Some people sell their products, and some other teach you how to make them. This last is the case of Simple Shoemaking, an organisation offering books with patterns and directions for making the most ecological and simple shoes possible. There is definitely an alternative to buying factory-made footwear, and making your own from ecological materials is a great option!
Twenty-five years ago Sharon was living with her family in a commune in the UK, where hand-made shoes were on the feet of gardeners, potters and other residents. Realizing that it was possible to make footwear was the moment when her life transformed. Now she helps other people become shoemakers by offering books, videos, workshops and her “First Footsteps” shoemaking kit for making toddler’s shoes.
All of her footwear is made ecologically, meaning that all her processes avoid toxic shoe cements and new petroleum-based soling. Sharon’s favorite soling is composed of layers of inner tubes, preferably from trucks and tractors. But this amazing entrepreneur also encourages the use of vegetable-tanned leather and scrap leather.
A really interesting and sustainable proposal! Have a look at Simple Shoemaking offer:
When babies are born, their feet might be two inches long; at eight years of age they might be eight inches long. This amazing growth requires many pairs of shoes to keep those feet shod. How much more healthy could they be for your child’s growing feet, how much more earth-friendly could his or her shoes be when you have control over all the materials that are used, how much money could you save, and how unique could your child’s shoes be, if you made them yourself?
This manual offers shoemaking directions and patterns for making four basic styles of shoes, boots and sandals in ten sizes. These shoes are healthy for children because of their wide toe area and their flexibility; and they are earth-friendly because of the non-toxic cement and natural soling materials used, and the recycled materials you are encouraged to use for the “uppers”.
The shoes that you make from this kit will be flexible, minimalist, and ecological: in other words, they will be “a step in the right direction”.
Imagine – they aren’t made 10,000 miles away in a factory that is unhealthy for its exploited workers, from materials that are toxic and that will never biodegrade. Instead they’ll be locally and happily made by you.
You will make a felt mock-up to get the fit right, then neatly cut out the leather, punch out about 250 holes with a punch, then stitch the shoe upper parts together. Finally, when stitching the uppers to the soles, you will need to have the strength to pull the stitches tight.
Check all the materials and tools included in the kit in the link provided.
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