Handmade Sneakers

I took a five day intensive shoemaking class at Brooklyn Shoe Space. I learned a ton about how to make sneakers and made my own pair of shoes.

I love the design of the Tom Ford Jackson sneaker, but at $950, they were too expensive for me. Why not make my own version?

To start, I measured my feet.

I used these measurements to determine the correct last to use. A last provides a support for the shoe to be built around.

Once the last is determined, I taped the last to draw my sketch on to.

I marked specific lines on the last to accurately create the sketch, such as at the center, the ball of foot line, the half point length wise from the edge of center, and so on.

I then drew the design on the tape by hand.

I cut the tape off the last. I used a bone fold to stick the tape to pattern paper. I then cut the design out.

Using a tracing wheel, I converted the design on the tape to the pattern paper, and sketched the tracing wheel dot lines with colored pencils.

I drew a one inch allowance at the bottom of the pattern, and cut the pattern out.

I cut out the separate overlay pieces on the upper and cut out stitch lines, used later for tracing on to the suede material.

I then cut out the entire pattern.

To create the liner pattern, I cut the shoe pattern in half and add allowances.

I then traced the pattern on to the suede material.

I cut out each piece from the suede, and skived where there would be overlapping material. I cut out the white details from thinner leather.

I glued the pieces together to get ready for stitching.

I then stitched the various pieces together.

I glued the toebox to the two sides of the upper.

I then stitched the liner together using the liner pattern I cut out and traced on to the lining material.

I glued and stitched the liner to the upper suede.

It was now time to start using the last again. I hammered Texon shank board to the last to provide a base for the midsole.

Using a heat gun, I took the heel counter material and heated it up to be shaped on the last.

I then hammered the upper liner to the shank board and glued the heel counter between the liner and the upper. I glued in foam support above the heel counter.

At the front of the shoe, I added toe stiffener, which is made of the same material as the heel counter.

Using the space between the nails, I glued the liner to the shank board. I then hammered down the liner and trimmed the excess to create a smooth bottom.

I used nails to connect the upper to the last. Similar to the liner, I glued the upper to the shank board and trimmed the excess material.

I then glued cork material to the bottom of the shank board, and trimmed the excess. I then attached the cup soles with glue.

Finally, I removed the last and used a lock stitch awl to side wall stitch the cup soles to upper. And we're done!