Saturday, March 28, 2015

Shoe Making: Men's Winter Sandal Development

I finally got my latest Men's sandal design complete. I have developed the pattern and the process for this specific type of lasted sandal.
One of the tricks is to stitch up the entire upper and add the velcro or buckle after the shoe is off the last.
The full sides is the design type I was going for.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Shoe Making: Women's Custom Shank - Insole

Over the years I have tried almost every way imaginable to make High Heel insoles for my theatrical works and have settled on this method as my 1st choice.

For me it is not a place to spend a lot of time and once you've been thru the process it is really straight forward.

1st go to the next few Estate sales in your area and buy heeled shoes that are close to the same height as you are planning. I would say plus or minus a 1/2" height and plus or minus 1 shoe size will be fine. Get a couple they are cheep.

Next (this is fun but takes some practice) tear them apart. This is a great excuse to take shoes apart and see what the production house does. The heel is on really well and I recommend putting it into a vice and hammering a large screwdriver in between (two one from each side) the heel (usually plastic) and the sole. Carefully pry all around until it comes loose. Or take it to a shoe repair man, he'll have it off in seconds.

They look like this, you don't care about the BoF area that will be made to fit your last.
This very hard cardboard material is extremely durable and has the Shank imbedded into it; thats what we are after.

There are two ways to re-curve the shank encased in the insole. The trick is to go slow and make an absolute match to your last. Technically the shank is a piece of hardened or spring steel, it will bend to a new shape if moved far enough, if you use the hammer method hold the piece with a pair of pliers. Its trial and error until you get the shape correct, make it exact because you don't want to revisit this step later.

Skive and and glue two over size pieces of leather as shown.

Form to your last in your favorite manner.

Cut and grind to fit.

If you are reattaching the old heel or any production heel and the height does not exactly match your last you must regrind the mating surfaces so that the heel looks and lands in the right spot.

Attachment of the heel is critical and time consuming but done correctly the 1st time you will never have to rework it. Of all of your construction the heel attachment is paramount! it must not come off during use.
Use the holes where the original fasteners were in the insole we have scavenged, do not bother trying to drill thru the shank, it will never happen.

Good luck, Tom