Materials search. Can I get some advice from the verterans?

Hi this is my first post to this board, so I will introduce myself a bit here bfore breaking into my questions.

I am an avid builder of models and other forms of art and recently completed a clone trooper outfit from the most recent Star Wars. Yep, I nerd too.

I found this forum while hunting for information regarding the construction of shoes because I can’t find a shoe that fits my needs, and have decided to just make my own. I have made progress, but am still learning.

I hope that those “in the know” will chime in here and help out a little. The shoe I trying to make is similar to a basketball mid top sneaker. Here is a picture:

It is a smoothe boot with a sneaker sole and a toe piece. It has a spat and a strap that goes over the top and fastens on the sides.

I have a fair idea how to make this and have procured a size 11 last with a 1/2" heel height. Now I am researching materials. Mind you, I am building only a few of these and Only find Chinese vendors that sell materials by the ton.

Question 1: Which would be easier: a) molding a sole to be glued onto the bottom and sticthed around the sides, or a sole that glued to the EVA midsole and then wrap a rubber welt around the bottom edge of the sole?

question 2: Does anyone know of a source for EVA foam sheets (1/4" and 1/2" thickness) in small quantity?

Question 3: Can anyone recommend a source of white rubber for the welting? Does it need to be uncured to be able to bond to the show under heat?

Lastly, if anyone has any thoughts on this process, I am all ears. I would like to hear those that hav more knowledge that I about all this. Comments welcome.

Thank you for allowing to come and ask.

You could try the following - contact a podiatrist or orthotics or orthopedic shoe maker and find out where they buy their supplies from. They do get through quite a bit of white, sheet eva! Even consider googling podiatrist supplies or orthotic supplies on the internet.

Have you considered craft stores - the craze for crafting means you can buy lightweight (what looks like EVA - I’ve heard it called lunasoft too) sheets, in small amounts.

Have you looked for domestic rubber or latex suppliers? Only saying this because when I was a high school student, I managed to make some shoes by sourcing materials from a store in London that sold upholstery foam, p.v.c. and bean bag beads. They had just what I needed.

I think you might have more success by looking closer to home, what you need might be under your nose! I’ve even found stuff in hardware stores to make shoes with!

I think eva sheet and rubber wrap might be easiest. When I was a student we modelled our sneaker soles from wax (couldn’t be worn obviously), but if we were making sneakers to be worn, we’d use eva sheet as you suggest, with a thin wrap of eva sheet glued around. I think if you were to use rubber you’d need to vulcanise it (bake it), not something you could do without having a vulcanising factory to use, I reckon!

The tough thing about making sneakers, is its incredibly difficult to get the right look without having a sneaker factory to hand. I get enquiries from poeple all the time wanting a one-off sample making, but theres only so much a shoemaker can do, he doesn’t have access to most of the relevant equipment, certainly not if he’s outside of the Orient!

You can certainly improvise though - good luck!

That sounds like good advice. I will give a call to the local orthopedic shoe supplier and ask what they think.

Yes, I can find EVA at craft stores, but only in 2-3 mm thickness. I would like to find 1/4 - 1/2 inch (5 - mm) and that is a little trickier. This may take some experimenting with materials until the right ones are found.

I post pics if I get this thing done.

I have found a website that is exactly what I was looking for. I thought I would post an update here in the even that someone could find the information usefull.