Let’s talk about materials:
For the Uppers
( The top fabric part of the shoe ):
I taught myself how to machine sew by making a series of canvas wallets, I went with cotton canvas because it is tough,easy to source and it is not animal derived, the only issue is that it is a little on the expensive side and frays like crazy, but it is a great material to make soft goods prototypes, I bought a few yards, so that’s what I have in hand.
My source is Big Duck Canvas
, here’s a copy paste of an order (units are in yards):
The cordura (not pictured below) and Dennier marine canvas, it is basically cotton canvas coated with polyurethane plastic, it is great for liners and covering canvas fabric and giving it that roughed feel, plus it’s water repellent, so it is handy to have around, here's another source:
Other upper materials:
You could use other materials for the upper ( leather,3d mesh, synthetic fabrics,yak fur,etc,etc) and line up the interior with a variety of fabrics and add foam inserts to the collars and other sections, here’s a couple of good starting online shops for these materials:
Feel free to add your favorite fabric (or leather source), the only requirement I suppose is that they sell small quantities .
The Midsole ( the spongy,usually white thing in between the sole and the uppers ) was pretty hard to source.
Ideally you want an EVA (foam) or rubber midsole already formed and sized to your last, the issue is that unless you are buying in bulk or as a wholesaler you can’t just get a pair…So:
I am using cork; it’s cheap, natural, I can layer it and paint it and while not as spongy as eva foam,I think it can work ( About $5 for 4 sheets at staples)
- You can buy general purpose EVA foam in Sheets ( and colors !), I haven’t tried this one, but seems a good bet for prototyping, not sure if they will hold for actual use though.
- You can use old (or new) sneakers and extract the sole; a few professional sneaker modders/cobblers do this and make amazing new sneakers.
And finally the sole, as with the midsoles it is somehow difficult to source.
In my case, I went with a soling sheet I bought from amazon, soling sheets are usually used by cobblers for repair, but the plan is to cut out the soles out of them and glue them to the cork midsoles, they are expensive, $40 for a sheet, but you can extract about 6-8 sole pairs.
- Mold your own soles out of rubber or silicone:
See this thread:
http://boards.core77.com/viewtopic.php? ... le#p225536
- As with the midsole, you can extract your sole from an old or new pair.
Thread: Many many options, I like wawaks Tex 60 Jean Thread, good,cheap and comes in colors for all around soft goods work.
Barge glue :A favorite of cobblers it seems, great for gluing sole to midsole.
Fray Check: I use this to prevent/delay fraying on the edges of cut canvas.
And that’s it for materials, next time around I’ll go over taping a last and extracting a pattern.