ShoeKit is an open-source system for DIY shoe-making.
The core initiative is a digital library of shoe lasts that anyone can download and 3D print.
Additional resources will be pattern files for the upper, insole, and sole, and instructions for putting it all together. The goal is to make it easy enough so that anyone with reasonable crafting skills can make a pair of wearable shoes in an afternoon.
Shoemaking is getting to be a lost art. While it is easy for you to learn how to sew clothing, it’s really hard to get started if you are curious about making shoes because the supplies are hard to find-- especially shoe lasts, which are wooden or plastic base blocks for a given style and size.
Shoe lasts are hard to buy in the US because there are almost no shoe manufacturers left in the US. If you find a US source, they are likely remnant stock and they won’t have all the sizes. You can order lasts online from the UK or Latvia, but it will be $75-$120. With a common desktop 3D printer, you can print about 3-4 pairs of shoe lasts from one spool of plastic material, bringing the cost down to about $10 per pair. In addition to the lasts, other shoe components are also 3D-printable, making the craftform more accessible for students and hobbyists.
The first style is a classic women’s ballet flat. This is modeled in Blender, a powerful free 3D modeling program. I am extremely interested in digitizing existing and vintage shoe lasts. If you are an educational institution, company, or individual with a collection of shoe lasts and wish to contribute, please get in touch by email.