the hardware store is again your friend. I've used foam anti-fatigue mats (the big squares with puzzle piece edges) and rubber floor runner (sold by the foot) which work well, too. Just take extra care with the anti-fatigue mat not to pull your stitches too tightly as it tears more easily. You can use foam for both layers if you like.