Saturday, 12 January 2013

These Boots Were Knitted for Walking

If you're a frustrated cobbler who knows how to knit, there is a way to knit your own shoes: you can just cut the uppers off an existing pair of shoes, leaving a 1/2" or 3/4" strip around the sole, punch a series of holes in the strip, then knit new uppers using the holes as a base for your first row.

Alternatively, and this will not only be the easier route but probably make a sturdier shoe (I've read the knitted uppers can be a little floppy), you can simply knit pieces to match the existing uppers as closely as possible, and then super glue and lace them in place. You can find Ravelry member Kamillasvanlund's tutorial for the glued-on technique on here. Etsy seller Pretty Sneaky has a variety of great examples of "reupholstered" Converses in her Etsy shop (the two pictures above are her handiwork) and will also custom make them on order in any theme you'd like. She'll even do a custom wedding package for the groom and groomsmen in your wedding if you wish.

Some people knit new uppers for leather shoes as well, using the "cut the upper off and knit up from the remaining strip around the sole" technique. You can look at some instructional pictures here if my explanation didn't make any sense to you.

I am not sure how this espadrille-like pair was made as of course, since it used a flip-flop, there's nothing to stitch the new upper to. My best guess is that the new upper was glued on and that the braid hides the edges.

The adapted Converses look best — but the latter two executions leave... something to be desired aesthetically. I'd love to see what would happen if a really skilled designer took this idea and ran with it.


  1. Wow those are so cool! Seems like super glue wouldn't hold though. Maybe some e6000 glue or something a little more flexible or just glueing the center and then stitching the upper part and the lower part for extra support. I'm certainly going to try this though. Thanks for the idea!

  2. For the flip flops I would pierce holes a quarter inch from the edge every half inch and do a blanket stitch with darning needles around the edge with sisal, hemp or twine. I would crochet into the top of that stitch as my foundation row and take it from there. :-)

  3. This is a nice post but unfortunately, the link did go what was mentioned in the article for the shoes and seeing how the knit shoe were created as mentions. Also, the Knitty Gritty link didn't seem to work either. Is some way to actually find a pattern or even better a video how they were made? That would be great. It is what I thought I was going to find when Lion Brand referred this link...and I quote, "Hey, shoe lovers, want to knit your own custom shoes? Orange Swan will show you how!" with this link. Pretty Sneaky has created some wonderful examples but I do not want to buy a pair. I was hoping to learn how to "make" a pair. :(
    Could you help please? Thanks

  4. Hi Orange Swan!
    My name is Kamillasvanlund (on ravelry) and the tutorial is mine and not purlgurl.
    love the blog entry!


  5. Kamilla, I am so sorry I attributed your work to someone else! I don't know how I made that mistake, but I've corrected it in the post.

    Estelle, If you click through to Ravelry member kamillasvanlund's tutorial for the glued-on technique that I've linked to above, you'll find it's available for $1. The knitted-on technique is outlined at the link below the orange shoe picture - you just have to scroll down "the blue blog archives" page to see it.

  6. The flip-flop ones are actually from this blog:
    The top is stitched to the bottom and that's possible because the flip-flops are made of foam.

  7. Hey! I love all the shoe models you posted! I really do. I am not a very experienced knitter, but I am so enthusiastic about the espadrille-like shoes that I might decide to try to figure out the edges and venture making them. If I succeed I'll definitely share pics and process with you. Thanks again for your inspiring blog, Ana.

  8. I know this is an old post and it's no fun to get a comment on an old post but I couldn't resist. This is great! Going to pin and FB this. I love the name of your blog, too. I'll be back, that's fo sure!!