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),pincers,shoemaking,hammers,shoemaker,tools

hammer pincer combo

Not needed to mention, the most essential tools, for everything.

2. Craft knives (12.50 – 24.50 USD)

craft knife advanced

You have two options:


bit more expensive

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)

measuring tape-800x800-2

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

topline tapes-800x800

There is no upper without top line tape. 12.50 USD, but enough for several pairs, securing the shape of top edge.

3 thoughts on “Tools

  1. Hello, Will you be teaching another class this summer in nyc?? I could not make the last one. Thank you

    Stella Cortina Sardone Sent from my iPad


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