How to make shoes?

Shoe maker Amara Hark-Weber and the best class I took at university.

February was shoe month. After years of wondering how to make shoes, and making my fair share of bizarre 'toga' shoes (running sandals), and trolling the internet staring at shoes and imagining how to change them, I finally got a shot to take a class at Quest in how to make them.

Amara Hark-Weber (click on the name to check out her work, it's crazy good!), a talented bespoke shoe maker visited Quest from Minnesota and gave us the run down. After a visit to Fluevog's, Dayton's boots, and Labelle's shoe supply in Vancouver it was time for our 12 person class to get after it. We were taught how to pattern our feet, map out and design, and build shoes. Three weeks later? We had shoes! 

Here's a progress gallery for the shoes I made that I jokingly call 'The Funkman.' The basic concept was to make a standard derby with a flat sole and classic leather colourways, but with wild leather laces and a semi-hidden bright blue leather liner. Something I could wear comfortably while taking photos of weddings :)

Click on the photo on the right to scroll through.

I don't know how professional makers handle the stress. I have so much more respect for good shoes now and their makers. Makers are wicked talented to custom fit a shoe to someone else's foot while simultaneously overcoming the sheer terror of all the little mistakes committed along the way. A process of personal suffering that Amara cheerfully told us never goes away, no matter how good you get.

Here's the final product, a hand stitched all leather derby on a funny box platform on wheels with wood printed photos, and inlaid river rock.

From a few different angles. (Thanks for the Sasquatch socks Shane and Linda!)

Click on the photo on the right to scroll through.

And thankfully, they fit.

If you have questions, comment and I'll try to answer them!