How to make your own shoes from scratch

Updated April 17, 2017

Shoes are often expensive and yet they are an essential part of a wardrobe in many parts of the world. Making your own shoes helps save money and allows you to customise them however you'd like so you can afford to make several pairs to coordinate with your different outfits.

Trace the sole of the shoes you'd like to use a model onto a piece of craft foam. Trace six times for each foot. Then choose a different colour of foam to signify the inserts. Trace two times for each foot. You should have eight foot tracings of foam for each foot.

Cut out your foam soles and set aside. Fold a mopping rag or tea towel in half and drape over your foot. Cut out the form of the top of the shoe. This basically just needs to fit over the top of your foot and around your heel. Then you cut out a U-section from the back of the foot, leaving wide sections on either side to wrap around the back of the heel. It should look almost like a mule shoe but without the toe cut-out. Repeat for the other foot.

Paint two poker chips with acrylic paint to create buttons. Glue five layers of the foam soles together in a stacked manner so they all line up perfectly. Hot glue or craft glue works well. Drape the edges of the rag over the underside of the sole and glue in place. Then glue the final sixth layer of foam over the edge of the rags or towels to create a flat sole. Cut one-inch wide stripes of foam and glue horizontally across the bottom of the sole every inch or so for added lift and stability.

Cut and sew a one-inch wide strap across the top of the shoe out of the scraps of rag or towel. Sew a piece of Velcro onto one end to connect the strap. Glue the painted poker chip (or sew on a real button) on top of the fabric strap.

Take the two remaining sole cut-outs and cover with a soft fabric or extra towel. Glue the fabric to the two stacked soles. Place inside the shoes as inserts.

Things You'll Need

  • 16 pieces of 1/8 inch thick craft foam, 6 by 9 inches
  • Pencil
  • Model shoes
  • Scissors
  • 2 tea towels
  • 2 poker chips
  • Acrylic paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Craft glue or hot glue
  • Needle
  • Thread
  • Velcro strip
  • Spare fabric
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