Okay so I gave up on the kids Moccasins. I actually don’t really like the pattern, and nor was the kid that interested in wearing them, so my cunning plan of saving material and building skills by experimenting on my kid has failed dismally.
On to ‘Plan B’ then. Before I had bought any tools or materials, a simple starting point seemed to be making some sort of soft-soled desert boot. I didn’t want to do a traditional pair, because one of the concepts behind this foray is to make minimalist, ergonomic shoes that let you feel the ground and activate all those dormant foot and leg muscles that have been frozen from over padded and structured shoes, so doing anything with a hard sole is off my radar for the time being.
The first step was the pattern. For some reason I couldn’t find a decent pattern, so I decided to make one from scratch. I used some of the ideas from making the mocs in terms of how to adjust fit, and also used a similar forefoot shape (albeit in size 13 rather than size 2) that is derived from the actual shape of my foot. I also stumbled upon a quick way to mock the shoes up using an old pair of jeans and a stapler. Sounds crude but it really works! I avoided quite a few problems by doing this.
Once I had the pattern, I sewed the forefoot (vamp) to the sides, and then the sole to the upper using the switch-down method. The back of the shoe I completely improvised. I glued and sewed the lower half of heel, then cut out a wedge and angled the top portion in, which improved the ergonomics a lot. The heel I really struggle with at the moment because it’s a three dimensional curve and how nice the shoe feels on your foot has to do with how well it grips your heel. Anyway, for this pair at least it will suffice.
Aside from the design of the heel, the most harrowing part was bonding the sole to the upper. When you put glue on the upper, it warps all over the shop, and the Vibram sole is of course fairly rigid so it doesn’t move much at all, so attaching the two was nerve-wracking. I just cut the sole roughly to shape first and then rolled the upper on to the sole.
As a little flourish, I’m adding three punched holes in various ways to every shoe I make. It doesn’t really mean anything, but after I’d done the mocs, I noticed that sometimes if you’re making simple shoes they can look too simple, so some little bits of decoration or detail seem to make it more ‘designerly’.
So now all that needs doing is finding a proper pair of shoelaces, and making the left one. When I asked my wife if she would be seen with me wearing these outside of the house, there was a long hesitation, which means I’m definitely making the left one!
<Stitching the Vamp to the sides. Big chunky primitive stitches!>
And now pictures of the almost finished shoe…
And some details…