Meet the Teacher: Amanda Overs

As we head towards our 10th birthday, that's right tenth! we want to celebrate our amazing community of shoemakers. Far from hiding what happens at our London and New York studios we're opening up the doors so that you can get to know our teachers, makers, students, friends and inspirations.

To kick things off our Founder, Amanda Overs, sat down to answer some of the burning questions that she often gets asked and talks all things shoemaking. So grab a hot drink, take a seat and meet the teacher.

What ignited your interest in making shoes?

I always loved high heels as a teenager, my two sisters have bigger feet than me so shoes were the one thing in my wardrobe that would never go missing. My mum thinks this is what sparked it, which I find hilarious! It was actually my mum who suggested I do a shoe design course after I finished school so I booked myself onto a shoemaking course (never even considering the difference between designing and making). It was to my surprise that I LOVED to make. I love getting my hands dirty and having the feeling of accomplishment when you finally get it perfect. The rest is history.

What is your advice for someone wanting to get into shoe design?
It's pretty important to understand the difference between shoemaking and shoe design. This being said even if you never intend on making the shoes yourself you should still go through the process at least once. Having an understanding of how a shoe is put together and the key components is a vital part of being a good designer. Plus you really need to have those skills so that you can communicate properly with your factory. It may seem like an unnecessary cost to start with but it'll probably save you a lot of money in mistakes and miscommunications down the line. Educate yourself.

What's one of your most memorable moment's teaching at I Can Make Shoes?

I look back fondly on the days where I was teaching my method of shoemaking in the front room of my flat share in East London. The whole ethos behind I Can Make Shoes is to teach people how to make shoes from home, so I did just that - taught from my home. It was a wonderful feeling to have people travelling from all over the world to come to my home and make shoes. 
Don't get me wrong, I love our workspace now and it's great to have everything out on shelves as I used to have to pack everything in and out of boxes every time I had a class.

If you had to give us one top tip what would it be?

I am going to cheat and give two because my first one is a quick one 🙂 
  1. There is non-toxic shoemaking glue available and you should all be using it! (Renia Aquillim 315).
  2. If your shoes are too stiff at the heel or toe area give them a blast with your hairdryer and stretch them out with your fingertips from the inside. It'll loosen them up without you having to 'break them in'.
  • I created a free 40-minute online course called 'Introduction to Shoemaking' to show how easy home shoemaking can be and to give you a little taste of what I Can Make Shoes is all about. Sign up for instant access.