Sneakers making The Ultimate Guide
In this ultimate guide we will talk about sneakers making. I will discuss with you how to make sneakers step by step. We’ll talk about every important detail that is involved in the process of sneakers making sneakers like materials to work with, special sneakers shoe soles and their alternatives, sneakers designing etc.
Best thing to start from is from the beginning of the sneakers making process, from the shoe last. What shoe last type you can use to make your sneakers?
Part 1. Shoe last for sneakers
In this first part of this post I will explain:
- What type of shoe last you need to have to make high top sneakers, for example vans or basketball shoe type
What is your shoe last alternative to create different types of sneakers as running shoes, low top sneakers shoes, tennis shoes etc.
Shoe last for Vans sneakers
I already talked a lot with you about shoe last types. There are many different shoe last types and almost each footwear type has its own shoe last type. You can learn more about different shoe lasts types in this post “Shoe Last Types & What Is A Shoe Last! [Definitive Guide]”.
Now, the same thing is regarding a shoe last for Vans sneakers. There is spesial shoe last for vans sneakers making.
What is the Vans sneakers type last ?
To compare shoe last for vans sneakers and some other shoe last type for example, shoe last for court footwear type, there is no extra room in the shape of shoe last for court footwear types.
So, in other words, you will not be able to use a sockliner from thick foam working with this shoe lasts because it will reduce the inner volume of your shoes and they will be small for you.
These two main differences :
extra room for the thick sockliners and sole with high walls to hide this volume
that vans sneakers have also defined the shape of the shoe last for vans sneakers.
Shoe last for vans sneakers with high top and low top
This high top Vans sneakers we made in my upcoming Sneakers course
And Vans sneakers with low top
That’s why there is a special shoe last for vans with high top and shoe last for low top vans sneakers.
But don’t worry, you don’t need to have many different shoe last types to make sneakers.
Keep reading, and I will share with you how you can work with one shoe last type and make your sneakers.
Advantages and disadvantages working with shoe last for vans sneakers
Vans shoe last gives extra comfort for sneakers by adding thick, soft sockliners
Vans shoe last requires a special shoe sole with high wall and it creates unique style that actually defines the style of vans sneakers
To work with shoe last for vans sneakers you have to use its unique sole (not obligatory but to have sneakers with goo look) and you need to source this sole together with shoe last
You should use sockliners with thick foam otherwise you will have sneakers too big for you
The vans sneakers sole made from polyurethane and it requires to work with special glue for polyurethane ( later in more advanced steps we will talk about types of glue)
Using any shoe last for sneakers making
Because it may be difficult to source shoe last for vans sneakers you don’t need to stick with these shoe last types. You can use different shoe last type to make sneakers.
To be more specific, you can use any shoe last for court footwear types and make sneakers or any other sport shoe type working with this shoe last type.
What is a shoe last for a court shoe?
It is actually a shoe last that you can use to make a court shoe- shoe with low top, like oxford shoes, derby shoes, pump shoes, moccasins ect.
Note: it doesn’t include sandals. For the sandals there is its own shoe last that you can use for the sandals making only.
So if you can’t find shoe last for vans sneakers making you can use any other shoe last, for example pump shoes, and make sneakers.
What is important is that this shoe last must be with a wide toe shape,like rounded or square toe shape, but not pointed,because it will not suit the sneakers design.
The shoe that you will make working with the court shoe last type will have a design of sneakers that do not obligate you to work with polyurethane vans sole and of course, without thick sockliner.
Next great thing about working with this shoe last type is that you can make sneakers not only with low tops but with high tops as well!
There is a special shoe making and pattern making approach that will allow you to make sneakers with high tops working with shoe last for low tops (court shoe).
In my upcoming Sneakers course I will teach you this pattern making approach, so you will not be limited in your sneakers making.
Now, to get started with sneakers making, as this is the first thing you must have, I made a shoemaking tutorial for you about shoe lasts for vans sneakers and their alternative .
Watch it and don’t be shy. Ask your questions in the comments below.
Special sneakers sole for any shoe last
We all get used to sports shoes, sneakers that have some special rubber shoe sole, like vans polyurethane sole, or molded Nike sole, or any other rubber shoe sole.
So what can you do if you don’t have these shoe soles and want to make sneakers?
There is some ‘’special’’ material you can use for soles in the sneakers making.
I am talking about EVA foam material that is very light and flexible enough to make soles for sports shoes.
It comes in sheets and can be with different thickness and colors.
In my upcoming Sneakers course we will teach how to make EVA soles for your sneakers working with any shoe last (of course, any shoe last for the court shoes!)
I will talk more in detail about EVA shoe soles in the next parts of this post. So stay tuned!
In the meantime take a look at our sneakers where we made EVA shoe sole!
Part 2. Materials for the sneakers making
In the sneakers making you must use many different materials like leather for the sneakers upper and lining, foams, glue, thermoplastic materials, non woven chemical sheets, dye colors ect.
I decided to start this very important theme from the glue types you will need to work with in the entire process of sneakers making.
So let’s dive in.
Chapter 1. Types of glue for the sneakers making
In the creation of the sneakers you will need to use two types of the glue:
Neoprene glue and Glue for the Polyurethane .
Note: These two types of the glue that I will talk about have a notable smell, so it is very important to have a good ventilation in your work space.
Now, I will not specify the names of the brands, I will talk about types of the glue and their use in sneakers making. There are different brands and choose the one that you can source locally.
Neoprene glue is actually contact glue for leather (and many other different materials) and we use it not only in the sneakers making and in the creation of any other shoe type.
It is “yellow glue” (this is how shoemakers call this glue) that works well in the entire process of shoemaking. [Keep reading about uses of this glue,I will talk about it in a minute.]
Glue for the Polyurethane is a “white glue” that works well also in the entire process of shoemaking but because of its strong smell and approach of the activating it uses the most in footwear factories.
You will need to work with it only if you plan to make Vans sneakers with polyurethane shoe soles, otherwise you can work only with neoprene glue.
Remember, with the neoprene glue you can't attach polyurethane soles. You must use this ‘’white‘’ glue in the making of vans sneakers.
Where to use glue in the process of the sneakers making
We use it almost from the beginning of the shoe making craft. Let’s talk about it shortly on the example of of the sneakers making process.
1. After you will cut all leather pieces of your sneakers you will move on to the assembling of all these parts
Here is the step where you will use glue ( neoprene glue). In order to assemble all leather parts of the sneakers you will need to place glue in the places that you need to attach.
In the middle of the assembling process you will attach foam to the tongue and to the quarters using glue.
So we assemble all sneakers details together by attaching them. That’s why in the next step of the sneakers making -sewing, it will be easy to sew all parts together.
2. In the process of the lasting you will use neoprene glue to attach the edges of the upper and lining to the insole
3. To flatten the shoe bottom of your sneakers you will need to ATTACH with the glue the piece of cork.
4. To attach the shoe sole of the vans sneakers or any other sneakers design, you will use glue as well. What is important here is to know which type of the glue (neoprene or glue for the polyuretan) you need to work with.
The main use of the glue for the polyurethane in the sneakers making is if you will use polyurethane shoe soles.
If you will use for the sneakers soles any other material, for example EVA foam, like we did in my upcoming Sneakers course, you can work only with neoprene glue in the entire process of sneakers making.
To make this eva sneakers sole easier, especially for beginners in shoemaking, we used a welt (ready made welt). So, the sneakers design will have slight touch of the elegancy.
The approach of working with these glues is different, so let’s learn how to work with them in the making of the sneakers.
How to use these 2 types of glue in the sneakers making.
In the use of both types of these glues you will need :
Place glue on both surfaces of the details that you want to attach
Wait 10-15 minutes until the glue will dry
Place second layer of the glue on both surfaces of the details
Wait until glue will dry
Now here comes the difference between these types of glue.
The glue for polyurethane you will need to activate with heating before you will start to attach pieces. You can use a heat gun to activate the surface of the polyurethane sole and the bottom of the sneakers.
The neoprene glue you don’t need to activate in order to attach pieces.
Attach details using hammer or some pressure
Now, in this tutorial I made for you learn more details about these two types of glue and their use in the sneakers making.