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Thread: Hand Made Shoes

  1. #1

    Default Hand Made Shoes & More (Updated 07/06/2014)

    G'day everyone,

    As you can see by my post count I'm a long time lurker that cruises the forums nearly everyday keeping up with all SZ related news.

    I thought it about time that I contribute to the community with some of the things I've been working on, in this particular instance shoes.

    A few months ago I decided that I'd start making shoes. The idea was to make them for myself, my partner, my family and my friends if they trusted me enough.

    I promised myself that I would stick to the traditional ways and do every single thing by hand. (had no choice really)
    I bought the equipment, the leather, studied various shoes I own from ccp, guidi, layer-0 etc. and also youtubed "shoe making" to death.

    I was ready to go. Initially I thought to myself;
    Im just going to make the first pair as rough as I can, make all the mistakes now so I can avoid doing them later and basically throw the shoes out when I'm done. I ended up making a pair of slip ons from vege tanned cow, (used throughout all the shoes in this post) hand stitched and opting for a Norwegian welt. Here is a picture:
     photo Small31.jpg

    All in all a lot was learned, I wore them around for 2 weeks trying to break them without luck so I guess I was doing something right.

    Impressed by my efforts my mate (another fellow SZ'er) asked if I could make him a pair of shoes. After a few discussions we agreed on a desert boot. I was using the same leather, but this time going for the english/goodyear welt done entirely by hand. Again it was a learning experience, a few minor mistakes were made but nothing too bad. Here are the progress/finished shots of the desert-ish boot;
     photo Small22.jpg
    The infamous welt.
     photo Small23.jpg
    After hand dying/distressing achieved by soaking in water and shaping when soft.
     photo Small25.jpg
     photo Small24.jpg
    Finished product with hand braided jute laces.
    Last edited by ronald_bne; 06-07-2014 at 06:07 AM. Reason: Update

  2. #2

    Default continued.

    Having surprised myself and my mate I though it about time I made myself a decent pair of shoes. I wanted a casual, flat oxford, with a kinda sneakery feel. Again it was english welted, hand dyed/distressed.
    Here are the progress/finished shots;
     photo Small26.jpg
    Pattern in 2d.
     photo Small27.jpg
    After attaching the rand/welt.
     photo Small28.jpg
     photo Small29.jpg
    Post distress.

    I was really happy with how these turned out and to this day still wear them.
    Last edited by ronald_bne; 01-19-2014 at 02:56 AM.

  3. #3

    Default continued

    After this pair both my partner and another mate asked if I could muster something up for them.
    My partner; A pair of sandals.
    My other mate; A pair of derbys.

    Having never done sandals/womens shoes I was a little worried, but I opted for a cemented construction with the use of nails as the mechanical bond between in and outsoles.
     photo Small30.jpg
    Undyed, 75% finished.
     photo Small32.jpg
    The finished sandal.

    She was happy and I was happy so it worked out well.

    I suppose the reason for this thread really came down to these next shoes. I worked on these for at least 60 hours and am honestly very proud of what I've achieved. I kinda wish I was keeping them for myself...

    The derbys are hand stitched, hand welted and hand dyed with vege tanned cow. As my friend wanted a higher heel which I'd ever done before, I now had to think about a shank. A quick trip to the hardware store and I found something that would work. This time round I also hand made aglets for the laces out of aluminium. The rest of the construction is very similar to the rest of the shoes I've made, however I put in 10 times the effort to make sure they came out as best as I could make them.
    Here is what they turned out like;
     photo Small18.jpg
    The Pattern.
     photo Small19.jpg
    The upper lasted.
     photo Small20.jpg
    The under side.
     photo Small21.jpg
    The derby Pre-hurt.
    Last edited by ronald_bne; 01-19-2014 at 03:11 AM.

  4. #4

    Default final.

     photo Small17.jpg
    The finished product post-hurt.
     photo Small12.jpg
     photo Small16.jpg
     photo Small15.jpg
     photo Small14.jpg
     photo Small13.jpg
    Internal Stitching.
     photo Small11.jpg
     photo Small10.jpg
     photo Small08.jpg
     photo Small07.jpg
    Another angle.
    Last edited by ronald_bne; 01-19-2014 at 03:16 AM.

  5. #5

    Default final 2.

     photo Small06.jpg
     photo Small02.jpg
     photo Small01.jpg

    Since these are done its time to make another pair for myself.
    I'm going to take another stab at some slip on's, so keep an eye out.

    Thanks SZ.

  6. #6


    They came out fantastic, you are right to feel suitably pleased with what you have accomplished. It speaks to the amount of time, effort and care you have put into each product. Well done!
    Can't wait to see what comes next!

  7. #7


    These look great! You looking for any additional clients?
    I am not who you think I am

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2011


    Those are beautifully done--I've not the care, consideration, nor patience to handstitch shoes, although I have made a few pairs.

  9. #9


    This is amazing, also considering you teached yourself!
    Keep it up and interested in your future products

  10. #10


    Thank you all for the kind words! Hopefully if anything this inspires someone else to give it a try one day.

    @mortalveneer: If I could I'd love to, but the unfortunate reality is I work full time and barely have a spare moment for myself and my family. 60 Hours of my time took roughly 4 months of work here and there. :(

    @AVerdantShore: It was a painful experience, yes. However, I can excitedly say I now have a 1970's Husqvarna 6440 sewing machine with a low gear that can do reasonably thick leather. At least now the uppers will be quicker to make. Great to hear you've made some of your own! :)

  11. #11


    @unwashed: Thank you! With a little research, practice and patience it is not out of anyone's reach! :)

  12. #12
    Senior Member kuugaia's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010


    Mate, great work and effort on learning how to do it all yourself! Respect. And thanks for posting this to share.

    Do you mind disclosing how much you spent to get all the equipment and materials needed?

  13. #13


    Incredible work. Seeing the progress from the first to most recent was really cool.

    I'd also be interested in the gear you used and youtube videos.

  14. #14


    This is really nice !
    I am impressed.

  15. #15


    Thanks for posting, the shoes turned out great!

  16. #16


    I chime in here: these look really promising.

    I too wonder, just as 11crows, how your workplace might look like. I’ve seen similar stories (namely a Berlin-based guy who bought a complete shoemaker’s workshop for cheap on the fleah market to produce saddle-stitched pen and coin purses. saddly, he quit.) with huge loads of equipment, but you seem to work with minimal tools.
    Thread proposal: post your garage/workshop/atelier/whatever

  17. #17

  18. #18


    Thanks very much for posting this! I concur with what all have previously said, great work!

    The brown pair are my personal favorites; lovely range of coloration. I also think the last pair you made look amazing, and expect they'll look even better once you wear them around some and the laces get a little grit and dirt on them.

  19. #19


    Great job! I've always wanted to make shoes for myself been reading up about it here and there. Hopefully your work will inspire me to do it!

  20. #20


    Congratulations, the results are stunning.

    What a good artisan you are. Creating your own shoes is something you can be proud of! The idea of walking in unique shoes is great xD

    I wish I have talent to do that too.

    Wish you good luck for your upcoming projects :)

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