Making Boots from Shoes

There is great technique achieving the boot look without the cost of actually getting boots.

Find a shoe with a sole similar to the style you need - for flat soled boots tennis shoes work well. Older is better as worn soles will not be so obvious.

Using a heavy weight fabric like canvas as a pattern mock-up, either a) cut out a two part pattern (side view- this will give a seam down the front and back of your boot) or b) drape a pattern directly onto the foot and leg. Cut out the rough shape, adjust where necessary, and sew, making sure you leave enough room for the foot to go in and out comfortably. Mark the position for the elastic to go under the instep, and any trims to be attached. Unpick and use as a pattern for the final boot top. If you are using fabric, it may need to be lined or boned to keep them up.

If you want better wear out  your boots, you can glue them to the shoes instead of making them removable. If using a tied shoe, cut out the tongue and remove lacings, then use hot glue or shoemakers cement to attach the new top to the under shoe


Don't cover the under-surface of the real shoe. You'll need the traction. You might want to use a tad of double sided tape to keep the tops from sliding up too much.



Adapted from  pp99, 'Costuming Made Easy- How to Make Theatrical Costumes from Cast-off Clothing" by Barb Rogers

Additional info by Naomi

Legolas's boots are actually short top, elastic sided, pull on boots with the shoe toppers.  In this case the shoe topper does not cover the whole front of the shoe, it only covers the ankle and heel area.  See our Legolas boot study.

This page was last updated 04/22/08