Making Women's Shoes

Share secrets, compare techniques, discuss the merits of materials--eg. veg vs. chrome--and above all, seek knowledge.
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Re: Making Women's Shoes

#26 Post by das » Fri Aug 15, 2008 3:50 am

I've never examined these except in passing, considering them mostly just fetish items, or sexual props, not meant for daily wear, or wear while upright, weight-on *ahem*, or for walking outside.

Then I asked June, and she offered the following:

"From memory, the 5 1/2" heel has leather shank. Certainly some of the other 1890s high heels at Northampton Museum have leather shank, where it's possible to see it. There are said to be steel shanks by then (Northampton Museum's #164, 1880s 'steel springs', & #175 1888-92/97). [Steel shanks were] exhibited 1851 Great Exhibition; in Dowie, Dress & Care of the Feet, 1876 Goodyear patent, 1878 Ure, 1885 Leno."

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Re: Making Women's Shoes

#27 Post by corvin » Fri Aug 15, 2008 9:41 am

Thank you to all - DW, Paul, D.A. and June - for your humorous and informative responses!

Interesting that steel shanks go back to 1851.

Thanks,
Craig

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Re: Making Women's Shoes

#28 Post by alexander » Wed Mar 18, 2009 1:13 pm

Hello all of you,

I don't use steel or leather shanks at all for fine women shoes. Instead I use beech fineer and pu glue for making very ridgid and lightweight shanks. First Icut out the insole and glue 4 layers of fineer with the thread of each layer diagonal crossing the other and press till the glue has hardend. Then shape it according to the seat of the last and the heel and next glue another 4 or 6 layers of fineer on to it, about half an inch smaller than the contour of the insole. The middle of the backpart of the insole is now about a third of an inch thickand very stiff. When lasting the backpart, the stiffener and lasting allowence fits in the half inch ridge of the shank. I will take pictures of the next pair I make this way to make things more clear,

Alexander

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Re: Making Women's Shoes

#29 Post by artzend » Wed Mar 18, 2009 1:46 pm

Alexander

This sounds like a great idea. Do you ever have problems with shanks breaking?

The idea of using wood as shanks was common once, George Koleff told of using Linden bark for shanks when he was younger in Bulgaria.

Tim
www.shoemakingbook.com

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Re: Making Women's Shoes

#30 Post by corvin » Mon Jul 06, 2009 9:15 am

I was checking out Marcell's YouTube videos over the weekend and saw that he now has one on design and pattern making for high heel shoes.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_Pdw12FhWs

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Re: Making Women's Shoes

#31 Post by romango » Mon Jul 06, 2009 9:33 am

What a talented guy! An artist and a shoemaker.

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Re: Making Women's Shoes

#32 Post by sean_oneil » Thu Jul 09, 2009 4:43 pm

Hello all,

I have a new client whose needs include accomodating hammer toes, a bunion, and flat feet. She is a public figure who must spend a great deal of time on her feet. Her requirements are simple, classic court shoes with a 2.5" to 2.75" heel. She is not a young woman and not a particularly light woman.

I built a pair on spec and today, when I had my first fitting of them, she loved the design, loved the fit for all the forefoot problems. They didn't make her feet look ugly and they were comfortable. She is a client who talks about shoes in terms of how long she can wear them. "These shoes I have on are good for two hours. The ones you made me feel like all day shoes." So that is all good as far as it goes.

The inevitable 'but' is a problem I have with most heavy people who want a high heel. When she puts the shoes on the shank flexes too much, the foot slides forward leaving a small gap at the heel and the topline at the interior (arch) and it's exterior counterpart both gap as well.

I used a men's shank in constuction because this isn't the first time I've seen this problem in this particular circumstance. Heavy + high heels + accomodations + court pump = gapping at the topline. If I could just lick this problem I would be totally confident in building her pair after pair. A good gig for me and a good find for her.

So, any ideas about non-collapsing shanks in high heel court shoes for heavy people?

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Re: Making Women's Shoes

#33 Post by corvin » Thu Jul 09, 2009 4:59 pm

Can you post a photo of the type of shank you are using?

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Re: Making Women's Shoes

#34 Post by dearbone » Thu Jul 09, 2009 5:16 pm

What is your heel base length?it must cover the shank a fair amount.

marcell

Re: Making Women's Shoes

#35 Post by marcell » Thu Jul 09, 2009 10:16 pm

Even if I didn't produce woman shoes (until the recent past), I had to dig in to this topic deep, because of my n... c... in NYC. So, I ordered many ready insoles for my st...s and have seen many good solutions.

If it helps, I can post a photo about the shank construction I use. 3-4 layers, sandwich-construction - good up to 120 kg. Those shanks DO NOT move at all.

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Re: Making Women's Shoes

#36 Post by sean_oneil » Fri Jul 10, 2009 12:13 pm

Marcell,

I would appreciate seeing a photo(s) of your shank constuction. From your latest video, it seems obvious that you have put quite a bit of thought into this topic.

I'm willing to experiment with fibreglass if it comes to that but something less toxic would be good too.

marcell

Re: Making Women's Shoes

#37 Post by marcell » Fri Jul 10, 2009 2:01 pm

Paper, leather and metal sounds less toxic? Image I will put it on soon.

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Re: Making Women's Shoes

#38 Post by alexander » Wed Jul 29, 2009 7:33 am

I will now post pictures on how I make laminated wood shanks!

First all the parts
9881.jpg


Next... the first layers glued with pu glue and wrapped in plastic to prevent becoming the operation a mess
9880.jpg


Making the last heel and shank/insole excat fitting
9879.jpg


Next glue the middle part, it makes the shank stiff and fills out the middle
9878.jpg


Tomorrow I will post how it continues...

Alexander

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Re: Making Women's Shoes

#39 Post by alexander » Wed Jul 29, 2009 7:40 am

Sorry for the large file.. and the first picture was missing, the parts
9883.jpg

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Re: Making Women's Shoes

#40 Post by dearbone » Wed Jul 29, 2009 8:30 am

Alexander,

Thank you,it looks like an interesting approach in dealing with high heels,how many layers and how thick is the wood? i noticed two layers over the leather insole from the pictures,one layer cut exact to insole and one small for the middle,is that correct? and what kind of glue is the Pu glue?

Thank you
Nasser

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Re: Making Women's Shoes

#41 Post by alexander » Fri Jul 31, 2009 2:24 am

Nasser,

The insole is oakbark split leather and firmly rolled.. it so doesn't stretch anymore and cut excact to the shape of the last.. the wood is more roughly shaped and about 2mm larger. PU is polyurethan construction glue. Normal wood glue is affected by moist after some time and results in warped shanks. The insole and glued wood layers are wrapped in plastic, positioned with some nails and firmly pressed, a high heel shoe with a support under the arch. The wood is beech fineer of about 3/4 mm thick.

Alexander

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Re: Making Women's Shoes

#42 Post by sean_oneil » Sat Aug 08, 2009 4:10 pm

Alexander,

Thanks for the photo essay. I like the shoes too.

A couple of questions before I commit to the messy part. I haven't got any experience with veneer so I picked up a package of 6" x 60" oak veneer from a local hardware store. That is all I could find on a weekend day. I also bought Gorilla Glue which is a PU glue.

I'm having big problems cutting the veneer with either scissors or olfa knife. The veneer splits so easily that I am only getting one piece whole for every 3 or 4 pieces cut. Does it help to wet the veneer before trying to cut? Given that the veneer is so brittle how do you get it to hug the curve of the arch without further splitting?

As I understand your writeup and photos, the 1st four layers are glued to the insole at the same time, wrapped in cling wrap and tacked to the last. You don't glue and clamp one layer at a time until dry - do you? That seems like it would take a very long time.

I plan on putting the plactic wrapped 1st four layers in our sole press for an hour, perhaps with a roll of foam under the arch of the last to help the wooden shank shape to the bottom of the last. Make sense?

What do you apply the glue with? A brush or trowel (Gorilla Glue is the consistency of heavy syrup) or any of the hundreds of pieces of split oak veneer that I now have lying around?

If someone tells me that oak is totally the wrong veneer to use in this application, I'll believe them. I use european beech to make custom women's heels and it is a very user friendly wood. I'm sure I could find beech veneer when the specialty wood shops open on Monday but it will be at least 4x more expensive than oak.

This sounds like a job requiring surgical gloves. I'm not sure how to keep those first four layers from sliding around until I get some tacks in them.

Yup, it's gonna be messy.

Thanks for any help you, or anyone, can provide with these details.

I have a lot of faith that the finished product is light and strong. It's going to end up being 10 ply hardwood plywood after all. The Mosquito fast bomber proved a number of things during the second world war, including the strength and light weight of plywood.

Sean

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Re: Making Women's Shoes

#43 Post by large_shoemaker_at_large » Sat Aug 08, 2009 8:40 pm

Bucket of water thrown at you<<<
Slow down, take a breath.

I would try to buy a ladies fiddle shank from a finder.

Given ,if you want to do a multi layer glue get a third hand.
As a woodworker I have faced the same dilemia only on a much larger scale. and have laminated shanks.

First you don't have to do the whole thing in one glue up. Do it in 2-3 stages.
don't use gorilla glue unless you vacum bag. epoxy is a great thing.

Look at Fine Woodworking on the net you will find many resources.

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Re: Making Women's Shoes

#44 Post by jenny_fleishman » Thu Feb 04, 2010 3:49 pm

Alert! There is a story about shoemaker Llorraine Neithardt in today's NYT, Thurs., 2/4/10, on page E9, with several pictures of her amazing "shoe art." Headline is "A Veritable Vision In Five-Inch Heels." Her shoes were featured in the movie "P.S. I Love You."

Earlier in the same section of the paper there's an article about custom made items which includes some info on custom made men's shoes, including some prices.

Jenny

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Re: Making Women's Shoes

#45 Post by athan_chilton » Thu Jun 03, 2010 8:50 am

Oh my, I've just read all these posts and am rather overwhelmed. I have a 'test' shoe (for a new last), cemented construction, no welt, that appears to require a 3/4 - 1 inch heel. I got a rough set of western-style heel blocks that with some shaping (grinding wheel?) look like they would fit. The only heels I've attached so far are vibram (cemented onto vibram soling) and one pair of knock-off stilettos (screwed through the insole at an angle, into the heel). Do I attach my entire sole first in this case, or cut a bit extra at the heel breast & glue it down to the front of the heel? And do I glue this heel block in place, or screw it in as I did the stiletto? It seems like there are too many choices & I have no idea which is the correct one!

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Re: Making Women's Shoes

#46 Post by romango » Thu Jun 03, 2010 9:13 am

Athan,

It's a little hard to tell what kind of heel you want to end up with from your description but...

You can either build up a heel in layers of sole leather, like you would for a man's shoe or you can make one out of wood. The advantage of wood is that you can then cover it with upper leather.

If you have photos, that would help diagnose.

- Rick

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Re: Making Women's Shoes

#47 Post by athan_chilton » Thu Jun 03, 2010 12:12 pm

11292.jpg
11292.jpg (67.83 KiB) Viewed 1137 times

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Re: Making Women's Shoes

#48 Post by athan_chilton » Thu Jun 03, 2010 12:18 pm

Rick, this is the test shoe (please ignore sloppy fast sewing & no folded edge!)

As you can see, I have a rough heel, made of stacked leather. I didn't make it (don't know how, yet). It was purchased from Landwerlen Leather in Indianapolis. My questions are, how to attach this heel? Should I attach whole sole first or run thin soling up the breast of heel? Glue or screw/s or both? I also think this heel is overly large for the last - not just too tall, but too big.

I hope these are clear questions.

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Re: Making Women's Shoes

#49 Post by romango » Thu Jun 03, 2010 12:32 pm

Athan,

With a low heel like this, I would attach the sole first.

It will be difficult to match the curve of your pre-made heel to the bottom of the sole. It is easier to build the heel up yourself, one layer at a time, trimming as you go.

You can use wood pegs to improve the attachment but you can probably get away without them for a light duty shoe.

It is also fine to nail or screw in from the inside of the shoe. Of course, this will work with your pre-made heel too, if you can match it up to the sole sufficiently.

Glue it on then remove the last and nail or screw from the inside.

- Rick

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Re: Making Women's Shoes

#50 Post by athan_chilton » Thu Jun 03, 2010 1:48 pm

Thanks, Rick.

I figure one of these days I will try making my own stacked heel, but the pre-made one seemed OK for a test shoe & learning process.

I do wonder though: how does one determine whether the curve of the heel top sufficiently matches the curve of the heel seat (hope I have these terms right!) This seems to fit OK, but I can't see in between them once I set the shoe on the heel! Is this why a rand is used - to better fit the heel to the sole?

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