Alright, so I finished my second pair of actually wearable shoes. These are the funky Long Ball Lace inspired design, but using a stitch-down construction. The pattern needs some more tweaking, but the fit is exactly where I want it. The fit really is quite amazing. There’s none of the ‘floppy’ feeling of the first pair of wearable shoes I made, and the fit seems equally as good on the left as it does on the right. I’m not totally sure how I managed that because the pattern for both is identical (but my feet aren’t).
So, what did I learn making these?
- You really do need to add a heel counter, it makes the shoe fit better and makes it more stable.
- Adding layers such as another strip of leather on the inside to reinforce the lace holes is a good idea because the leather I used is quite soft and stretchy.
- Leather such as the offcut I used for the uppers stretches more in one direction than it does the other, so next time, I need to make sure that for each piece of the pattern, the stretch goes in the same direction.
So what would I change to the pattern?
- I’m working on a new sole/last shape that is a bit better looking. Each iteration gets better, which is good.
- The front ‘toes’ panel needs it’s shape reworked. I think looks-wise it would be better if there was less thickness variation along it’s length. From some angles the shoe looks…..like it’s melting.
- On the outside, there needs to be more ‘sweep’ where the outer transitions into the section where the lace holes are. It kinks and is a bit too abrupt. A simple fix.
I’ve also noticed that with stitch-down, you need an insole especially because the heel of your foot is rounded, so you need to get rid of the transition where the upper curves back out after it’s stitched. I was trying to figure out why the back of the shoe wasn’t as comfortable as I’d hoped, then when I popped a thin terry and latex insole in there the lumpiness went away and they started to feel amazing.
I’ve been wearing them for the past two days straight, and all I can say really is that they fit fantastic and so far, no issues. As they are zero drop shoes with only 4.5mm of material between you and the ground, they very much give you that ‘barefoot’ feel and that does take some getting used to. You quickly realise how much with other shoes you strike your heel on the ground when you walk, because with these you just can’t do that. However with these, you kind of feel lower to the ground, more in touch, and more agile somehow, which I like.
I think it would be a great challenge to make some sort of sporting shoes once I get more skilled, but next up, I think I’m going to revisit the desert boots with an improved sole and pattern.