Welcome to Simple Shoemaking!
Making simple footwear has been my passion since I lived in the south of England several decades ago, and met people there who were making shoes. Realizing I was self-sufficient in many ways, but couldn't cover my own feet, I decided to correct that situation.
I learned, and now teach, the "stitch-down" shoemaking process, in which the bottom edge of the upper part of the shoe is turned out, then is cemented and stitched to the topsole. Finally, a rugged outdoor sole is stitched in place. Very simple!
I use non-toxic materials and cements in my shoemaking workshops and instructional offerings.
On this website:
- Learn how to make shoes in a class customized to your needs (Shoemaking was considered "one of the top jobs" in the "clean tech" revolution in an article at Treehugger.com (10/22/07) And, when Richard Heinberg, ("one of the world's most effective communicators of the urgent need to transition away from fossil fuels") who spoke recently at nearby Hampshire College, responded to a student's question, "what should we be studying?" he said, "learn to butcher animals and make shoes!"
- Purchase books with directions and patterns for making a wide variety of shoe styles
- Purchase dvds of the shoemaking, sandal-making and moccasin-making processes
- Purchase pdfs of individual patterns
- Learn about the range of materials that can be used to make shoes
- Purchase a pair of lasts needed to make shoes using my process, in women's sizes 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. Or, watch a video on my blog that shows you how to make a pair for yourself.
- Develop ideas for starting your own shoemaking business Purchase Soles with an Edge, which is earth-friendly outdoor soling with a perforated suede edge standing up from it that you can stitch to the footwear you make. It is also available for indoor wear with a non-skid natural rubber sole.
- Purchase hard-to-find shoemaking supplies
- Watch videos of shoemaking processes on my blog.
- Find contact information if you are involved with a nonprofit organization or live in a developing country.
I would like to help if a shoemaking business would be of interest to you.
- Check out my blog.
"You Walk Wrong!" is an article from the NY Times magazine that I invite you to read. It supports the simple way that I make shoes, with lots of space for your toes and thin flexible soling that comes as close as possible to duplicating the barefoot experience, while still protecting your feet.
Become the shoemaker for your village! Here are three reasons why learning to make shoes now might be a great idea:
1. Many people are sensing that the transportation costs for importing products such as footwear may soon outweigh the advantages of low labor costs in other countries;
2. There is a lot of encouragement for people to reclaim the ability to MAKE THINGS! in this country;
3. Many people are intent upon buying locally-produced food and products. My town is creating a store selling only locally-made products; I think shoes would be an important product in such a store, and maybe the stores will develop all over!
I believe the time is right for a multitude of small shoemaking businesses. I can help the budding shoemaker to blossom - first by teaching her or him the basics of simple shoemaking, then offering support during the development of a product, the purchase of tools and materials, and throughout the start-up time. If my belief aligns with yours, please see my Shoemaking Workshops page and consider taking a class customized to your interests.
If a workshop is not possible for you, I believe you can become a shoemaker using the books and other materials offered on this website; if need be we could set up a skype-session, or could communicate in whatever ways would further your shoemaking adventure.