Well it’s big black boot season again…. I know everyone is saying this but HOOOOOOW?!?… I’m still processing 2020 and we’re already wrapping up 2021!
Anyway I know everyone feels like that, so I won’t dwell on it i’ll just tell you about making these boots instead because it’s waaaay more interesting.
So where should I start.. There’s three notable things about this pair of boots. The first is obviously the chunky soles (which I LOVE by the way) the second is the hiking boot shoelaces and thirdly they are totally Vegan!
The soles I bought on Etsy and I was so excited when I found them that I bought a pair in cream too. As you probably already guessed I am a bit of a craft addict and can spend hours on Etsy scrolling through finding new suppliers of cool things.. The main thing to consider when buying soles like this is, are they going to fit your lasts? More often than not the answer is no, not really… but does that stop me, hell no! I knew just by looking at these online that my lasts would be too narrow to fit this sole unit, so here’s what I did; I placed my last inside the sole unit and used scraps of veg-tan leather to build up the width of the lasts to fit the base of the sole unit. Once they fit together perfectly I could just follow my normal steps and make the boots. The great thing about getting sole units like this is that making the boots actually takes less time than usual because you don't have to make the soles.. You just make the boots as usual then glue the soles on at the end and you’re good to go!
Ok, so let’s talk about the laces. I’ve been waiting to use these since 2018! I was given them as a gift by a lovely shoelace supplier on a buying trip in istanbul. I had bought a ton of normal shoelaces and just as I was about to leave he stopped me and said “I think you’ll like these too, my gift” and handed me a small plastic bag full of hiking boot laces in different colours.. Over the years, they’ve been used by students in our workshops and I have replaced the hiking laces in my boyfriend's boots a few times too… But I had been saving this pair for myself and I am so glad I finally made the perfect boots for them.
The faux-leather is probably the best faux-leather I’ve ever managed to get my hands on. I got it from a market stall in the Philippines in 2019 when I was over there on a social impact trip with the British Council.
I know what you’re thinking.. “How can I get this good quality vegan leather? Do you sell any vegan leather?” I hear you, and am working on it, watch this space! 😉
Here’s a little run through of how I made the shoes.
Step 1 - Build up the lasts to fit the chunky sole units and make the patterns. I almost always make a mock up when making boots just to double check the fit. This pair was no exception, I made a mock up and did a few tweaks to the pattern to make sure that the boots fit me perfectly. These preparation steps are what adds most of the time to making these boots, but here’s something to keep in mind, once you’ve perfected your boot pattern and built up your lasts you can make multiple pairs in different colours much quicker in the future 😉
Step 2 - I then cut and assembled my uppers. I used the same black vegan leather for the uppers and the lining. I used black metal eyelets, I love adding a bit of hardware to boots as it just feels like it gives a good quality finish to them.
Step 3 - I cut my insoles to size. I was about to cover them and then I decided “naaaah I can't be bothered”, so I decided to add a full insock at the end instead. Yep this is totally allowed when you’re making fully enclosed shoes and boots!
Step 4 - I lasted the linings, inserted my stiffeners and lasted the uppers. I love this stage, it’s when they start to feel like real boots.
Step 5 - I added a cork bottom filler to the base of the shoes to create a nice flat surface for my next step which was to glue on the soles.
Estimated time to make = 8 hours
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Happy Shoemaking Amanda xx Pssssssst.... If you want to have a look at the shoes our students have been making, give us a follow on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/icanmake_shoes/