Instructables
Picture of Simple Shearling Boots
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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?
 
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Step 1: Tools & Materials

 Tools:
* 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
* scissors
* Sharpie marker
* optional: binder clips or bulldog clips

Materials:
* 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.

About shearling:
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.
cactususan8 days ago

I'm having trouble printing the slipper pattern. Tried everything I knew...help, please? I signed up for Instructables just for these beauties!

I love the look, and am making pair for both my son & daughter-in-law in chilly Atlanta.

ccheskin5 months ago
making some now, veg tan soles. fur fabric inners and suede outer layer
CaliSelkie made it!10 months ago

Okay, doing this comment over again because I was unaware of how to go about doing an "I made it!"

Re-stating the important parts: I gave them a lighter-weight sole and added elastic straps, some reinforcement at key stress points, and a tabi toe.

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I was looking this instructible back up to pass the link on to a friend and I happened to be wearing the slippers I made based off this instructible a year ago... so I figured I'd pop in and post a pic. I wasn't able to find any sherling but I did find a suede coat and a rabit fur coat for less than 5$ each to recylce (and I've got pleanty of material still left over to use on other projects). Because I wasn't working with sherling I simply made two pieces for each slipper (and inner fur piece and an outer suede piece). I did the soles in suede since I just wear them around the house and I made them snug enough that I can actually wear them inside my work boots. They're nice a toasty. Thanks again for the great ible!.
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And here's a pic with the cuff down. :-)
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jmeats4 years ago
Excellent, excellent instructable! So clearly stated and detailed that I went right out and bought some shearling and started on a pair. I used a 20 year old pair of slippers as a pattern modified slightly to warm more of the ankles and dug right in. One down and one to go. My fingers are sore and my wife says they look more like elf shoes than these, but I love them and have the satisfaction of having made them myself. Thanks for taking the time to do this, and thanks for the inspiration!
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niftycurly (author)  jmeats2 years ago
Absolutely - I'm very much pro recycling. If that doesn't work out either you can sometimes get shearling from Tandy Leather online - tho you won't get to see it in person before purchase.

If you want to go vegan and/or super funky, there's no reason you can't use fun fur from your local fabric shop. You'd probably want to layer something appealing on the non fur side and maybe use some sort of bias or binding tape to keep the edges from fraying. Good luck and post pics pleas if you make your own pair!
I'm wondering if it might be possible to recycle some thrift store finds, like a shearling, fur, or leather coat for this sort of project... could that be a good option for people who don't have a leather supplier near them?
niftycurly (author)  FuzzyElephants2 years ago
Absolutely - I'm very much pro recycling. If that doesn't work out either you can sometimes get shearling from Tandy Leather online - tho you won't get to see it in person before purchase.

If you want to go vegan and/or super funky, there's no reason you can't use fun fur from your local fabric shop. You'd probably want to layer something appealing on the non fur side and maybe use some sort of bias or binding tape to keep the edges from fraying. Good luck and post pics pleas if you make your own pair!
Awesome! I can't wait to try making a pair! Very well done.
niftycurly (author)  FuzzyElephants2 years ago
Many thanks!
If I go to one of the shoe repair places in my town, what should I ask for specifically for the sole material?
niftycurly (author)  masterochicken4 years ago
Honestly - my store didn't have labels on anything so I just poked around the sole section and picked out what I liked.  There are a ton of different brand names out there but I think generically they're called  "rubber soling sheets" and "EVA sponge sheets" (think foam flip flops).  The ridged bottom layer is "rubber with EVA". You can ask for Vibram if you're feeling spendy.  Good luck!
I checked both shoe repair shops in my town and all they seemed to have was vibram soles. That ok because I just found a tire today!
Cool way to use a tire! Now the soles will last 2X as long!
niftycurly (author)  masterochicken4 years ago
 Way to upcycle! :)
Thank you.
desya3 years ago
I was given a pair of Uggs sadly the safe right foot....since I am not born with two right feet,,,, any suggestion....luckily my feet are small so I have enough fabric to work with
Excellent guide, very well written. I've been wanting to make a pair of shoes for a while now.
Alinora4 years ago
Wow, they look amazing! Unfortunately It's to confusing for me, but they look seeewwww good and warm. Can you ( gasp*) buy a pair anywhere?
angelaek4 years ago
Wow! I can't wait to make my first pair ;)
do they get stinky after you wear them for a while? can you throw them in the washing machine?
I made a pair like these out of fake fur, but they got stinky.
niftycurly (author)  domestic_engineer4 years ago
 Not stinky so far.  Wool tends to wick moisture away from your skin while many synthetic fibers don't.  I suppose there's no reason you couldn't put them in the washer on a gentle cold wash but I'd prefer to hand wash.  In either case - use shampoo instead of detergent.  Enzymes in laundry products damage leathers.  And don't use any kind of heat to or sun to dry or the leather will deform.  Just air dry. 
Bajimer4 years ago
Fabulous!  I've been looking for something like this for ages!  Kudos to you for a great design.  By any chance, do you know of any places to order shearling leather?     Thanks, and good luck!!!!!
niftycurly (author)  Bajimer4 years ago
 Thank you very much.  My favorite local leather guys in Los Angeles will mail order: savmorleather.com, although I recall that when I bought mine it was a special closeout that they don't normally stock.  Try to buy yours in person if possible (and take your pattern pieces with you) as there can be a lot of variation in color and quality.  Most major cities will have a leather supplier which an upholstery shop can probably point out to you.  If they've never heard of shearling ask for "sheepskin" instead.

I haven't tried any of these other sites but they seem to carry whole skins: justleather.com, sbeartradingpost.com, universalleather.com, waterhouseleather.com, macphersonleather.com
Sweet, thanks!  I don't think that LA will work, but I live near Chicago, ao maybe there will be something there.  I'll check it out!
Damn! 5 stars! Great job. Thank you for posting.
niftycurly (author)  masterochicken4 years ago
 Thank you very much - it was a lot of fun to do and I noticed there wasn't an instructable on the topic yet.  I hope you come back to vote when the Sew Warm contest voting opens!
I'll try to remember. You'll probably do well though. It's a very well written and clear 'ible with  great pictures. And it's an original topic, which is needed.
luvit4 years ago
 i push my mower in the nude. these will feel nice on my feet.
ChrysN4 years ago
Wow, those are great, they look really comfortable too.
niftycurly (author)  ChrysN4 years ago
 Thank you!  They are comfy :)  I admit I tried them on before I gave them away.
airicknuin4 years ago
 BEAUTIFUL!!!! 
desertfish4 years ago
great shoes. looks beautiful!
Bravisimo!