Shoes: third attempt – so close, yet so far!

handmade shoes

After my first and second practice pairs (aka slippers), I thought I was ready for the real deal. Everything was going so well. I spent lots of time adjusting the fit and making sure everything was right, and I was really happy with this pair until I tried to glue the soles on. I don’t know if it was the rubber soles I used or the “eco” low-VOC contact cement, but the soles just refused to stick to the shoes – so disappointing!

I followed all the instructions for the contact cement: the temperature was above 18 degrees C (it was a gorgeous 28 degree day!), the humidity was low, and I waited 60 minutes for it to dry, but it just wouldn’t dry. So I tried sticking one shoe on, and it peeled right off of the rubber! So I left the other one to dry overnight and tried again, and the same thing happened. The glue just peels right off the rubber even though the bottle says that it sticks to rubber. If you have any experience with contact cement, or any ideas on how I can fix these, please share!

handmade shoes

handmade shoes

You can see where the rubber sole is peeling off the shoe 😦

20140502_201706 (800x600)20140502_201718 (600x800)  handmade shoes

Pattern: Round toe strapless slippers by uku2
Fabric: outer 100% organic cotton twill, waxed with Otter Wax lining 100% organic quilting cotton (Passing Clouds by Cloud9)
Soles: 3/8″ Rubber Soling Material  and LePage Low VOC Contact Cement (I followed this tutorial for applying the soles)
Size: 9
Fit Modifications: Rounded the toe to accommodate my square feet, pinched out 1 cm from top of heel, removed 0.5 cm from bottom of side heel to compensate for removed heel padding
Construction Modifications: Used canvas interfacing, omitted glue and heel interfacing, added removable insoles
Style Modifications: Cut out more of the upper near the toes, added straps to the toe, added a tab to the back heel with a loop

The upside is that these are by far the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever worn, so as long as the soles don’t completely fall off, I will actually wear them!

I decided to try waxing them since it’s spring (photo below shows the shoes after waxing). The waxing process was surprisingly easy, but I haven’t had a chance to test them out in wet grass or puddles yet, so I’ll report back later on how effective it is.

handmade shoes

For my next pair, I ordered some different soling material (from here) that gets sewn in instead of glued on, so I’ll give shoes another try when the new soles arrive. Unfortunately, this pattern is designed with part of the uppers wrapping around to the bottom, which means I need to make some major modifications to the pattern, or draft my own, to use the sew-in soling. It’s quite a process, but I’m not giving up yet!



15 thoughts on “Shoes: third attempt – so close, yet so far!

  1. Hanne

    They look really cool. I’d try a silicone gel or a glue gun (if you are really desperate)
    + I nominated you for a Liebster award. you can check out my blog for details!

  2. Carolyn

    Chantal, I’m so impressed with your shoe-making adventures! Sadly I don’t have any advice on the soles/cement, but I do hope you figure out a solution. Your shoes are too cute not to wear! And I certainly believe they’re the most comfortable shoes you’ve ever worn, as I think the vast majority of shoes are super uncomfortable.

    1. Chantal Post author

      Thank you, Carolyn! I agree, I’ve always had an incredibly difficult time finding comfortable shoes, and I even shop in the old lady section! So these are too promising to give up on, and I’ve actually been wearing them a lot, floppy soles and all 😉

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