August 28, 2014

Strategy to expand your shoe making possibilities

When you want to make sandals you need to have the last of the sandal. Then to develop patterns of the insole, midsole, and outsole you make an exact copy of the bottom of your last. This is how it’s done in every factory production, and this is how you will work as well. So that means that to make different styles of sandals you need to have different types of lasts.

If you think that this is all that you can do to expand your design variations of sandals, you are wrong. With the creative approach to shoemaking, you can discover that you can make much more using only one sandal last that you already have. How? Let’s see!

How to make shoes in different styles with only one last?


Footwear is a complete product. So when you design your shoes [see the ” Effective approach to design successful footwear collection” post to learn how to make entire collection] every detail have a great value in your design and influence on whatever it will become: the color of upper and lining leather, accessories, shape of the last, heels or outsole and everything else.
Therefore, to change the look of your shoes you can change not only the upper design of the shoe but to change some of the details in your footwear.

Sandal midsole will change everything   

In sandals, the insole/midsole/outsole are very important parts of your design. Obviously, you can’t change the height of the heel for your last (you can do it, but you need the required knowledge), but if you can change the shape of midsole without changing each time the shape of your last (you can do it, but it’s really not necessary), you will expand the variation of your designs using just one last.

Now, just imagine your possibilities. When you will change the upper design of your sandals together with different shapes, designs of the insole/midsole/outsole you will make endless designs, styles of sandals using the same last. Have you ever thought of that? I did, and that is how I do it.  

Smart shoe making approach

I worked with one sandal last and this last I also used in the “Unisex sandal course“. So, using the example of this midsole pattern for this one last I will show you how you will create 5 different shapes of midsole/insole/outsole without any calculations. Buy the way, this is not even close to being the limit. It is an only small example of what you can create with only one shoe last.

1.Make a pattern of the bottom of the last – pattern of the midsole.


 2. Draw the outline of your feet. From the points A and B (where your pinky toe and big toe are)you can start creating new shapes of the pattern.


5 new patterns of midsole made from the same pattern

1. Round toe shape.


Here you need to create specific kind of design, which will support the big toe because at the end of big toe the shape of pattern reduces.

2.  Anatomical toe shape.


The shape of this pattern repeats the outline of your toes.


3. Long oval toe shape 


Here an example of a reduced line of the midsole pattern in the arch of the instep. You can reduce it by 5 mm from the original line because in this place the arch doesn’t come in contact with the surface of the midsole. But you need to add the proper support in your design, like straps, vamp.

 4.Pointy toe shape.


Here you can make it longer or shorter than in the drawing. It’s depending on your style of sandal.

5. Asymmetrical toe shape.


Here you can make a different angle of this asymmetrical line in your new midsole pattern.

Creative shoe making strategy

If you are an owner of the footwear workshop, or just starting your own footwear line, or maybe you are a design student or you make shoes as a hobby don’t hunt after right sandal shape for your sandals. You can work with this one that you already have and make entire summer collection using the smart shoe making approach as I described in this article. 
This is a creative strategy for your work if you are serious about it. It will consume less of your time, less of your money and maximize your productivity with what is accessible to you at this moment.

Now, If you find this approach helpful and I know you do!  Share it with a friend who will find it useful as well.  

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About the author 

Sveta Kletina

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  1. Hi, I am from Namibia and I am interested in your courses. I am a beginner. I want to register but I am struggling to find a shoe last. there is no manufacturers of shoe products in my country. Pls help me to find the shoe last so I can begin the course
    thank you

  2. Hi Sveta: I followed your mails for sevral days, your ideas and technical are unique,i'm interest in your class, will register later(maybe next month when i not too busy),what i can say is thanks for your work and talent, make the class so attractive and funning.

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