July 2, 2020

Making shoes with minimum shoe making supplies

How you can make shoes with minimum shoe making supplies is one of the first questions you ask me. Working with minimum shoe making supplies for a beginner in shoemaking is so important. 

In this post, I will teach a shoemaking technique you can use to make shoes, if you don’t have all the supplies for shoemaking.

It can be a difficult task to find all needed shoe making supplies at once, especially the sewing machine. I decided to show you how you can make shoes like a pro WITHOUT the sewing machine! 

Here I am not talking about hand stitching that can be a good option for you as well. Many of my students that still don’t have a sewing machine do just that. They started sewing by hand and achieved great results!

See below, few works of  my students that also didn’t have all needed shoe making supplies and just started to overcome this problem using their creativity!

No shoemaking supplies = Use your creativity
ankle-boots made by hand

Learn Shoemaking & How To Work With Minimum tool and materials

This is one of the options you have, if you still don’t know what shoemaking tools and materials you need to use but you have another option that you will love for sure!

I wrote very useful post ‘’What tools do you need to get started shoe making courses online?’’ where you can find a list of minimum supplies for shoe making you will need at the beginning of your learning!

You can start making shoes with minimum supplies for shoe making right now if you will make your shoes with raw edges!


Because if you can‘t find these important tools/supply for shoe making as sewing machine, you still can make a shoe/sandal without it! 

The fact is, that raw edges of the shoe/sandal upper are the edges that don’t have folding and stitches. [How to make a shoe with folding you can learn in this post ‘’How To Fold a Shoe Upper?![Making of Shoes]

In the cobbling shoes process with the raw edge, the lining and the upper connected with each other simply with the glue. This is how you assemble them to have a complete shoe. 

So, if you are a beginner in shoemaking and already have some shoe making supplies, you can already start to make a shoe using this approach that I am gonna teach you in this post. 

BTW, if you still need to find some supplies for your shoe making craft, you can check my online shoemaking store. Here you can find everything you need to start learning shoemaking craft.

For me personally is very important to explain to you that, if you are really serious about shoemaking and really want to make a shoes on your own, you can begin with minimum tools and materials. You can do it regardless of where you are, where you work!  

You can follow my weekly  blog posts because I have written a ton of shoemaking tutorials that explains many different shoe making techniques, different process of making of shoes, shoemaking tools we use and how to work with them.

Another very good blog that I recommend is  Bespoke Shoes Unlaced

If you just want to have some “design experimenting”, check out this option  nike gives you. 

Anyway, it doesn’t matter where you will find information about shoemaking, the main thing is, keep working and keep learning shoemaking craft! 

And the first thing that you can do, as a beginner, is to make sandals with raw edges.

Sandals with straps full

How you can make shoes with minimum shoe making supplies

The upper part of the sandals [That I'm making in the video tutorial- bellow] will be constructed from straps because it is a very easy pattern making process.  

It doesn't require previous shoemaking skills, you just need to have these shoe making supplies :

  • Leather for upper and lining

Shoe upper is the top part of the shoe that covers the foot and keep the shape of the foot during wearing. The edge of this part of the shoe are attached to the insole and closed with the outsole. 

The lining is the inner part of a shoe that is attached to the upper part of a shoe and together they keep the shape of the foot. Lining repeats the upper shape and touches the feet.

You can work, actually, with leather for upper only, because for lining you can use the same leather. In the making of straps with raw edges, you really won’t consume a lot of leather and that’s why you can use for lining the upper leather to make your shoes.

If you want to know what type of leather you need to make your first-ever shoe, check this post ‘’Best Leather Types To Work With For Beginners In Shoemaking’’

To buy leather online for your shoes check these two leather suppliers:

A&A Crack and Sons 

Buy leather online

  • Leather for insoles, soles and heels
Vegetable tanned leather for shoemakinjg

The insole is the inner part of the shoe that holds all other shoe parts together: upper and lining, outsoles and heels. It gives the needed support to the feet and regarding its strength, it keeps the entire body weight.

The outsole is the bottom part of a shoe that touches the ground during wearing of the footwear.  It must be made from durable enough materials to protect your feet from any damage.

Use any utility knife. Important thing is to have a good blade. If you want to know which one I use and how to sharpen it, check it in this post ‘’Simple Knife For Shoemaking Craft’’

  •  Shoe last
pumps shoe last

There is a special shoe last to make sandals and it is a sandal last. If you have some shoe last and you really don’t know what type of shoe last is it, check this post ‘’Shoe last types’’. Here you can find out a full explanation about different shoe lasts types.

Shoe last is a form that repeats the shape of the human feet. We use shoe last in shoemaking to make shoes. Shoemer is molding the shoe upper on that shoe last. There are different shoe last types suitable to cobbling different shoe types and have a variety of different toe shapes and heel heights. 

If you are a beginner and don’t know which shoe last you need to have to start making shoes, here is very useful for you post ‘’Perfect Shoe Last To Learn Shoemaking’’ where I explain what is the best shoe last type you need to have. 

  • Cement / glue

    Use ordinary contact glue for leather.

Make shoes without a shoe last

Regarding a shoe last, if you don’ t have any shoe last and have only listed above supplies for shoe making , you still can make sandals with raw edges. 

Many years ago I made shoemaking tutorial on “How to make a sandal without shoe last”, working only with your feet. This is actually my first ever shoe making tutorial I made and it is without any verbal explanations. 

So if you want to learn a full process of sandal making with straps that have raw edges you can check it. 

How to make shoes:How to make a sandal - part 1 

How to make shoes:How to make a sandal - part 2 

Note: don’t forget to check this tutorial ‘‘Want To Learn This Sandal Making Technique’’, if you want to have comfortable and well made sandals. Here you will learn how to put all sandal steps to the insoles correctly during lasting process. Don’t miss it, it is a very important step in sandal making.

Can I make shoes with Minimum shoe making supplies?

Now, I made a special shoemaking tutorial where I explain and show how to make straps with raw edges for your sandals.

Using this approach of pattern making and the process of making itself, you can make a shoe with the raw edge. For example, you can make simple flat ballet shoes where the top line has a raw edge.

shoe hand made by Sveta Kletina

There is one difference in the making of the flat ballet shoe upper with raw edges and in the making of the sandal upper with raw edge:

-You need to attach lining and upper part together  in the throat area only in order to make it possible to place stiffeners between upper and lining during lasting process.

Stiffeners are the inner parts of the shoe that keep the shape of the footwear and protect your feet. In the toe area, it is the toe puff and in the heel area, it is the counter. 

Stiffeners are made from different materials that must have one important quality- they are soft but during shoemaking process must become solid to keep the shape of the footwear.

There are a few materials you can use in making your shoes but I advise you to check these two materials the most:

In this post, ‘’Why You should Use Minimum Nails in Lasting of the Shoe Toe?’’ check how to use vegetable tanned leather to make your stiffeners from.

Anyways, if you want to know more about this process of creation of the flat ballet shoes with raw edges, comment bellow ‘’ Make a tutorial’’ and I will prepare it for you. 

What you already can learn is one of the super useful pattern making approaches that will help you to make pretty flat ballet shoes. Learn it in this post  ‘’Pretty Ballerinas Pattern Making’’. 

Now, let’s learn step by step how you can make shoes without all-important shoe making supplies

Watch it, learn it and use it in your shoemaking craft! 

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About the author 

Sveta Kletina

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  1. I love your explanations. Could you make a step-by-step tutorial for making sandals without a last, using supplies everyone has? Shoes that fell apart after years of wearing, fabric from old jeans and shirts, bendable things for lining, soles where thong came out, cork, foam, rope, etc.—that hind of thing. Obviously, I’ve never made a sandal but want to try and I don’t have much $ or experience. Thank you.

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