Sharon RaymondTwenty-five years ago I was living with my husband and daughter in a commune in the UK, where hand-made shoes were on the feet of gardeners, potters and other residents. Realizing that it was possible to make footwear was the moment my life transformed.

Now I want to help other people become shoemakers by offering books, videos, workshops and my “First Footsteps” shoemaking kit for making toddler’s shoes. These are available on my “products” tab, including my new book, How to Make the Simplest Shoes: nomocs, lomocs and fomocs with your own two hands!

All of my footwear is made ecologically, which means that all my processes avoid toxic shoe cements and new petroleum-based soling – my favorite soling is composed of layers of inner tubes, preferably from trucks and tractors, but car will do. I don’t sand the soles to smooth the edges as I don’t want to deal with the black dust, but fortunately I love the look of the soling layers cut with pinking shears – no need for smooth!

I encourage the use of vegetable-tanned leather, which is available from www.pergamena.net. They have an etsy shop: www.etsy.com/shop/pergamenany which offers skins at lower prices. The use of scrap leather is also encouraged, from upholstery shops or thrift stores.

Why make shoes?!

  • they can be made of materials that you feel good about
  • they can be made in natural, healthy shapes
  • they can be made to fit unusually-shaped feet
  • you can express yourself creatively
  • it lessens your dependence on factory-made products that may not always be available
  • it’s empowering to make something that most people think you can’t!
  • you can repair them, so they don’t end up in the dump so fast.
  • you know that no one was exploited in the making of them – they are made with joy.