Posts tagged: shoes
Ever since I made my first pair of shoes, I’ve wanted to make a pair of brogues. This pair incorporates a lot of new ideas. It’s my first attempt at making brogues. It is my first attempt to use plantation crepe for the outsole. It is my first attempt at mixing two natural dyes, black walnut and kakishibu. I used a brand new pattern for the leather that reduces the amount of stitching that is needed. I used rice paste to hold the leather together before stitching.
My previous pair of kakishibu shoes taught me that a few coats of the dye helps the shoes maintain their shape, eliminating the need for stiffeners in the toe and heel. It also gives some water resistance. When I walk through wet grass in my green leather shoes, the leather looses shape and begins to transfer water through to my socks. The same wet grass in kakishibu shoes is not a problem for shape or wetness.
This pair of shoes is complete. Something I didn’t expect was that kakishibu on top of black vinegar dye would have bit is a sheen. It’s most noticeable on the toes, since I added a few extra coats there.
Next will be another pair for myself. I have some experiments I want to try, and I’m not as comfortable experimenting on shoes for other people.
I got these moose hide moccasins from Town View Leather a few years ago. My goal was to see how a good pair of moccasins was out together. I found them very comfortable and wore them frequently. The one downside to the shoes was they didn’t have a rubber sole. Leather soles are nice in dry weather, but walking on concrete and asphalt in wet weather wears them out quickly. I decided to add a rubber sole to make them all weather shoes. It was a quick project that gave me a feeling of accomplishment, which I needed after the cloth shoe struggles.
Altering clothing didn’t adequately prepare me for making something out of cloth. My first pair of cloth shoes is going much more slowly than I hoped. The process of making sure no edges are unfinished led me to undo hours of stitching when I realized I made a mistake in the construction. Then eyelets worked well in practice, but didn’t cooperate on what I hope will be the final shoe. One line of eyelets isn’t aligned well, but I don’t want to waste fabric trying again until I know the design will work. Plus, I don’t have much spare fabric (either the kasuri outer fabric or the Ventile inner fabric). But it is a pair for me, and I’m willing to live with mistakes I wouldn’t accept in shoes for somebody else.
The one problem with just using stitching is what happens if the stitching breaks. The tongue fell off yesterday. It did allow me to correct a minor sizing issue with the tongue, and it convinced me to add a second row of stitching on the next pair. It took a little work to figure out how to stitch the tongue back on, since using a needle inside the shoe isn’t easy. But I love that I can repair my shoes myself, I don’t need to just get replacements.
The first test of my latest shoes, a 7 mile hike. Most of it was on very well maintained trails, but a bit was off trail. I think the shoes held up better than I did.
I just finished these sandals, my second attempt to make a pair. I cut the footbed too small on the first pair, but I reused the straps for this pair. This is also my first experiment with non-glued soles. They are attached with Chicago screws.
I tweaked my wholecut pattern to be closer to my favorite hiking shoes (from Inov-8), and I tweaked the last to have a less boxy toe. Unlike my previous green shoes, these didn’t need breaking in. Instead, they are the most comfortable pair that I’ve made, at least for day to day use. Now I need to test them on some hikes.
My latest pair of shoes, they are a gift for my wife. Like my last pair, they are wholecut, I am happy with the pattern, although I have some ideas about tweaking it on a future pair. The third photo spotlights a blemish in the leather. It didn’t take dye, probably due to a scar on the cow.