I received a phone call from an aspiring shoemaker, asking about what tools I’d suggest to get to make shoes. Although it is a really difficult question, however, there are some basic tools all shoemakers need. I am gonna list a few (not a comprehensive collection) and enclose a link to purchase it, if you want. Again: it is more for beginners, maybe for teachers to support students.
1. Hammer and pincers to last. (on sale 65 USD)
Not needed to mention, the most essential tools, for everything.
2. Craft knives (12.50 – 24.50 USD)
You have two options:
I was referring these knives as “Japanese” earlier, but I must admit that was wrong – these were used in the European traditions for a long time. You can skive, trim the insole/sole edges, cut channels (probably the best tool for that), and so on. One of the best investment into tools.
3. Apron (16.95 USD)
Against the popular belief, aprons are not only good for protecting your clothes (although that is still a case), but holding your shoes when you work on certain areas. Aprons are a must for beginners.
4. Measuring tape (9.50 USD)
Not only for custom shoemaking, but… checking the size of the lasts – please always start with that – do not believe to the numbers printed on a new last. That naiveté can cost you a lot. This one is specially made for shoemakers, showing: European (Paris Point), centimeters/millimeters and English units.
5. Topline tape
There is no upper without top line tape. 12.50 USD, but enough for several pairs, securing the shape of top edge.