Leather boots have been the go-to footwear option for years, and there are no shoes more stylish and adaptable than leather boots. It is a high-quality footwear option that offers a long-lasting comfort style and use.Historically used only as protection for the foot but through time have been a symbol of fashion and status. Having the knowledge to make or customize your boot will surely be important nowadays as there is limited movement due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its high price tags. Bootmaking is considered an old handicraft practice, and you must pay very close attention to the details if you want to DIY.
How to Make Leather Boots? First, have a design and make a sketch. Make a cast by using a foot last and outline the design on the case. Sew the leather until you have an inner and outer layer. Make a boot tongue piece and attach it to the other part and attach the sole.
Outside our homes is always a great experience, and we always have footwear on when we go out to protect our feet. Leather boots are one of the most desired footwear. In my case, every time I visit different leather shops, I tend to look at leather boots. If you are like me who always wanted to have leather boots but it’s too expensive or out of your means, you can make your own. This article will guide you in making leather boots perfect for your everyday use.
Leather For A Boot: Characteristics That Makes It The Best For A Footwear
If you love boots and always wanted to have a leather one, that is one of the best things you can make or purchase. Leather has natural characteristics you can take advantage of to achieve that stylish yet comfortable look.
Leather is naturally beautiful. The scars and imperfection on it sometimes add to the rustic feel the leather has. With the passage of time, it even becomes more valuable. Leather also has a natural variation in shade. These shades of leather also have unique patterns and variations themselves that make them even special.
Most of the leather today is tanned, which gives them suppleness when in use. It is also naturally versatile, making it easy to use for any product, such as a leather boot. It has a natural arrangement of fibers that give variations and durability, making it resists puncturing and tearing.
Pores in leather allow fresh air to circulate inside it, which gives it breathability. Leather has the characteristic of being water-resistant. Most leather used in bags and shoes has a degree of water resistance that enables them to hold its shape even if drenched in water. Leather can also be treated to prevent watermarks on its outer side.
Leather has the right amount of thickness that you can split and skive to serve many purposes. It is not only limited to wearable products but also upholstery and the likes. Aside from resisting water, it can also absorb moisture and desorb it, releasing it to the environment.
Suppose you have sweaty feet, no need to worry because your sweat is absorbed into the leather from the foot and then evaporates from the shoe’s outer surface. The foot remains dry and relaxed without the chill of quick evaporation or the puddling of cooling perspiration because leather can retain a lot of moisture without feeling damp. This prevents your feet from sweating like in rubber or other synthetic garment shoes.
Also, leather’s high thermal insulation properties are important reasons it feels so good on the skin. Since leather contains a large volume of air, a weak conductor of heat, heat moves through the material at a glacial pace.
Most importantly, it provides extra protection that protects you from small falling objects, hot liquids, and injuries. It is also an eco-friendly material because it has natural and no harmful chemicals on it. Centuries have passed, and leather is still considered the primary material for boot making, mainly because it is always available in adequate quantities.
Today, although various materials are used to make footwear, leather is still predominant for several reasons. It can be sewn, formed, and made waterproof without losing its breathability. It is also very sturdy and offers sublime protection against foot injuries.
Leather provides individualized fit by assuming the wearer’s feet. Leather can adapt to your foot shape and gives comfort and support. This quality maximizes comfort and minimizes foot disorders. This allows customization of the leather boot according to your preference.
With leather’s natural characters, it is very comfortable to wear. It is durable, which lessens the worry of having wet feet when it rains or snows. Also, leather can be painted and dyed according to your desired color or shade. You can also use a burnisher and conditioner in leather to restore its condition. You can do many tooling techniques in leather-like embossing, perforation, carving, and the likes to show your character and creativity.
The Cost Of Customized Leather Boots
One of the perks of making your leather boots is the money you can save from buying ready-made leather boots. It will help you cut off your expenses and also hone your leatherworking skills.
Price of the Customized Commercial Leather Boots
Customized leather boots would range from $600 up to $800 or $1000 even if you get a service from a leather company, be it online or from a physical store. However, the price may vary depending on the type of brand you’ve chosen and the kind of materials used for your customized leather boots.
These commercially available leather boots will mean that you will wear the same brand as other users. If you want to have that unique design and feel, making your leather boots pair is the solution.
Sometimes, even leather boots repair will cost you higher. Therefore, knowing how to do simple maintenance and conditioning is vital.
The Amount You Can Save
In making your boots, you can save an average of $350, even up to $800, because usually, when you buy your materials, all of the items would only cost around $200 or even just $100. You can save a significant amount of money by just making your pair of leather boots. You can even use the rest of the money for your other expenses.
The budget depends on the materials you’ve chosen to use. I highly recommend that you always choose quality over quantity because that will determine the span of a leather boot. So, despite the idea of spending less amount of money, ensure that your DIY leather boots are durable.
The Ideal Leather For A Masterpiece DIY Leather Boot
You can choose many leather types for your DIY leather boots, which will best fit your purpose. Here are some of the standard leather types you can check out.
Cowhide At Its Best
This type of leather comes from cows from the meat industry. Cowhide is thicker (about 1.6 to 2.5 millimeters) than other common leather types. It undergoes the usual tanning process like other leather.
It is ideal as a work boot or for even rougher uses. Thickness adds strength, and its fibrous nature makes it a more excellent material to use for leather boot making.
Calfskin For A Standard Option
It has long been used for boots because of its quality due to its very tight grain and minimal imperfections. This leather is from calves or young cows. It is a soft, pliable whole grain and can withstand hard wear with a hint of elegance and practicality.
It can be dyed easily and, with the help of a burnisher, can be polished instantly. It is thicker than cow skin and does not require heavy maintenance.
Pigskin Leather For Enough Thickness
The skin of hogs usually is used for suede leather and also used for shoe lining. The pigskin is not a common material for boot making; however, pigskin is a famous leather to use.
Pigskin is from peccary, an animal which is classified under the same family of pigs. Peccary leather is very thick. It is very soft, pliable, and tough to damage. They are of high maintenance and are not susceptible to rain due to their grain.
Chamois Leather For Traditional Suede
It is derived from the skin of a mountain goat. On the latter, however, it is referred to as the flesh part of the sheepskin. It undergoes buffing and sanding to remove the split and grain. It is incredibly soft and thin, and absorbent to water. It is also porous, which means it needs constant oil-tanning and does not require shining. It is perfect for casual boots and even leather gloves.
Conceptualize Your Design Appropriately and Ready The Essentials
Starting with your concept is necessary. Because it will help you stay focused on your goal, you can easily set the following steps and perform according to your desired output.
General Materials To Use: What To Prepare
First up is the leather of your choice. Buy it at a physical shop or online shop. Make sure to read the properties of what you are buying carefully and how much it costs, including the delivery fee if buying online. Prepare the thread and needle for sewing. Waxed nylon threads are used because they are heavy-duty threads.
The next item is superglue to put the pattern pieces together and attach the leather to the design on the cast before the final sewing. It is also used in putting together the boot and the sole.
You will also need a paper for pattern making and outline sketching as a guide. Of course, shoelaces for the boots and masking tape to be used in the boot last. Prepare one yard of fabric to use inside and the other for the outside shoe. Most importantly, leather knives or sheers for cutting the leather according to pattern pieces.
Things To Remember Before the Actual Boot Making
Okay, now that you have the available materials ready. It is time to think about which type of leather boots you are most attracted to. You can conceptualize your design based on your preference for the intended use.
If not sure about your design, you can collect feedback through other people’s perspectives, surveys, social media interactions, and other channels. Take a paper and then sketch your desired design.
Always make sure to choose a boot suitable for you and is more likely for your comfort. Spend your money wisely on the materials you’re going to buy. In buying, always know your leather and be sure to gather all the materials needed.
Creating A Cast Perfect For Your Foot
Once you already have a concept of your design, you can now start making the cast of the boot customized for you. Make sure to do this appropriately to achieve the final leather boots’ fit and design.
Using A Boot Last As A First Step
Before doing the boots, you should make a model of your feet where you will work closely to achieve the design, especially the size. To do this, you should buy a last first. A last is a mold that takes the shape of a foot. It should match your foot features and what final look will you like to achieve. Use the last to make an accurate sketch.
Make a cast of the boot using the last and make the boot design according to size and shape. Ensure that you have a last for your perfect fit size.
Generate The Cast
Get alginate to make a mold of the foot. A casting material and a box are needed in making a mold. The shape of the last decides the form of the shoes.
According to the selected design, wrap the mold with tape on the front side to make a round face as most people would like. Then cast your feet into the mold. Just make sure your foot is covered halfway up to the ankle.
Draft Out The Outline Sketch and Leather Of The Design
Start by asking yourself what you want. Once you’ve decided what designs best fit you, you can start making an outline sketch and making this as your guide in making your pattern.
Drawing The Pattern
Trace the pattern on papers. Draw your design on paper, cut the pockets along the original way, and always add all the marks. Sue the seam allowance in a straight line afterward.
Prepare the Leather
Lay the leather on a sturdy table. Ideally, you use a cutting mat to protect your blades and achieve a clean cut. When your working station is ready, you can start cutting the leather into fabrics. Use the design you’ve chosen, use a ruler, protractor, utility knife for the incisions, and a more straightforward process.
Do not forget to leave an inch of extra material at the bottom of the boot as you have already cut the pattern. Look at your measurements and make sure you have the right cut. Stitch the pieces carefully and be very keen. After doing so, cut the outsole of your boot. The sole is essential as it would represent the durability of your leather boot. The most common exclusive material you can use is a rubber sole. You can also explore various materials such as polyurethane soles.
Assembling the Boots and Making It Whole
The tricky step to making leather boots or any leather product is connecting the pieces of the whole. This will involve a lot of patience and dedication to get the exact design.
Attach The Leather To The Cast
Sew the pattern until you have an inner and outer layer and sew the internal design with the external pattern. When you’re done, flip the pattern over. Make a boot tongue piece by taking two pieces and sew them from the outer side and invert to attach the boot.
Holes For The Lace
Take a cork and make holes inside the lace outlets. Shape the sole and sew it with the upper part of the boot.
Add The Sole
Trace the sole and heel block pieces onto the rubber, making sure to cut a pair. Tailor’s chalk works well on the rubber, and it makes clear marks. Place the rubber over a cutting surface.
Cut the rubber out with a utility knife. Then make long, smooth cuts. Make a notch on the heel area of the sole and the heel block. Glue the block to the exclusive and trim any unattractive edges. Align the sole on how it should be placed on the bottom of the other side of the other finished shoe. You are now ready to polish your boots. Once the boots are polished, it is now ready for use.
Getting The Most Out Of Your Customized Leather Boots
From creating the perfect leather boots for your needs, you surely want to enjoy them and savor them for a long time. You can get the most out of your DIY leather boots with these simple tips.
Make Your Leather Boots Last
If your boots are wet, it is best to dry them immediately. Do not store it in the space of direct sunlight. It might cause discoloration. Wash shoes from time to time and moisturize your boots regularly.
Always undo your shoelaces if your type of boots has one. You can use neatsfoot oil in treating your leather boots. Check and read the proper way of taking care of the kind of leather you choose
Indeed making your boots takes a lot of patience, effort, and hard work, especially if you’re doing it the first time. But by following these simple steps and tips, you can be your cobbler. No job is ever done quickly, but you will likely finish it just right on time if you are dedicated to what you do. Remember to always be focused on what you do and make the best craft out of it, and indeed you will have the best pair of leather boots that will surely last you a lifetime.