I am so happy that I have shoemaking students coming to my home to learn – it gives me a great reason to purchase materials – and books! that if they were only for me – well, I have so many design ideas already that I don’t think I have enough years left to experiment with them all. The latest book I purchased – for my students – is a 5″ x 8″ book from Trippen, the German shoemaking company. It shipped from Germany, is printed both in English and in German, has almost 600 pages of – inspiration. There is nothing I love more than taking an advant-garde shoe with all its chunky sole and industrial hardware, and tame it down into a great little “stitch-down”. But early-on in the book, I ran into “meander” – an actual stitch-down, rendered in softest-elk (as most Trippen shoes are) – I would hardly modify it at all. I have an elk hide, will be whipping up myself a “meandering pair” some day. Maybe you will too?

stitch-down from Trippen


Now that I look at it — this shoe is a little trickier to make than I had realized – where do all those tabs come from that make up the toe?


  1. Kim A

    The shoes that I make for myself are hand stitched from top to bottom. Punching holes in the upper-topsole-rubber midsole is a task I don’t look forward to because of the wear and tear on my hands, shoulders and wrists. But I figured out a way to breeze through this! I used my husbands drill press. I put a small nail (brad) in the chuck of the press, clamped a scrap of a pine board to the table of the press so the brad would have something to go into after passing through the midsole. No need to turn the drill press on. I just used the up and down lever action of the press to make the holes. I just finished punching holes in a variation of your Fisherman Sandal in about a half hour. Works like a charm! Will send a photo when they are completed (if I can figure out how.)

  2. Kim A

    I recently finished a pair of “Ghillies” along the lines of the pair pictured above made of one piece of glove tanned leather (lined with pigskin) with 14 “fingers” wrapping the toe area and 3 more on each side of the arch. I stitched the entire piece to a midsole and then attached a thin rubber sole. Minimal sewing involved. The pattern was a bear to make but once I got that mastered the shoes are incredibly comfortable. While not everyone likes the look of the ‘bump toe’ effect I have found that the leather in the toe area has started to relax with each wearing

  3. MrRozzer

    The tabs in the toe come from cutting the leather either in a wide U shape, as theshoelady said, or perhaps even from a straight strip. The straighter the piece (that is, the wider the U), the more bulk in the toe. Imagine cutting roughly a rectangle, then putting slits across most of its width. The uncut edge gets stitched to the sole. This piece runs around the forefoot. This is a very old design–the Romans used something very similar to make the sandals their soldiers wore.

  4. Very neat shoe – good for feet that swell. To get the tabs at the toe, the pattern needs to be cut in a wide ‘U’ shape. The toe area can also be left uncut and pleated, and the lace passed through slots in the pleats. This would make the area less bulky.

    • greetings, you haven’t seen anything yet – this book is full of amazing shoes – one that can be changed from a low-heeled shoe to a high-heeled one, another that adjusts for different sizes! I am thinking that the “meander” shoe is cut with a strip extending from the shoe in the toe area on both sides of the shoe; the ends then get turned back and cemented in place around the toe area, so there are two layers there…i’ve got to try it sometime, are you guessing construction like i am, or, as shoe lady, do you maybe have a pair?! I think if i wanted the look, i wouldn’t make it with so much going on in the toe area either, best wishes, sharon

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