This is a great question and one that I get asked all the time, ‘How long does it take to make shoes?’ The answer will depend heavily on the design of the shoe, but to give you a rough idea if you are making your own shoes following our home shoemaking techniques it can take anywhere from 2+ hours for a pair of sandals and 6+ hours for a pair of boots. Like I said, it all depends on how complicated the style you are making is and if you are learning as you go.
I always suggest for your first pair that you don’t try to do them in one sitting, it’s much easier to absorb all of the steps if you spread them out over a couple of days or evenings. If I am making myself a pair of shoes I could sit and make them from start to finish in one day but to be honest I usually do them in sections and just do an hour or so in the evenings until they are finished, there’s no right or wrong it just depends how much free time you’ve got.
The most time consuming process of shoemaking can often be simply deciding on the design you’d like to make and choosing the materials - lots of deliberating!
Once you have decided on your design and have collated all your supplies this is how you will mostly spend your time:
Glueing and dry time 25%
Moulding and shaping 45%
You might be wondering, what are the quickest shoes to make and which ones take the most time?
Sandals are super speedy, I even have a tutorial on how to do a very simple pair from scratch in 15 minutes! But being realistic I would put at least 2+ hours aside to do a really nice job on them 🙂
Making more structured shoes like high heels or lace up shoes is more of a time investment and boots are the style that by far take the longest to make. Boots almost always require a mock up to be made to double check the fitting (especially knee-high boots) so this can add quite a bit of extra time to the making process.
Just remember most of the shoemaking process is not time-dependent so you can spread the whole process out over days or even years if you really wanted.
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!