Footwear Design by Aki Choklat

This is the book to purchase if you love to design footwear – or for someone you love who loves to design footwear. It’s the workbook used when the author teaches  Footwear Design at FIT in New York, the London College of Fashion, and Pollimoda in Florence, Italy. But you can purchase it online – amazon has it, and used copies would be fine, I would think.

This book:

– describes the design process from inspiration to final presentation

– includes practical tips and step-by-step guides to collection design

– showcases the work of key designers and footwear experts

There are amazing shoes and boots in this book, this is my favorite pair:

designfeltpaint

( aku bäckström uses various interesting materials and finishes, such as felt and paint)

OMG (this is the first time I have used this expression), check out this Finnish designer’s webpage www.akubackstrom.com for photos of more footwear guaranteed to shake up your ideas of how shoes should be.

Then design and make some yourself to shake our ideas of how shoes should be and please send photos!

ladybugs and leaves – baby shoes

Here are a couple of pairs of shoes that my daughter recently made for friends who have also recently had babies. The pattern is in How to Make Simple Shoes for Children, in the smallest size, which is for a 3 1/2″ long foot. Since these leathers were so soft, she made them with the seams inside the shoe instead of the usual stitch-down process that we usually use. It seems to be easier for those with such pliable feet to get shoes on made in this way. One could put a little pad of wool fleece (I have a box of it cleaned, get in touch if you’re interested)  in there also to make sure the inside-seam didn’t rub on feet, or a piece of lambskin.

 

Primitive Shoes by Margrethe Hald

I am elated with my discovery today – I was thumbing through my precious copy of Primitive Shoes by Margrethe Hald thinking, “wouldn’t it be wonderful if this book were available to everyone.”

I ordered mine from the National Museum of Denmark about twenty years ago and pick it up often to marvel at the brilliance of the minds that figured out so many unique and beautiful ways to cover their feet, and sometimes to attempt to duplicate their creations  – the subtitle is: An Archaeological-Ethnological Study Based upon Shoe Finds from the Jutland Peninsula.

I believe the book was published post- humously.  Thank you, Margrethe Hald, for leaving such a gift behind.

She even left us with this message and poem:

..”there can be no double that it was a hard fate, and evidence of bitter poverty, to have no protection for one’s feet when conditions were bleak. This can be gathered from the medieval vision poems. In these, to give shoes to the shoeless is accounted a good deed of high merit, in return for which the giver is promised relief on the hard road to the other world.”

(quoted after Knut Liestol)

“Gone have I over Gjaller Bridge

with sharp hooks in a row.

Yet worse I thought the stinking marsh

God help those who there must go!”

“Blest is he who in this life

gave shoes to the needy poor.

He will not have to walk barefoot

on the sharp and thorny moor.”

So, I googled for the book – and found the entire book available at no charge at: http://vitezek.io.ua/album213075

Last night I was scrutinizing a pair of shoes a woman was wearing that looked similar to a Roman latticework sandal – she said they were made by Mia, but I couldn’t find a photo of them on the internet.

The shoes in the photo below are somewhat similar to the shoes I saw, it’s a pair that I’d like to work out the pattern for some day.

Otzi’s shoes reconstructed

I received an email from Ecopel, the naturally tanned and dyed leather from Germany, with information on an exhibition described in the following paragraph. One of the shoes on display is that of Otzi, the mummified man found in the Italian alps about twenty years ago, that proved to be about 5000 years old. (check wikipedia for more information, it’s amazing what has been discovered by testing substances found in his intestines, his mitochondrial DNA, and countless other aspects of him.)

I have been most interested in his shoes, in fact I’ll dig up an article about them and post, but in the meantime his shoes have been reproduced for the exhibit. Here’s a photo of them – I’m fascinated by the way the sole is molded upward and held in place by a strip of leather woven through it – now I want a pair!

The Rhineland-State Museum for archeological, art and cultural history in Bonn is currently showing a special exhibition about footwear. ‘From Ötzis’ shoes to high heels’ 400 samples can be seen here. The exhibition demonstrates that for us as humans, shoes have an essential jacketing and protecting meaning and at the same time are a kind of jewelry and serve as a way of self-expression. Shoe loans of famous people from Picasso over Jürgen Klinsmann to Lady Gaga can be seen there as well as women’s shoes of the Rococo or soldier’s boots of the Roman Age. Someone who is interested in shoes will find a rich fund of information and inspiration visiting the exhibition.

Felt slippers

http://www.marthastewart.com/864540/stephanies-sewn-felt-slippers –  is the url for a great slipper pattern based on a Native American moccasin, published in Martha Stewart’s Living magazine recently. It has a lot of versatility, as shown in the photo.

http://vimeo.com/32458552 –  is the url for a video of Stephanie herself showing you how to make these slippers; I think my contribution will be to make a set of women’s patterns for these slippers, and kids as well.

And finally for this post: http://escapefrombk.wordpress.com/2011/11/27/sewn-felt-slippers/ for yet another version. I’ll work on the pattern and hopefully post some templates tomorrow.

And, can you believe it – another version at: http://zipperteeth.blogspot.com/2012/03/sewn-felt-slippers.html

Fortunate wet-felt bootmakers

wet felt bootmaking

I am making “Soles with an Edge” for students in two workshops right now, here’s a photo of boots made last year by instructor Carin Engen. I love providing this soling, because these beautiful boots were worn outside all last winter! No more little circles of suede as soling!

Of course the felt boots are exceedingly warm, but the natural rubber soling adds to their warmth by being so flexible..when your foot muscles are involved in walking, they stay warm.

Another opportunity to have our own creativity and skills expressed wherever we go..

Update on prada footwear spring 2013 ……

prada sandalsGreetings, since I am the go-to person for the latest in foot fashion (for those of you who don’t know me, this is a joke – but i do like to check out couture footwear for ideas.. So now that i’ve found a good photo of said footwear, it’s a tabi-sock inside a sandal – some at perilous heights, others at ground level. But making a sandal, with a soft leather colorful or metallic tabi sock inside it, to wear in the fall, sounds like an irresistible project. Just make your sandals – they could even be minimalist tumahumara sandals with tabi inserts, with long cords to wrap around tabi at ankle..

Whoa, I just googled “how to make tabi socks”, found that Folkwear patterns sells a pattern (I ordered it), and there is a beautiful pair of tabi socks that you can knit at http://idahostixandstrings.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/tabi-sock-pattern.pdf. Let’s have awesome feet!

It’s official: duct tape shoes are in!

Here’s a shoe from the Prada show at Milan Fashion Week spring 13 – and folks, you can make them yourself! The trick to making shoes from duct tape is to wrap the first layer around your foot with the sticky-side out; then apply a neat second layer with sticky-side in – and you’ve got $500.00 per pair shoes! (and don’t forget the bow.)

“Shoes are boring; wear sneakers”

Converse “design it yourself” ads are all over web pages I go to: I say, “shoes somebody else makes are boring, make your own!” Why be stuck with choosing colors and maybe the location of a rivet or two? Start with my book, How to make the simplest sandals for everyone with your own two hands! And out of recycled materials, no less!

I was talking with a fellow recently who wants to make high end shoes for men. As I reflected on our conversation, the idea came to me that a brilliant business move might be to make the “fisher(man)” sandal, and make the heel section and toe-strap out of a neutral, less-expensive leather, then make the cross-straps out of more interesting colors and textures of leathers; perhaps the customer could select the colors and types of leather that he wants for the cross-straps from strips on display.  His customized sandals could be ready in hours.

The fisher sandal that is featured in “simplest sandals” has an elastic instead of a leather strap; great for women’s and children’s sandals, but not sufficiently “upscale” for the man’s sandal I am imagining. I’ll be working on making patterns for the fitted heel section and strap so it can be available for those who are intrigued by this concept. I did create a children’s pattern such as this one several years ago for an organization in Haiti; you can see the sandals in the young Haitian man’s hands, one pair I sent as a sample, the other pair he made himself.