How to make high heel shoes

Updated February 21, 2017

High heels dated back to 4000 BC in the form of high-heeled sandals worn by Egyptian butchers to keep them from stepping in offal. Now, heels are a statement of fashion more than of function.

Measure the length and width of the feet of the person for whom the shoes are being made. Be certain to measure accurately and measure both feet, as these measurements may vary.

Find a last, or a model, that closely matches the measurements of the wearer's feet.

Design the style of the shoe, and cut out the individual pieces from the material you choose to make the shoe. Cut out the counters, the pieces which cover the back and sides of the feet. Cut out the vamp, or the piece that covers the toes and foot's top and is sewn into the counter. Stretch the vamp over the last with a pair of pliers and tack it into place.

Soak the leather that forms the soles in water until it become pliable.

Cut the soles into the shape specified by the design, and beat it on a lapstone, a stone held in the cobbler's lap, with a mallet into a smooth shape. Cut a groove that becomes the indent where the stitching is inserted along the edge of the sole. Mark holes in this groove to show where you will put the stitches.

Glue the sole to the upper or vamp, then sew the 2 pieces together using a double-stitch. Use 2 needles at the same time, but have the stitches go in alternate directions so that one stitch is done from the top while the other is done from the bottom. Make certain to use the same holes with both needles, so the effect resembles weaving.

Attach the heels to soles with nails. In the case of high heels, the heels themselves could be made of varying materials. Hand-made heels may be made of wood, while machine-made heels are made of plastic. Cover the heel with a material that matches or complements the rest of the shoe, and glue or stitch it in place.

Trim the sole, and remove any nails so you can remove the shoe from the last. Finish the shoe with any linings you may desire. Polish the shoe if the material allows it, or stain it any color.

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