December 3, 2020

Shoe insole pattern guide and what you need to know in sandal making

Shoe insole pattern is one of the most important things in making shoes and especially in making sandals.

So here you will get a pattern guide to make shoe sole pattern and how we use this shoe insole pattern in making sandals. 

What is shoe insole and why it is important

The shoe insole is the inner part of the footwear that connects together all other parts of a shoe.

It is the place where we attach a sock liner and the surface of the insole is the first thing you touch with your feet when you wear shoes. 

So without shoe insoles, we can’t make shoes.  

By knowing this, you can understand how this inner detail (hidden from us) is very important in the comfort of the shoes you wear and how it is important to make a correct shoe insole pattern.


Of course, the comfort of the footwear depends mostly on the shoe last shape and the shoe insole repeats the shape of the shoe last bottom but if the shoe insoles and the shoe insole pattern are constructed wrong you may get uncomfortable shoes.

(Now, if you are still don't know much about shoe lasts, shoe lasts types and much more, make sure to check this post Shoe Last [Definitive Guide in 2019] ) 

Let’s talk more about it.

Why you can’t buy ready-made insoles

The reason why you should avoid buying ready-made insoles is that insoles must fit perfectly the bottom’s shape of your shoe last. The ready-made insoles are made according to the exact shoe last that will not be similar 100% to the shoe last you work with, even if they have the same heel height. 

Yes, this is one of the main requirements when you search for the ready-made insoles needed to make your own shoes. They make insoles with bigger sizes so you can cut the extra of the insole working with your shoe last.


It will not help you if the shape of the ready-made insole you bought has a little bit of a different shape. It will create gaps between your insole and your shoe last and will eventually influence the look and comfort of your shoes.


The only solution to buy ready-made insoles is to buy them together with shoe lasts or to find the insole manufacturer who will produce for you insoles using the shoe last you work with.

If you can’t do it, the great solution for you is to make your own insoles working with the shoe last you have!

Make shoe insoles pattern like a pro, quick guide

To make insoles is a not complicated task, you should know the exact approach and I teach in my shoemaking courses online how to make shoe insoles working with different materials.

You can make shoe insoles from cardboards or from vegetable-tanned leather. 

If you want to know more about vegetable tanned leather for insoles, check this post "Best Leather Types For-Beginners in Shoemaking". Also, if you want to know how you can create leather insoles working with simple tools, check this post "How to cut leather insoles for sandals using simple tools''

No matter what materials you will use, the shoemaking technique involved in insole making is the same.

The first thing in the insole making, and I guess, if you are familiar already with my shoemaking approach, you will be not surprised to find out that it is the shoe insole pattern making 🙂

Yes, yes, yes, you should make the shoe insole pattern first!


So, to help you with your shoemaking craft I want to share with you a quick guide on how to make a shoe  insole pattern.

If want to know more, for example, to make your own sandals, to learn on how to make entire sandal pattern, you can check my eBook: "How to make T Strap Sandal Pattern Full Guide"

Want To Learn This Sandal Making Technique?

In shoemaking, there are many different techniques you should know to make your own shoes. Each shoe type has its own particular shoemaking approaches and sandals are no exception to the rules.

If you want to make sandals (and I know you want!)  or any other footwear type that has opened parts, you can’t miss this post.

I want to share with you one of the most important techniques you should know in sandal making: How to make a special shoe insole pattern for sandals. 

There are many different types of the sandals designs, and if you want to learn most of them, you can check these super useful posts:

"Types of sandal straps in shoemaking" 

Making shoes with minimum shoe making supplies in 2019

How To Make sandals elegant straps

Best Shoe Designing Skills Needed, Shoemaking or Drawing?

Without knowing it you just can’t make sandals!  No matter if you want to make sandals without shoe lasts or with lasts you should know this shoemaking technique. 

So let’s dive in!

A most important technique in sandal making: shoe insole pattern

After you finish to sew the upper of the sandals you will move on to last them on the shoe last and here where you will encounter most of the problems.

Where to place all these straps, parts of your sandals on the last? This is a question that will come up in your mind during lasting of the sandals.

Because it is not your closed  pump shoes, for example, where everything is clear and simple. Just put it on the shoe last and last it. 

Pump shoes also have its own important lasting techniques but it is not like sandals where you really don’t know where to put all these straps on the shoe last.

And here comes this sandal making approach: 

You should make a shoe insole pattern that will contain marks that indicate the location of the straps, all parts of your opened shoes!

pattern of sole with marks
pattern of sole with marks

You have to make an extra shoe insole pattern that will have all these marks.

 So when you will move on to last your sandals you simply will mark the location of all upper details on your actual insole using this additional insole pattern. 

This is how you will know where to put all straps on the last during the lasting process.

Now, if you will want to create sandal's insole with an elegant cover, make sure to check this post "Why Making an Elegant Insole Shoe Cover is Important in Open Footwear?", where I teach how to do it.

And this is how you will avoid one of the most common mistakes in sandal making where the front strap is in the wrong place and doesn’t hold a pinky toe. 

So if you will use this technique, in the end, you will have correct sandals where every strap is in the right place! 

Now, I made a shoe making tutorial where I teach you step by step how to make this insole pattern with marks.

If you want to learn how to make sandals at home, you can check this one of my oldest tutorials I made on Youtube: "How to make sandals at home". Also, you are welcome to check this tutorial of one the shoemakers that I admire Carreducker.

Every Shoe Part

Every shoe part has it purpose, from inside part, that you don't see as insoles to top vamps, that is what shoes are made from.

Here you will find all of them.

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About the author 

Sveta Kletina

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  1. Sveta, I cant find a place in america to buy shank board and shanks no matter how hard i try. Ps. youve helped me so much in my shoemaking!

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