Making Boots at Home – Inspiration For Shoe Making

Making boots

Making boots at home is the most wonderful feeling of accomplishment. You can make them look exactly like you want them, choose the material, colour, decoration, height and so much more!

I started making shoes 10 years ago, they didn’t look like these then. I used to take apart old shoes to figure out how they were constructed and then experimented with basic shapes, different leathers, dyes and ways to decorate it while teaching myself leather craft techniques.

I got so fascinated by the fact that I can actually make shoes at home that I haven’t bought another pair of shoes since.

Making boots

At the time there was very little information on making boots on the Internet or in books and it hasn’t changed much, so it took me some time to get where I am now.

Making boots

I used vegetable tanned leather which I decorated with a pyrography tool burning a design onto the leather. The leather I dyed with eco-flo antique gel mid brown.

Making boots

Here I’m sewing the boots, it takes me about 1 to 2 hours to go around.

making boots

My very first pair of shoes were sandals. Looking back now it was the best way to start and I would recommend it to anybody interested in learning to make shoes.

When making sandals you practice the main leather craft techniques involved in shoemaking without having to deal with more complex tasks like using shoe lasts.

I wrote an eBook on sandal making, it’s called How to make unique leather sandals. In the book, you’ll find everything you need to know to make beautiful leather sandals.

how to make unique leather sandals

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21 comments on “Making Boots at Home – Inspiration For Shoe Making

  1. Hi! These are really amazing!!! I was wanting to make a pair as I do a lot of leather work and I was wondering if you had more details in how to make these and what supplies you used? Thanks!!

    1. Hi Eva, thank you, glad you like them. I’m planning to write a step-by-step tutorial over the autumn, please check back in a couple of months.

    1. Hi Mike,
      I buy vintage lasts on eBay or Etsy, but you can also find new ones although a lot more expensive. I have a few links I could send you, depending on where you are, Europe or the US?

  2. Hi amazing I really like. I’m in Egypt I just learned how to make wallets and bags.. Shoses are a little bit hard for me.. I’m afraid to take the first step.. I need your advice and how can I make a pattern

    1. Hi Mai,
      I’m in the process of writing a new eBook on shoemaking, it will have pattern making in it, please check back some time in spring 2019 or subscribe to my blog (in the sidebar), I will announce it here when I’ve finished it. Unfortunately, pattern making is a bit too complex to put into a few sentences.
      All the best
      Neda

  3. Thanks for the very interesting page! I have recently tried making non-lasted shoes, prototype was ok but still learning. Looking forward to your book!

    1. Hi Pete, thank you for buying the Sandalmaking eBook! I’m still in the midst of writing the shoemaking book but hope to finish in a couple of months. I hope you enjoy making sandals
      Neda

    1. Hi, there is Bespoke Shoemaking – Handmade Footwear by Tim Skyrme, it’s expensive but the only one I know of. I’m also writing a book on derby shoe and boot making but I might still be some time …

  4. Hi Neda,
    it’s nice to see, that I’m not the only one beeing stressed with creating own shoes 😉

    While your Book seems to be not done yet, I have a Question…
    I allready did a Chukka-Boot from 2,5mm thick vegtan Leather.
    The Pattern works and the fitting is ok.

    My Issue:
    When I walk and bent my Toes, the Leather wrinkles extremely and the Front of the Shoe collapses.
    Do you have a Tip, how to get rid of this?

    Thanks a lot!

    Still waiting for your book by the way 😉

    1. Hi Chris, I always make a toebox so that the toe area of the shoes stays popped up. I use thin veg tan leather that I cut using my vamp pattern (you can see the shape of the toecap on the boots above it’s the sewn on front part of the vamp). I skive the top edge paper-thin so it can’t be felt from inside and then cement it onto the inside of the upper with Renia 315 (non toxic cement) or Hirschkleber. When dry the toebox is stiff and doesn’t wrinkle anymore. I also use lasts, stretching the leather over it makes it keep its shape.

      I’m still working on the book, in the end it always takes longer than expected, but I hope to finish it soon.

  5. Hi Neda.. Im inspired by your work and would like to try and make some boots… For the bush.. . Is there anywhere I can get some patterns from to cut my leather.. Male size 10 is what i intend to make..
    Best Regards
    Darryl Wylie

    1. Hi Darryl, there is only one shop that I know of that sells patterns, there isn’t much choice but you might find what you are looking for. When you buy a pattern you have to buy the lasts the pattern was made over as well so it fits perfectly over the lasts if you use different lasts the shoes might come out not looking too good. Otherwise, you have to make your own patterns. I describe the process in my book but I’m still working on it, so check back some time. Here is the link to the pattern shop https://www.cordwainertools.com/lasts

      Best regards
      Neda

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