Learn to make shoes
Do you dream of starting your own shoe brand? Perhaps you don’t have any formal training in footwear, but you’ve always wanted to design your own range of shoes. In my opinion, the best way to kick-start your ambitions is to learn to make shoes.
Shoes are complex 3D structures made from many different components. A shoe-making course can teach you the basics of how shoes are made. You’ll even discover the meanings of the delightful shoe terms we use: vamp, spigot, aglet, and shank are some of my favourites.
Where can I learn to make shoes in the UK?
If you have the time and funds, you could study for a degree in Footwear Design or Footwear and Accessories at any of these four fantastic higher education establishments:
There’s also a full-time one year Shoemaking Advanced Diploma (Level 3) available at Capel Manor College in Enfield.
UK short courses in shoe making
If you’re pushed for time and funds are limited, there are short courses in various aspects of shoe making and design you could attend.
- I CAN make shoes offer numerous shoe making and design courses in London, New York and online.
- London College of Fashion provide courses to teach you how to design and make many styles of shoe.
- London Sneaker School teach the art of making trainers from their London studio.
- Carréducker teach the craft of traditional English welted shoe making in both London and New York.
- Green Shoes help you learn to make shoes in their idyllic Devon workshop.
- The Parachute Collective is a well-equipped workshop in East London with a community of shoemakers. They offer traditional Derby and boot making courses.
- British Footwear Association – the trade body for the British footwear industry – offer their Introduction to Footwear Construction online. This course teaches you how shoes are made, rather than teaching you to make them. A good option if you don’t want to get hands-on.
Courses in specialist footwear types
- Rose Choules is a moccasin expert who runs workshops on making this type of shoe.
- Juta Shoes teach you how to hand-sew espadrilles in London locations.
- Hetty Rose Shoes offer a particularly lovely course, where you get to select a kimono fabric to make your own very special pair.
- Debra Esterhuizen teaches you how to make felt slippers in Cumbria.
- Christine Waygood teaches felt slipper making in the Forest of Dean.
- Studio nd provide workshops in Llandysul and Cardiff, to teach you how to make simple sandals you can make again at home.
Once you’ve learnt the basics of shoe-making, you’ll be much better equipped to have your own designs made. You should know the right words to explain to a factory exactly what you want.
How do you work out if your shoe brand idea is viable, and how do you find the right manufacturer?
Send me a message, and I’ll let you know how I can help you make your shoe dreams come true.