Tuesday 24 September 2013

Sneakers...making a pair from two left feet!

Many years ago I saw market stalls and 'cheap' shops selling little 'doll sized' fabric sneakers/baseball boots, that were sold as keyrings.  They came in all sorts of colours and many different sizes but in the main, they were usually all left or all right.  Very occasionally I found a pair of one left and one right, but not often.  I thought they were great and was tempted to buy some for my dolls to wear but I have to admit that I'm a bit OCD when it comes to things like that, and I just couldn't put two left shoes on my dolls even if it didn't notice in photos.....I knew they were two left shoes, and that was enough for me!!!!

Then I saw that other people had had the same idea and someone on the internet created a tutorial showing how to easily make a left shoe into a right one.....and I've been doing that ever since!  Anyway, I thought I'd create my own tutorial and share on here.  In fact I meant to do this some time ago and it was Rosie Laird who inadvertantly reminded me yesterday, that I'd not yet done here we are!!!  Thanks Rosie!!

I recently bought four canvas sneakers at a Euro each (approx 85 pence in the UK), all of them were left feet.  I will show below how to change one of each colour into right feet.  Please ignore my nibbled thumb nail!!

You can't really see in the photo below that these are all left feet, but in real life it is very obvious!

Tools of the trade:

  1. A sharp craft knife with pointy blade;
  2. Tacky glue.....You can use a hot glue gun and I have done so in the past but don't have one with me at the moment, so I've used quick drying white glue;
  3. Clamps or something similar, to hold the shoes together whilst the glue's clamps shown below, were a complete waste of time as they are too small for the job in hand!!!

First of all you, taking one of the shoes, and using the sharp pointy knife, you need to carefully cut all around the edge of the sole, pushing your blade in between the outer rubber (in this case coloured white) and the darker sole.  Do this all the way around being careful not to cut the white part.  (If you do accidentally cut it, don't worry because it won't show once you've got your shoe back together again!)

Once you've cut all the way around, carefully prise the sole from the shoe...depending on the glue used, you might have to tug it quite hard.  You'll probably find that the cardboard 'innersole' comes away with the outer plastic sole, which isn't a problem.

You now have three separate pieces, the upper, the cardboard innersole and the plastic outer sole.

You can see here that I've cut a bit of the rubber edging by accident, but it's not a problem once the shoe is finished.

Now turn your inner and outer soles over so that they are as they would be for a right shoe.  Add white glue to the inner fabric of the shoe and the edge of your cardboard innersole.  Your cardboard innersole 'rests' on the fabric lining.  Push the innersole down (from inside the shoe) on to the fabric to help it stick.  Once it's stuck then move on to the next step.....or if you're impatient like me, rush on to the next step straight away then curse that your shoe just fell apart on the table!!!!

Once the innersole is stuck nicely to the fabric, put a layer of glue on the innersole and some more on the plastic sole (don't forget to put it on the patterned side, which was once the 'outer' sole....hope that makes sense!!!) 

I usually put some glue around the edge of the sole too, to help it stick properly.

Once the glue has gone a bit tacky, push this plastic sole up into the canvas sneaker.  Smooth the white rubber edging neatly around your outer sole.  Make sure that all the edges are firmly stuck down and leave it to dry completely before putting the shoe on your doll.  This is where the clamps (or equivalent) come in useful, otherwise you have to sit there holding the darn thing in place until it sticks!!!

And as it sticks, so you will notice that the shoes upper takes on the shape of the rigid plastic sole, so making the shoe into a 'right' foot!  The only way anyone would be aware that they didn't come as a pair was if they saw the soles!!

And there you have a pair of cheap sneakers for your doll!! 


  1. Very clever indeed.....BUT now with hands incapable of such fine and 'dangerous Stanley Knife' work I think that I'll give it a miss and continue to pay up the full price!

    1. Thanks Kendal. You're right though, if you've not got a steady hand then it's not a great idea to do this because you need such a sharp would be a real shame to ruin the sneakers by covering them in blood!!! ;)
      I just like doing 'crafty' stuff and so prefer to do things for myself if I can!!

  2. well I never !......ive got a snazzy pair of keyring converse that are both left feet and its bugged me so they've only been worn once, ive also got 2 ugg style boots, they were air fresheners to hang in a car again both left but at 20p each clarance in aldi how could I resist.....I may just give this ago when ive finished the million other things that need to be done xxxxxx

    1. I wish you luck in changing the converse ones over Sarah....but not sure it can be done on the Uggs, I guess it really depends on the soles and how they're made. This method does NOT work with the sneakers that are slip-ons with the elastic inserts at the front. I've no idea why, but they appear to be made differently.

  3. A great idea, not that I ever see any of these around here, but at least I can keep a look out for them. Thanks Sharon.

    1. Thanks Lorraine. I have found that I'm finding less and less of these around here too nowadays, but came across these by accident a few weeks back in the supermarket. So I had to grab them whilst I could. It's just a useful thing to know, just in case you do find some!!!

  4. What a fantastic job. If I'd known this was possible I'd have had a second look but the key rings at the airport were over 4 euro each so it didn't really make good sense but I'll be keeping a look out for more!

    1. Thanks very much Rosie! And I'm sorry, I've changed your surname!! I'll go and change that now.
      No, at 4 euros each, that's not cheap, so it'd be easier to get a ready made pair!!!

  5. That is really neat and useful! :D

  6. Very interesting and informative Sharon, thank you for showing us how to do it.
    must confess though that it looks a lot of work , so I'll 'stick' to buying them from releaserain until they get to expensive ! :)


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