My husband wanted to make some shoes, so he bought us a sneaker kit to work on a pair together. We figured that we can each make one side, so we get the experience of making a shoe, and it's much faster (in case we don't enjoy the experience then we don't have to do it twice 😅)
These are some process photos - the kit came with most of the required materials, but didn't include a strong scissors / cutter:
We used our small garden shears as it was the most "powerful" cutting device we have at home. The leather is full grain leather, it was quite thick to cut through:
Note the other cutting devices which didn't succeed (normal scissors, kitchen scissors):
There was a leather punching device included for us to punch holes for the stitching later:
It also came with eyelets for the lace holes - the hole punching device also doubles up as the eyelet fastener, but we needed to hammer it down to get it flat:
The stitching turned out to be less tiring than cutting through the super thick leather...
...until we discovered we attached the leather to the wrong soles. I was supposed to work on the left sneaker, and him the right. Our mistake started when we decided to trace the outline of the pattern on the wrong side of the leather (suede side) to avoid leaving pen marks - so this meant we unintentionally did everything in reverse. While stitching the leather to the sole, the fit was a little odd, but we thought it because leather is stretchy and will fit later on.
It was only until I reached a stage where I was missing a hole to stitch on one side, while realizing there was an extra hole on the other. We scrutinized the pattern to count the holes, and alas, uncovered the mystery of why the holes didn't match up 😂
We ended up having to unstitch an almost completed shoe and redo it. So turns out, we each effectively stitched (almost) two sides of the shoe each!
Another funny mistake: my husband was overly enthusiastic when flattening the eyelet (to ensure it's smooth), and ended up forgetting to put something below the leather / eyelet when hammering it flat...The eyelet marks are now forever etched into our parquet floor for keepsake!
Other than those unfortunate mistakes on the way, we managed to complete the pair of sneakers:
Me wearing it during Chinese New Year this year:
Details of the DIY kit
Duration: about 3-4 four hours for one side of shoe. If you're doing two sides yourself, the second shoe might take a shorter time because of the learning curve
Price: EUR 89 (~SGD 128) for the full sneaker kit, order on the sneakerkit website
Level of "fun": 3/5
I have to confess that the cutting was not my favourite part (probably because I didn't have the right cutter, so it felt quite tedious). The hole punching and stitching were pretty enjoyable, almost meditative (because of all the repetition). It's extra awesome to see random pieces of things turn into something as we progressed!
Level of difficulty: 2.5/5
My husband describes the kit as fairly easy, but quite tedious, and I agree (especially after we made the mistake and had to unpick and restitch!) The instructions on the video are pretty simple to follow, and because of the repetition, it gets easier after some time. And now that I've shared the two major "mistakes" we made, I hope you avoid them and have an easier experience!