My servant is a leather worker by avocation – she’s a boot-black and general leather-footwear repair-woman. She’s kept at least one pair of my boots on life-support for years and her goal (one of them) is to (eventually) make custom boots.
Obviously, she’ll be making custom boots for me (:-D) before she goes Public (and, y’know, after). But that’s a ways off at this point.

The first trick is to learn how to make boots.
So far, I’ve been able to find her one book – a reprint of an Edwardian (iirc) coblery manual (making very boring men’s dress shoes) – on the subject. It’s something, but it’s not actually all that useful, given the kind of footwear I want. (If you’ve ever seek Kinky Boots, you know what I mean).

That said, my Ghost is a smart cookie who knows how to work garment and boot leather (repairs) already and has plenty of experience working with blueprints.
Also, honestly, building a garment for your foot isn’t that hard. Building a Really Good Garment for you foot is probably more difficult, but bulding something functional and wearable? I’ve done it. (Once, but still — I made myself a pair of boots out of fabric one year and stitched them – badly – to a pair of soles that I cut out of a set of boots that were cut All Wrong for my feet[1]).

That said, here’s a handy video that shoes the general idea (I think it’s actually an ad for a shoe-making course, but it gives you a bit of a run-down):

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand, then there’s the second trick: Which is knowing where/how to obtain soles in my size. I have Very Big Feet. Size 13-14 (or size 45, depending on where you’re at).


Conveniently, my Ghost knows her way around a wood shop (to put it rather mildly).

(Relevant backstory: A couple of weeks ago, I bought a pair of fabulous shoes (which I totally wore to the play party at Spring Fling this past weekend). They have thick, cork soles. This got me Thinking).

Perhaps my Ghost could make me some properly-sized shoe soles out of poplar, tulip poplar, or willow (which, according to this article about clogs, are traditional materials for wooden Dutch clogs).

I feel like, frequently, the upper-and-insole of a shoe or boot can be make almost like a very structured sock – icluding cushioning for the footbed and everything – the whole of which is then glued to a sole like these ones:

Which – one hopes – results in footwear like these (all of which I would wear in a heartbeat, fyi):

Classic yet Contemporary

How fucking awesome is the carved detailing on that sole?

Just the thing to wear with a micro-mini (or, y'know, nothing at all...)

Oh. Oh my. I believe these speak for themselves just fine. 😀

By the looks of things, many wooden-soled shoes have the upper decoratively nailed to the sole, like these ones:

I don’t actually know if that’s decorative trim or if the upper is actually held on (in part) in this fasion. I think it’s partially dependent on whether on not you’re dealing with a sandal. My thought, though, is that if a “decorative” trim like that is also firmly part of the upper, it will help to keep the sole connected to the upper if the nails are more than just deocrative heads.

This video shows how to “make a shoe” (not one you can wear) by covering a pump with plastic wrap and then increasing the structural stability by covering it with packing tape. (Just watch the video, you’ll ge the gist pretty quickly).

As far as making a wearable shoe goes, it’s useless. BUT for making a last? It’s perfect.
After you have your shoe-form made (and well-shored up with duct tape and similar), fill it carefully with plaster of paris and let it harden. You could just as easily do this by shaving your legs and duct-taping over a pair of dollar-store nylons while resting your heels on a block/tealight-holder/cup of the right height.

Since wooden shoe-soles tend – going by the pics I found anyway – to be chunky/platform style, One might use a three-inch heel “slope” (set your heel on a three-inch-high block) if one wanted a 3.5″-4″ (or higher) heel, since the sole under the ball of the foot would be 0.5″-1″ thick.

My thought is that Ghost could make me wooden shoe soles like the various ones pictured above (sticking to a single, easy-to-walk-in heel-height – ~3″ – and pattern, to begin with), afix rubber treads and caps to the parts that come into contact with the ground (possibly by cutting half-soles to fit?) and then glue leather “socks” to the soles, complete with a functional-yet-decorative nail-head (actual nales) trim that would act as a secondary fixitive to keep upper and sole together.

Anyway. That’s my thought. I look forward to helping my Ghost persue her goal and, incidently, to reaping the benefits of (a) have a custom cobler (haute shoe coture for moi! ZOMG!) On Staff and (b) getting to be her spokes model if/when she decides to open for business. 😉

Ms Syren.

[1] The soles were totally fine, but the actual cut of the boot was too shallow across my instep, which meant they cut off the circulation to my foot. Very Bad Situation. So I hacked them up and made something custom-cut. YAY! 😀