Mar 14, 2014

25 Tools & materials you need to get started in shoemaking

I have been asked a lot about tools and materials to get started making shoes. So I posted list of  25 must have tools and materials , with which you can start making shoes without necessity of having absolutely all shoemaking staff. That's how I started to make my shoes and till now those tools and materials are still in my first priority of work. I could forgot few items and I'll be happy to know what you use in your work. It will be very helpful to all our shoemaking community, so  leave your comment below.  Follow the link in the bottom to see the full list of shoemaking tools and materials I published it at Shoemaking Courses Online.


1. Cutting board- this is yours work area, and it comes in 3 sizes :
I personally use the 45cm (the first one) as this one is for personal use.

2. Adhesive tape - to make it easy on yourself, please pick up good and quality tape, that holds on the last. There are different widths, 2 cm, 5 cm, 14 cm. I don't like to mess up my workspace with unnecessary things so I use the 5 cm wide tape. Because it is good for attaching it on the last and I cut them when I need more narrow stripes. Check my tutorials I do that a lot, very useful trick.
3. Cardboard- I use it for pattern making, there are many types and most of them are good, but I use Duplex, it's 180-200 gram. It must be flexible but not too flexible.
4. Metal ruler - not less than 30 cm.
5. Flexible Measurement tape - There is a specific type for shoemaking, it doesn't have the iron peace at the end, like the one that tailor uses. If you can't find the shoemaker tape, you can cut off the metal peace but remember to always add 1 cm to your measurements.

6. Compasses - This one will save you a lot of time in pattern making and to be accurate in your work and to avoid mistakes, use it!

 7. Utility knife - He can be your friend for awhile so pick a good one. First of all you will use it to cut your pattern, cardboard, tape and even leather. Beginners also can use it to skive the leather for absence of good skiving knife or skills.  

8. Blades for utility knife- They are not less important than the knife itself. As there are many different knives, there are many types of blades as well, what you need to look for is blades with 30 degrees angle.
9. Shoe last- find the right last for the model that you wish to make. Although, there is last for each model, for beginners I

will recommend to start working on last that is suitable for few types, like Pumps/Derby/Oxford. It will allow you to try different models.

10. Hammers:
A. Magnetic hammer- this is my favorite, and although is not a must to have but it does make my work much easier and fun.

B. Nickel hammer for folding

C. Big shoemakers hammer

12. Pincers - It comes with a hummer edge on one side, so it will be easier to place nails with it while lasting the upper. There are couple of types, narrow and wide. As a beginner, choose one and you won't be wrong.

Important Update:

We launched Shoe making Supplies shop on the website. You can find there shoe making tools, materials and components for beginners and experienced shoemakers.

Bonus for new members!

Have a nice and creative weekend,
Sveta Kletina

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  1. Sveta,

    I had read on one of your older posts that you were going to list where some of these shoemaking tools and supplies could be purchased? I have not been able to find it. I will appreciate any suggestions you have. Thank you. ELF Dallas, Texas USA.

  2. wow! this is really nice. Where can i get these materials?

  3. wow! thanks. Where can i get these materials?


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