“a step in the right direction” women’s shoemaking kit with plantation natural rubber soles



The shoes that you make from this kit will be flexible, minimalist, and ecological: in other words, they will be “a step in the right direction”.

Imagine – they aren’t made 10,000 miles away in a factory that is unhealthy for its exploited workers, from materials that are toxic and that will never biodegrade. Instead they’ll be locally made with your good energy.

You will  make a felt mock-up to get the fit right, then neatly cut out the leather, punch out about 250 holes with a punch, then stitch the shoe upper parts together. Finally, when stitching the uppers to the soles, you will need to have the strength to pull the stitches tight.

These are center-seam shoes in women’s sizes 6-10, meaning that there’s a seam down the front (vamp) of the shoe; they also have a seam down the heel. You can make them in a standard size using the patterns in this kit, or you can custom-make your patterns, using the directions that are also included.

A set of patterns for making one-piece (no “center-seam”) shoes is also included.

These shoes have a sole that I call the “basic nomoc”. (Nomocs are similar to moccasins in their construction, but they’re not moccasins.) The sole has holes punched around its edge to which the upper gets stitched. The sole consists of two layers – the bottom layer is natural rubber from a latex tree.

The top sole and the upper part of the shoe are made of discontinued upholstery leather samples and remnants. The upper is lined, since upholstery leather is usually somewhat thin.

Choose your upper leather from the photo above. Please put your selection in the “comments” section, or send an email to: simpleshoemaking@gmail.com.

You can see from the following materials list that you can re-create this shoemaking kit so you can continue making shoes  for your family and friends – and even as a business venture.

Materials in the kit:

upholstery leather for making the topsole and the shoe uppers

8″ x 12″ piece of white natural plantation crepe soling

leather for lining the shoe uppers

waxed, braided thread

non-toxic contact cement

felt for making mock-up uppers, and Peltex for mock-up soling

Tools in the kit

cement brush

2 blunt-tipped high-quality harness needles

Additional things you need

leather-cutting scissors

00 punch, either hand spring-punch or drive punch from http://springfieldleather.com/Punch-Spring-Stitching-Hole-SLC

or https://www.tandyleather.com/en/product/stitching-hole-spring-leather-punch

If you choose to use a drive punch, you will also need a rubber or other mallet to hit it with, and a wood end-cut board, thick plastic cutting board or end of log to place under the piece you are punching holes in.

silver gel pen

pliers – for pulling thread through the small holes