About two months ago I started looking into barefoot shoes/minimalist footwear. My focus was reducing sciatic nerve pain. I read Whole Body Barefoot: Transitioning to Minimalist Footwear and began doing the exercises in preparation to switch to my new pair of vivobarefoot shoes (they were only $75 when I bought them due to a refurbished panel).
My feet have never been so happy. I am completely sold on the barefoot shoes movement. Pain from my feet up has been reduced dramatically. I feel like a little kid again enjoying the feeling of the earth. There is lots of controversy about running in barefoot shoes; I’m 9 months pregnant so I’ve only ever walked. I have zero expectations for running barefoot, but we’ll see what happens.
Once I realized the benefits and joy of barefoot shoes I really wanted my kids to have them too. They’ve been barefoot most of the spring, summer, and fall so I want to embrace what is already working. Unfortunately they are expensive, and kids feet grow too fast to seem worth it. I decided to experiment and make my own.
It took three fabric prototypes to develop a working pattern that fit Emily. I was able to then make one prototype to fit Nathan’s foot.
Next I bought felt for less than a dollar to test out the structure of the pattern as well as experiment with leather stitching. I learned a couple of different techniques sewing with two needles and decided the look I liked the best. Four felt shoes later (a pair for Emily and Nathan) and I had a solid plan for the leather. Plus they each have slippers for winter.
The kids and I bought a 1 lb bag of leather remnants from hobby lobby for $5 and waxed thread for $3. I also bought 4mm rubber for the soles on amazon. I have leather, thread, and rubber left so the shoes each probably cost less than $3 a pair. Once the leather was cut out I did the majority of the making while hanging out at the playground. I had to punch the holes for stitching which was the most tedious part. Once I started sewing the shoes came together quickly.
I love how they turned out! They fit both kids really well. Nathan has been wearing his outside and in. Emily is capitalizing on the warmer weather and is back in sandals. I’m curious how they will hold up with natural wear and tear through the winter. It has been a fun playground experiment.