How do you make shoes? Great Question! This all depends on the style of shoes you are making but most shoes follow what is called the ‘cemented construction’.
In a nutshell, ‘cemented construction’ is referring to a shoe that is help together with super strong glue. It’s where the upper materials of the shoe are moulded around a shoe last (shoe shaped block) and glued to the base of the insole. The shoe last is a vital part of the process and influences the size, shape and height of the shoe. The layers of material that make up the shoe take on the shape of the last during the ‘lasting’ process.
Whilst you would assume there is a lot of sewing involved, sewing normally only makes up around 10% of the whole shoemaking process in cemented construction. Most of the process involves either cutting, glueing or molding - Easy Right!
The alternative construction method is traditional hand welted shoes, this is where the upper is hand stitched to a thick leather base and this is naaaaaaat for beginners, it’s super hard work and honestly not something we see very often in modern shoemaking.
To break down how to make shoes in an easy to understand way I’ve written a short list of steps.
1. Create a pattern from your shoe design
2. Cut and stitch together your uppers (This is the main part of the shoe)
3. Prepare your insoles to fit your lasts
4.Last your linings (This is where you mould the upper over the lasts)
5. Add in your stiffeners
6. Last your uppers
7. Add your soles and heels
8. Finishing touches
These shoemaking steps are applicable to almost every shoe construction process and once you understand each of these steps in context, then making your own shoes from home really becomes very easy.
So, now that we’ve answered ‘How do you make shoes?’ the next step is for us to actually show you!
The simplest way to get started is to book yourself onto our Online Footwear Masterclass. This course is designed for complete beginners and comes with a free shoemaking starter kit delivered right to your door no matter where you are in the world. (free worldwide shipping included)!
The course covers various shoe styles, including high heels, stilettos, mid heels, derby and oxford style mens shoes as well as zip boots, lace up boots, pull on boots, chelsea boots, sneakers, sandals, patternmaking and a bonus course on how to start your own shoe brand.
I hope this has been helpful and happy shoemaking!