shoemaking book

- Learn to make shoes by hand.

Bespoke Shoemaking, A Comprehensive Guide to Handmade Footwear - Tim Skyrme


This site is dedicated to books on shoemaking and boot making, and tries to cover all aspects of this craft.

Below is a list of authors and books available from this site, apart from me, Tim Skyrme. As well as links to shoe makers and footwear schools and colleges around the world.

Those authors include George Koleff, a Master Shoemaker, and a well known teacher and educator from Adelaide, South Australia, whose books also cover boot and shoe design, as well as last building, and ugg boot making. George spent a lot of time teaching his skills.

George used a geometric method of pattern cutting, first invented in the late 1800s, by Robert Knofel, which is based on foot measurements, not last shapes. You can get his books by emailing Yvonne at

Frank Jones edited his industry standard book on pattern cutting, which has been revised and improved. It teaches pattern cutting based on the taped-last method, which is a method widely used around the world.

Ron Edwards was an Australian collector of handcrafts, and his books on leatherwork, knot tying, and plaiting whips, and belts, are really useful, as well as his volumes on bushcraft and outback primitive living.

The links from the images will take you to the individual pages for those authors and an expanded list of the contents. Or use the menu on the left.

I have special deals on most books when purchased with another of a similar or corresponding type. I am available by email for anything else you may want to add to an order.




Bespoke Shoemaking, A Comprehensive Guide to Handmade Footwear - By Tim Skyrme

bespoke shoemaking cover

This text book is designed to teach the art and craft of handmade shoemaking. Using simple, easy to follow images, it takes you from sharpening a knife, through making the patterns, cutting and sewing the leather, lasting the shoe and finishing the soles after attachment. Everything needed to create a pair of shoes.

Included is a list of most of the tools you will need, with images so you have an idea what to look for, and how to care for them.

Bespoke shoemaking means that you are making the footwear of whatever type, be it shoes, boots, or sandals, according to the requirements of the customer. That is, taking foot measurements, drawing up the patterns, and making the footwear using materials that you have agreed upon with the customer.

This manual is designed for students and other interested people, to learn to make shoes by hand, using traditional methods which require very little in the way of machinery. There has been no text book until now that tells you what to do once the patterns are cut. This one does.

This text book will also allow students to learn at home, if accessing a learning institution is not viable. Living in Australia, I am fully aware of the problems of distance when trying to study. The images make up a stop-motion effect with detailed explanations for each step.

This shoemaking manual has 300 pages with 700 images. They are all taken from photos and video footage of me making the shoes, so they show the correct positioning for the hands when holding tools and performing tasks. This is important if you are away from a teacher.

Used as a text book in many boot and shoemaking schools, and by hundreds of individual shoe and bootmakers around the world, it has proved it's worth many times over.

Simple Sandalmaking, Sandals anyone can make.

simple sandalmaking book cover


This book contains 10 styles of sandals that can be made by anyone who can use simple tools.

This book contains 209 pages with all shapes and sizes, and strap lengths, with instructions on how to thread up the straps and put the various stylestogether. Not designed specifically for shoemakers, this book only has styles that

do not use lasts, which makes them perfect for leatherworkers or anyone wishing to make a single pair or start a business.

Most of these styles are timeless, consisting of one long strap that is threaded through an insole and around the foot in different configurations. These sandals were made popular during the 1970s but have been with us probably for centuries.



Sole Press Patterns, to make your own sole press

sole press photo


A sole press is a really useful piece of equipment for the shoe/boot/sandal maker.

It makes a clean professional look to your soles and can be used for helping shape insoles to the last. This one is was designed to be used by solo shoemakers, or even in small workshops with more than one maker.

As it works on compressed air, a compressor is an advantage, but this press can also be used with a car tyre pump or even a bicycle pump if required.

The pack contains photos and plans and sizes of the required parts, it should be straightforward for a competent metalworker/boilermaker to make for you. The reason for patterns is that because of the weight, postage would be too expensive.

This press is small and can be packed away easily, making it really suitable for a small space, in my opinion it is one of those tools that makes you wonder what you did before you got one.

Pattern Cutting, Step by Step - Edited by Frank Jones

step by step pattern cutting cover


This is a revised version of an earlier work that was re-worked to be bigger and better than before, with added patterns and information.

A must for the shoemaker, whether working by themselves or in industry, this book is already an industry standard, and is the preferred textbook in shoemaking colleges around the world.

This book teaches how to make mean formes based on the covered-last method of pattern cutting which is used extensively where shoemakers use lasts.





Ron Edwards, leatherwork books.

Ron Edwards book cover


Ron Edwards has written some really useful small books for leatherworkers.

Covering a wide range of subjects and expertise, these books are overflowing with illustrations and how-to-go-about the projects.

Strongly focussing on plaiting and knot tying they also teach saddle making and repair as well as general leather projects.

Now there are a selection of Ron's volumes of Bushcraft books teaching how to make do with very few tools, and resourses. It enables the reader to be self sufficient in a harsh environment.




Shoemaking Schools Worldwide, a list of places to learn shoemaking.

These are links to shoemaking/bootmaking schools and colleges around the world. Hopefully this will make your search for a learning establishment a bit easier.

Shoemaking Videos

Some youtube videos showing me lasting up, and also some of Geoge Koleff making tools and demonstrating unusual techniques.