Some handcrafted footwear.

Sandals – Sandals are quick and easy to make and are probably the oldest type of shoe.  These protect only the sole of the foot and do little for warmth.  These are generally made from leather or fiber and have little or no sewing.  Here is the old post on Southwest style fiber sandals.

Moccasins – A wrap around, soft-soled shoe that can be made from one or several pieces of leather with some sewing involved.  I have made many of these over the years.  I was a Boy Scout when I made my first pair from a pattern found at Tandy leather.

Carbatina or Ghillies – These could really be classed as either sandals or moccasins.  Ghillies are essentially soft-soled sandals that offer some protection to the toes and instep but require little or no sewing.  These are often associated with Scottish culture and kilt-wearing but variations on this theme show up around western Europe and probably beyond.  It becomes a brogue when a sole and low heel are added essentially becoming an “Oxford” type shoe.

Stitch-down shoe – A shoe made right-side-out.  Literally “stitched-down” to the sole or mid-sole.

Turnshoes – A leather shoe, common in Eurasia for a very long time and common into the early modern period.  Commonly found in archaeological contexts amongst the poorer communities of Europe.  Although there are many variations, it is essentially a moccasin-type shoe, sew inside out and turned when finished.  Common in European medieval art.

Tire soles – The Tarahuamara and others use old tires for sandal soles.  I didn’t like the first pair I made several years ago as they were too stiff and heavy.  The key (for me) is thin and flexible.  My newest pair are made from old agricultural conveyor belt.

Huarache – Either- sandals tied with a leather thong wrapped around the foot and ankle generally associated with Indians of Mexico or leather shoe and sandal type made primarily by lacing straps through a mid-sole and having a recycled rubber outsole from tire tread.

If you wish to read my take on why I think we should make (or at least think about) our own clothing, go here.

11 thoughts on “Footwear

  1. When I read all your shoemakingprojects I remembered that long before I had a sewingmachine in my Art-student-days: I made some moccasins inspired by my life-long fascination of American-Indian culture. I worked 3 days on them and it was fun. later I made suede shoes and boots for my dress-up party costumes. I include a few pictures of my first pair.

  2. I am so stoked to have found your blog! Your light brown chukka’s are fantastic looking. Did they break in well? Also, where were you able to locate a shoe last? I know of a company that will make a custom one for me, but it’s about $400 per pair. Do you have any suggestions? Keep up the great work.

    • Finding a last that you like is really difficult. And they do NOT look like your feet. I have discovered that you generally have to buy a set of them or they are expensive. I located a set of three on Ebay that were fairly cheap (under a $100) and the one in my size is pretty close to what I need. It is similar in cut to my Clark’s Desert Boot.
      The experimental shoes I documented wore well and I have just about worn them out. They need resoling. I am changing the design just slightly and going to try a different leather. I’ll put them up when I get them made.

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