Shoemaking schools for learning how to make fully-lasted shoes

I got this email several days ago, and was reminded that making simple “stitch-downs”, the type of shoes that I teach the construction of, doesn’t create the type of refined shoe that many people want to make. So, for those of you in this category, here is the email, and also a comment on

Sharon, I saw you mentioned shoe schools that make lasted shoes.

I just hand sewed welts onto my classic shoes (Classic Men’s Shoe Class) at Bonney & Wills in Ashland, Oregon.  Bill Shanor is an excellent teacher.

My soon to be wearable new shoes are in black cherry goat. I will burnish them after the sole is cemented on tomorrow.

It’s a six day class – 8 hour days. It’s really a wonderful experience. This school would be another option to add to your list of other shoe schools.

Bill also teaches a ladies fashion shoe course, an unlasted shoe course, a boot course, too. He also has a longer western boot course for someone interested in pursuing it further. The classes start at 7 days and some are 13 days. I think the western boot course is 3 weeks.

The classes are small for individual attention.

Thanks for offering shoe making supplies. The stuff can be hard to find for individuals.

Bill Shanor is a really generous teacher. Patterns are individual, designed by the student with direction from Bill.

He teaches the process the way he makes custom boots – a step at a time. No short cuts. There is a lot of psychology in what makes a shoe ‘fit’ to the wearer.

He really helps to steer students when help is needed. If a student is grooving, he steps back to let it happen.

The class is intense and well paced. Of course, Ashland, Oregon is a nice back drop. I lasted my shoes. I sewed the welts and insoles on.

It was well worth the time and money. I’ve taken two day professional workshops in which I gained significantly less. I’m glad I stumbled onto Bonney and Wills.

Are my first shoes perfect? Nope. And I’ve worn them to work every single day since I returned from class.

I’m excited every time I put them on and notice them. 😉

Here are my self-designed lady-like Oxford shoes in black topped, red dyed goat that reads burgundy:


Someone wrote to me recently asking where they could learn to make “German stormtrooper boots”. Well, that’s not something he could learn from me! But I thought of the fabulous boots made by Tamera Lyndsey in the gallery section of the book I wrote with Lark Publishers, Crafting Handmade Shoes. I checked out her shoemaking site,, and was delighted to read that she is “big time” into teaching shoemaking in Jerome, AZ.

So if I had extra money and time – and wasn’t so continually enamored with making simple shoes –  that’s where I would head – and then I’d make a stop in Ashland for a workshop with Bill Shanor!

If you’re ever in Tasmania….look up Luna. I had the good fortune to have a 3-day individual workshop with Luna perhaps 15 years ago,when she was in New England visiting her brother. I still find patterns with her name on them that I have not tried to make footwear from – but this one that I just came across will be an exception. I am just finishing up my moccasin-making book, and am adding a design in which the “plug” doesn’t curve up when stitched to the vamp, but instead curves inward. I’ll be making a video to let you know what I’m talking about, but just serendipitously came upon this sketch of hers, that shows how great this look can be.