Kickin' Mitts




Introduction: Kickin' Mitts

What do you do with your old shoes?

Mine find their way into my closet -- they're there as a backup to my current shoes. But I find that these shoes begin to aggregate; they pile up until I’m motivated to throw them out or donate them. So, I thought, what else can I do with these old soles?

I determined that I could repurpose them into oven mitts.

Thus, the Kickin' Mitt was born.

This Instructable will show you how to make a Kickin' Mitt for your right hand.

Time: < 1 day 
Difficulty: Beginner (If I can do it, you can do it -- I've never sewn before.)

This would make a great school project, too! By making the Kickin' Mitt, students will learn about recycling, develop a new skill (sewing), and cultivate their creativity.

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Step 1: Assemble Materials

Materials you'll need:

1) An Old Shoe - Trust me, you'll need this one.

2) Lysol Disinfectant - Because who wants to stick their hand in a germ-ridden shoe?

3) Kiwi Cleaner (Target Link) - Because who wants to stick their hand in an dirty-looking shoe?

4) Leather Needle (AC Moore Link) - Using this to sew will make your life easier. The link is to a pack of several needles. The leather needle has a triangular body near the tip.

5) Button Thread (AC Moore Link) - Couldn't find the exact product online that I bought at AC Moore store (Dual Duty Plus - Craft and Button), but this should do. Anyway, go into the store and look for button thread. It's heavy duty and it was recommended to me! Pick any color you'd like! Style it up.

6) Leather Thimble (AC Moore Link) - Really, any thimble will do. I used something like this (bought at AC Moore, but can't find a link to it on their site). I think the leather (or coin) thimbles are a little easier to work with. They help protect your finger from getting hurt!

7) Pliers - This will help pull the needle through some tough-to-push-through parts of the material.

8) Box Cutter - To cut through the shoe like butter.

9) Scissors - To have a little more control when cutting through the shoe.

10) Rotary Hole Punch (AC Moore Link) - Remember that part about the pliers? This is for those parts that really suck to push a needle through.

11) Paper towels - You'll need them when you clean the shoes with the Kiwi Cleaner.

12) A pen or pencil - It'll be very helpful in measuring and cutting.

Optional Materials (depending on the circumstances):

    a) Fabric - If you want to line the inside of the shoe because putting your hand in a shoe creeps ya out. I thought I would use fabric to do this, but I liked the aesthetic without it.

    b) Tape - It's always good to have around. It may be useful to tape the ends of the shoelaces if you trim them at the end. It'll keep them from fraying.

    c) Needle Holder  - Anything to stick the needle in while you're not using it will prevent losing the needle. I lost my needle several times because I kept failing to use the needle holder.

    d) A series of TV shows or movies you've been trying to find time to watch - Some parts take a while to sew. Be entertained while you do it!

Step 2: Disassemble Shoe

We're making a right-handed mitt, so we're going to use the right shoe.

How to disassemble the shoe: 

1. Remove the insole.
2. Cut down the back of the shoe with the box cutter.
3. Cut around the body of the shoe, separating the body from the sole. I would use both the scissors and the box cutter. The box cutter works better for thicker parts of the shoe.
4. Unlace the shoe and cut the tongue off.

You can toss the sole after you're done OR, as I recommend, you can use them in my friend's project for a "Sole Mat". This way, none of the shoe goes to waste!

Double project day! #win

Step 3: Sanitize

Now, you're left with the insole, shoe body, tongue, and shoe laces. 

Time to disinfect and clean them! 

I recommend using the Kiwi Cleaner only the shoe tongue and the body. I worry that scrubbing the insole will scrape parts of it off and ruin its integrity, but, if you really want to, you can probably get away with using the Kiwi Cleaner on the insole.

Recommended disinfecting regimen:

- Spray Lysol on the front sides.
- Wait 10 minutes for items to disinfect.
- Repeat for back sides.

Recommended cleaning regimen:

- Spray Kiwi Cleaner on shoe tongue and body.
- Scrub with top of Kiwi can.
- Wipe down with paper towel to remove dirt, etc.
- Repeat for backside of shoe tongue and body.

Step 4: Cut Insole and Shoe Body

NOTE: These are all approximations. It's OK if you don't cut straight lines - I didnt! It'll work out in the end if you approximate everything to the best of your ability.

Cutting the Insole and Shoe Body: 

1. See how the hand lies inside an oven mitt.
2. See how you want your fingers to fit into the Kickin' Mitt.
3. From Step 2, measure the insole to the bottom of your wrist. Mark the spot with a pen.
3. Cut the insole.
4. Use the insole length to determine the length to which you will trim the body of the shoe. Mark it with a pen.
5. Cut the body of the shoe.

Now you have a trimmed insole and shoe body. Keep the part of the insole you cut. You can throw away the extra pieces from the shoe body.

Step 5: The Stitch

Before we move on, I wanted to show you the stitch that I used. It holds pretty tightly and is fun to do. It also hides the initial knot in the middle of the two pieces. 

First, of course, thread the needle and tie a knot at the end of your thread. You want about an arms length of thread to work with when sewing this together. 

The Stitch:

1. Start between the two materials you'll be stitching together. 
2. Push the needle through the middle of the bottom piece. 
3. Take the needle and push it through the inside of the top piece.
4. Repeat Step 2.

This repeats again and again until you get about 2 needle-lengths of thread left. Then, tie off the thread. I always tried to tie it off on the top piece so that the knots will not touch the hot items. 

If you need further assistance, see the diagram I drew.

TIP: Be sure to keep the thread taut throughout the stitching. This way, the Kickin' Mitt will be tightly held together

Step 6: Measure, Cut, and Sew Insole

In this step, you'll be making the bottom half of the Kickin' Mitt.

I chose to stitch the two pieces of the insole together because it was the most aesthetically pleasing choice and it gave me a consistent material for touching hot stuff.

Measure, Cut, and Sew Insole:

1. See how the thumb usually fits into oven mitt.
2. Use the thumb placement for an oven mitt to determine where the thumb will go on your Kickin' Mitt.
3. Try to match that with your insole. Figure out how you want your thumb to fit in.
4. Mark the spots where you'll be sewing the bottom of the insole (thumb piece) to the insole body.
5. Mark where you'll cut the thumb piece by tracing along the edge of the insole body with a pen.
6. Cut the thumb piece down to the size and shape you wanted.
7. Start the stitch by piercing the thumb piece. Cut the extra thread from the knot.
8. Stitch up the thumb piece to the insole. In this case (in reference to the stitching diagram), the bottom piece is the thumb piece and the top piece is the insole body. I chose to do it this way so that the thumb will easily move into the thumb piece without going over a ridge.
9. Stop at your indicated spot.

Now you have two insole pieces stitched together! = Bottom half done.

Step 7: Measure, Cut, and Sew Tongue

Now that you have the bottom half of the Kickin' Mitt sewn, you can work on the top half! 

The tongue will act as the top of the thumb piece.

Note: You may need to use the pliers to pull the needle through some of the material here. For some parts, it gets to be too tough to push the needle through.

Measure, Cut, and Sew Tongue:

1. Line up shoe body and insole as you want them to fit together. So, top of insole meets top of shoe body.
2. Once lined up, see where the tongue will need to go. Mark the start and stop sewing points.
3. Now, you want to determine how you'll cut the tongue. Personally, I wanted as much of the New Balance logo as possible kept on the tongue.
4. Use pen to trace where you'll cut the tongue. Don't forget to trace the whole shape, including where you might cut along the top of the tongue, which will be up against the body of the insole when tracing.
5. Cut the tongue.
6. Look at it against the body of the shoe. Make sure that your tongue will be able to cover the area you marked on the shoe body. Trim more as needed -- I did.
7. Start the stitch by piercing the shoe body. Cut the extra thread from the knot.
8. Stitch up the tongue to the insole. In this case (in reference to the stitching diagram), the bottom piece is the shoe body and the top piece is the tongue. I chose to do it this way so that the thumb will easily move into the thumb piece without going over a ridge.
9. Stop stitching at your indicated spot.

Now you have the tongue and shoe body pieces stitched together! = Top half done.

Step 8: Sew the Shoe Body to the Insole

We're almost to the end! I promise!

NOTE: I used the smallest hole setting on the rotary hole punch to get through some of the thicker parts of the shoe body. Used pliers for pulling the needle through other areas of the shoe.

Sew the Shoe Body to the Insole:

1. Start sewing at the bottom right corner where the body of the shoe and the insole meet. I chose to start the stitch on the insole. Therefore, in this scenario, the insole is the bottom piece and the shoe body is the top piece (referring back to the diagram from step 5).
2. Sew all around the shoe. You'll end up sewing the entire outline of the Kickin' Mitt.
3. Stop stitching when you reach the mirrored point from which you started stitching the shoe (bottom left of the mitt). I had to tie mine off by looping the thread through the hole about 4 times and then making a knot. I did this because a knot can slip right through the hole punched by a rotary hole punch. 

Step 9: All Sewn Up

Look at the beauty you have created!

Step 10: Lace Up! and Voila!

Now, just lace up the shoe. I tied a double knot, and then cut the laces shorter because they were getting in the way.

It'd done!

Put your hand in and see how it feels!

Isn't that an awesome, some would say "kickin'", oven mitt you just made?

What if you want a left-handed mitt? 

Just repeat this Instructable for your other hand! Then you'll have your own set of Kickin' Mitts!

Step 11: Complete!

Here are some more shots of the Kickin' Mitt. Check out the video below to see the Kickin' Mitt in action!

If you don't want to stick your hand in an old shoe, I completely understand. That's why I recommend cleaning it in Step 3.

If you still feel uncomfortable, I recommend taking some nice fabric and lining the inside of the mitt in Steps 6 and 7 or inserting a lining in the shape of the mitt after you've created it. Also, you could use a new shoe, but, then, we're not upcycling our old shoes anymore.

Additionally, my friends at @SCJGreenChoices recommended using some Glade to freshen the shoe up. 

Furthermore, I recommend using a shoe that is still in good condition. I doubt you'd want to try this on a shoe that you've destroyed, anyhow. 

Like what you've seen here? Keep tabs on me and my projects through my website and twitter.

Let me know if you make one! Send it to me and I'll put it on my webpage. I want to see your work!

Special Thanks:
Pam Richey - She taught me how to do all the sewing and gave me my initial sewing materials. She's amazing and awesome!
Katelyn Noderer - Moral Support and for the idea in class
Luke Foley - Sole Brother
Rich Gilbert (@rjg212) - Project Videographer and Roommate
Randi Tutelman - Fabric Supplier and Queen of Fashion
Powerhouse Pirates - I'm a proud member of this group.
TE Class of '13 - They let me keep old shoes in our room.
@SCJGreenChoices - For recommending Glade and being awesome Twitter friends
My Parents for donating shoes to the cause.

I'll leave you with a pop quiz: What size and brand of shoe do I wear-out with love?

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    8 Discussions


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks ReapWhatYouSew! Really appreciate it. :)


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for the feedback, Penolopy!

    I have already mentioned it on the page. :)



    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks Steph! Really appreciate it! :)



    7 years ago on Introduction

    Maybe a little weird, but a fun project and story. Nice work! (..and way to commit to cookies in the early hours just to try your project out!)