Find me on Mastodon: @tozafoot@ohai.social. I’m also on Twitter @tozafoot but may be ceasing to post there from late 2022.

I started making my own shoes and boots in 2015, because I couldn’t buy what I needed. The shape of almost all commercially-available footwear was seriously damaging my feet. My big toe joints had started hurting with every step. The very few pairs that didn’t instantly cause pain when I put them on didn’t fit, were impractical for what I needed, or were downright hideous to look at.

Green sneaker-like shoe with black sole and laces
A lasted lace-up I made myself in 2016: no heel and lots of toe room

Since I couldn’t buy footwear to suit, the only thing to do was to make my own. I bought some books. I took a couple of short, intensive shoemaking courses. Since then, I have made many blissfully comfortable pairs of shoes, boots and sandals to my own designs. My feet don’t hurt at all when wearing them, confirming to me that the pain I’d been experiencing arose from the footwear I had been wearing, not my feet.

Handmade black leather boots with red stitching, calf height
A pair of lined boots I designed from scratch and made by hand in 2015. Everything was entirely hand-stitched. This photo was taken just before I finished off the soles. The left boot is unfastened, showing the edge of the flap that hides the fastening mechanism on the inside of the leg.

There is no “right” way to make footwear, but there are better ways and worse ways. I decided to build this site to share what I have learned and make contact with other people who want to know more about making footwear that:

  • Lets feet move naturally: doesn’t stress joints or cause bad posture
  • Have flair: comfortable shoes don’t have to look like “old person’s shoes”!
  • Can be repaired: too many “bought” shoes have to be thrown away because of minor issues

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional and nothing on this site is intended to be medical advice. Before making changes to your footwear you should consult an appropriate medical practitioner.