Shoe Bags + Self Interview

blue shoe bags

So, I made some shoe bags.


I want to protect my nice shoes from dust and cat hair when I’m not wearing them. I also want to protect clean clothes from dirty shoe soles when packing my shoes in a suitcase.

Shouldn’t nice shoes come with shoe bags from the manufacturer?

Some companies include them, some don’t. Plus, sometimes I buy used shoes, and used shoes don’t always come with bags.

Aren’t used shoes gross?

When they are taken care of properly and in good condition, I don’t think so. I would rather have a really nice pair of used shoes than a crummy pair of new shoes for the same money. Full-grain leather shoes with the type of construction that allows for soles to be replaced can be expensive, and shoes don’t grow on trees. Really nice shoes can be found at a fraction of the full retail price at thrift stores and eBay. Do some research, figure out your size, and be ready when a good deal comes along.

shoe bags with shoes inside

If they don’t grow on trees, where do shoes come from?

Many shoes “grow” on cows, and the animal lover in me isn’t quite sure what to think about this. I know, humans have been wearing animal skin for eons, and at certain points in human history, our lives probably depended on using animal skin for protection.

But, we live in a modern world with alternatives and synthetic leather, wouldn’t those be better than using real leather?

Synthetic materials seem (I don’t know for certain) as if they would be bad for the environment to produce (I do recognize that large scale livestock production probably isn’t so good for the environment either). But, synthetic materials don’t break in or wear like nice leather. Leather may crease, but synthetics crack, and peel, and look awful…meh….first world problems…but at least we wouldn’t be killing animals for their skin. Like I said, I’m not sure what to think about this. I guess if we are killing the cows for food, we might as well use the hides for shoes…?

shoe bags closed with shoes inside

Isn’t this a blog about sewing menswear, why so much shoe talk?

Because I like shoes. And if I’m spending all this time making clothes for myself, my shoe game had better be decent. Part of dressing like a grown up is wearing grown up shoes.

Why don’t you make shoes too?

Because my wife won’t let me. The machines are too big and expensive. The learning curve would be huge, and I don’t have time.

If you buy decent quality shoes to begin with and take good care of them, they will last a long time. You will probably save money in the long run. Put them in shoe bags and use shoe trees when you aren’t wearing them. Also, give your shoes a proper cleaning/conditioning when they need it. Nobody likes stinky feet or stinky shoes.

13 Responses to “Shoe Bags + Self Interview”

  1. crab&bee — March 17, 2014 @ 7:20 pm

    You must have read my mind! I’ve been planning to make a couple of these for an upcoming trip. I hadn’t thought about them as a storage option, but I may try that as well. I’m also a used shoe buyer; when I can’t find what I need used, I buy the absolute best I can afford so that they wear / repair well. I agree that it will probably save money over time!

  2. Kelly — March 17, 2014 @ 10:54 pm

    Ah! My mom made a bunch of shoe bags for me back before I started sewing, because I travelled all the time. Now I store them in the bags because I don’t like dirty shoes in my closet πŸ™‚ I don’t buy leather shoes, but it’s definitely an issue I waffle on…I do buy very nice quality vegan shoes from a company called Neuaura (they only make women’s shoes as far as I know). They are not cheap but they last a long time and I feel good about buying them.

  3. Sarah — March 19, 2014 @ 7:38 pm

    I’ve finally come to the point in my life where with a little saving I can afford the sort of good quality, investment shoe that will last forever and only get more comfortable. It’s so exciting! As someone who hates shoe shopping, the idea of doing it once every year or two when I realize a gap in the collection, instead of every few months when the old ones fall apart, is revolutionary. But yes, now I definitely need to research how to take proper care of them!

  4. Sofie M — March 20, 2014 @ 7:10 pm

    In regards to 2nd hand shoes being gross, I read a comment a microbiologist made on a sewing blog a while ago who said that any ‘nasties’ from another person are long gone after a short time (can’t remember the exact time) so there is no concern about getting something from wearing used shoes. I think she also said wipe the inside with cleaning alcohol if you are a bit squeamish. So fear not the used shoes!

  5. Amy — April 4, 2014 @ 12:41 pm

    I never know why I should use those shoe bags! (I forget what I have if they are hidden.) But I still keep them around just in case. I love your self-interview… so funny.

  6. Tammy — April 9, 2014 @ 6:41 pm

    You seem to be making everything in your wardrobe. Have you heard of Thread Theory? They are a small Canadian business who only design sewing patterns for men. Currently, I am sewing a pair of underwear from bamboo jersey for my husband, as this is their newest design. From pea coats, to henleys, to practical shorts, they have classic designs. I stumbled across them on the inter web and have purchased a few patterns. Check them out and see what you think.

  7. Taylor — April 10, 2014 @ 2:28 pm

    Hi Tammy, I have heard of Thread Theory. It is nice to see some nice new men’s patterns available.

  8. Natasha Estrada — April 22, 2014 @ 11:44 pm

    You can make shoes by hand without a lot of equipment. You already have a industrial sewing machine. Some hand tools and a dremel is what I started with.

  9. Cristian — May 7, 2014 @ 12:25 pm

    I hate to go against the wifey poo, but you can use your flatbed industrial to close the uppers for shoes, and the rest is done by hand : p

    The day cows aren’t slaughtered for meat anymore will be the day I accept synthetic shoes.

  10. Ignatius — June 29, 2014 @ 12:12 pm

    I really like this website. My $0.02: All shoes are used after worn at least once and I’ve found some great pairs at thrift stores from Ferragamo to Born, from $50 to $3, all in at least very good condition. This is the kind of recycling I support. For a guy, I have quite a few pairs but I like the variety and it means I’m wearing each pair less on average, so they all last longer. I also take good care of them but not all have shoe bags. New to sewing, this is the perfect beginning project for me. (I also like vintage sewing machines. Kenmore!)

  11. SmileDog Stitches — October 29, 2014 @ 9:27 am

    I know I’m really late to this but I was just on your site purchasing some jean-making supplies. I have read your blog in the past and am oh-so-impressed. I especially like this post b/c I also struggle with the shoe purchasing, especially leather. Since I left my corporate world job at the end of June and started a commercial embroidery business I now strive to only purchase thrifted items or make my own. I hadn’t considered that for shoes until I found the cutest clogs ever for only $2 and I wear them all the time! I had purchased used shoes before though (and I’m kind of a germophobe so this thrifting thing is HUGE for me!) since Sierra Trading Post is headquartered here and they have some great deals on used swag! Somehow STP seemed different than thrifting. πŸ˜‰

  12. Donna — December 27, 2014 @ 3:22 pm

    Your workmanship is awe inspiring. Truly

    About used shoes. I buy them and am able to buy good quality shoes I would not ordinarily be able to afford.

    The next stop is a good cobbler. Not a quick in and out place but a real live shoe place that smells like shoes…in a good way. I take shoes to the cobbler from the thrift store and they come back looking better than new. Shoes should not be disposable and should be kept out of the landfill as long as possible. It feels good to wear good shoes…

  13. Tee — February 25, 2015 @ 8:50 pm

    I love your shoe bags!! I made mine out of satin to pack my shoes when I travel and go to the gym! I’ve even sold a few sets! Love your blog!!

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