12 September 2018

Barefoot shoes workshop

I have just been on a workshop making a wonderful duffel bag from leather in the woods in Wiltshire, with Joe my regular bushcraft teacher. In the past I have also made some great moccasins and shoes with natural materials on his courses, and later at home. Joe is half way through making a few great pairs of stealth shoes, in the barefoot style, so that the feet are protected but not at all constricted. He is planning a workshop making these next spring, over two days. Myself, Jon and a couple of pals are already up for this, so I am inviting you too. Lots of us wear shop-bought 'barefoot' style shoes for T'ai Chi, and they are a great improvement for me over traditional cotton shoes as my feet are free to wriggle and move, standing on one leg postures feel much more settled and stable. I plan to design and make a nice pair of leather shoes for T'ai Chi, possibly based on my 'Tudor' shaped buckskin shoes. Anyway, here are a few pictures to tempt you along. There would be one night camping in the woods, a wonderful atmosphere around the fire, beautiful trees all around, and plentiful tea. As soon as I know prices and dates I will post them here, but do let me know if you are interested. The principles are simple, the shoes will be made to fit your feet perfectly, and walking silently through the woods in these, or indeed doing the Form, really feels like you have magic feet.
This year's course is here.

Beginning the duffel bag.

Some of the awls and needles we used.

The finished bag, ready to be waterproofed for the Hunter Gatherer Challenge, using a creme I made with beeswax and almond oil.

I had time to add a leather strap to my rawhide sketchbook satchel.

Joe's new mocs.

Joe's camouflage feet! These are made from very soft leather and have a thicker leather insert in the sole, making them more comfortable and still flexible. I expect my T'ai Chi shoe experiment to be a bit like this, though possible not in camo print leather...

I have worn both of these at class, warmer boot style shoes with a needle felted wool insert, and the Tudor style slippers which are very lightweight.

The classroom.

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