Bespoke Shoes Unlaced – a shoemaker's blog

Friday, 16 February 2018

Attaching A Sticker Sole

Once more unto the breach, dear shoe folk of the world. We hope you have had a good week

We have had a great week of shoe making and teaching our one to one students, so plenty of time in the workshop getting our hands dirty.

Sometimes, customers want the look of a leather soled shoe, dressy, elegant, but they find that they slip in them. In these cases, we always suggest a sticker sole and occasionally a completely rubber heel top piece.

This week, we had just such a customer who wanted both.

So we made the shoes as we normally do and then did the following to attach the sticker soles.

And here is how to do it. Firstly, draw a curved line from just behind the joint. In this case it is where the bevelled waist starts and the measures are half an inch back from the joint on the outside and 3/4 of an inch back from the joint on the inside.

Next cut a vertical line with the knife and then an angled cut to get a strip of leather out.

Then skive away a section of the sole to rebate the place where the sticker sole will sit. Try to cut to the same depth as the sticker sole so that it sits flush with the sole when finished.

Next make a paper pattern of the forepart of the shoe and the rebate. Just push with your fingers - it helps if they are dirty. Try to get an impression line in the paper. And then cut out the pattern piece with a small margin around the edge.

Cut it out, reverse it and draw the silver pen line on the other shoe so they match.

 Here is where I admit to an oversight. I had forgotten that he wanted a sticker sole so I finished the whole forepart - always look at the making ticket!
Saying that, I like to finish the sole well past the point where the sticker sole site so that when you come to cut the line, you get a really nicely finished sole right up the rubber. It's harder to finish the sole after you put the sticker sole on.

So now take off the finish with glass and sandpaper - it must be a rough surface for the glue to work better.

 Cut out the rubber you want to use - this is 2mm thick and hard wearing.

Put contact adhesive on all the surfaces and leave for 2 hours and then add a second layer. I like to leave it overnight as I think you get a better adhesion.

First thing next morning, revive the glue with a hairdryer or heat gun. It must be hot - you can feel the glue getting tacky to the touch.

Before it cools down, stick the sole on.

Hammer the edges and trim off the excess with a knife.

If the edge is not smooth from the knife, use a small piece of sandpaper to smooth the edges.

And that is the sticker sole attached. I think the rebated edge where it meets the leather sole looks and feels better than just sticking it straight on. If you do this, you should skive the sticker sole down to nothing on the curved edge - but it doesn't look as nice!

And that is it for this week. Until next time, happy shoe making!