Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Hacking Converse

One thing I've always found difficult about London is that people just won't accept bare feet in public. Back in provincial Germany this was never a problem, and so I grew up to have fairly healthy, naturally wide feet with toes that have some memory of gripping.
I've been on a constant quest for comfortable shoes that fit me... but the problem is that if they have a thin sole, they are too slim, and if they are wide, they have a chunky orthopedic sole. And that's even before considering if I like the colour.
So I ordered some leather, and got crafting.

This is my first project: turning my old Converse trainers that pinch my toes and feel like chunky hooves into barefoot shoes. Well, as close to barefoot as I can get.

First I sawed off the sole, and IT WAS GREAT FUN. Nothing like finally dismantling an object that has annoyed you for years.

hacking converse


hacking converse

I tried them on like this, actually, and it's quite possible to discreetly tie one lace around the bottom of the foot and actually go out barefoot with decoy uppers... but I do want a shoe that I can actually wear everywhere in London, not even I would go barefoot through a pigeon-infested Saturday Night underpass where lost hair pieces roll by like tumbleweed until they get stuck in some chunky puddle.

hacking converse

I drew a new sole on the leather. It's amazing how unlike feet most shoes are shaped - I don't know what evolutionary pressure is at work there, but some collective subconscious wants us to lose four toes per head.

hacking converse

Here it got messy: using my leather awl. I'm afraid I didn't do the neatest possible job, but this was my first attempt, and I didn't have a curved awl.

hacking converse

And here we go! Before, and after. Yeah, it looks like a Clown shoe. But at least no one will shout at me in the supermarket any more, and my toes can finally stretch and curl.

hacking converse

Now I just need to find the right glue to fix the slightly messy bits and make it look as sturdy as it actually is... it looks like that heel is coming off, that's just because the rubber is so thick that I didn't quite manage to stitch it as closely as the rest.


Happy Shoe

Grand. I'll hack the other one tomorrow. And next I'll make some one-piece Ghillie shoes.


GaelicAmethyst said...

Very cool!

Have you tried New Balance shoes? They come in varying widths up to something like quadruple E (that's American sizing for "Sasquatch was here!").

Viviane Schwarz said...

Thanks! It's such fun to deconstruct things.

Mm, Balance shoes are still cushioned. I want as little material as possible, really...

I wish I could wear Vibram five finger shoes, really, but I tried loads of sizes and don't fit me around the heel.