First Design Ever

It was since 2014, AupairToes had this dream of shoemaking, but only flats. Growing up in busy city life that requires a lot of walking, transitioning from point to point during the day, she wears the most one type of shoes, the flat, and became obsessed with it.

What is a good pair of flat? What is the best price point for an affordable pair? Only professionals wear those? What colors, patterns, designs we love the most?… All different questions come to AupairToes’ mind along the years. She gradually figured out that she is really passionate about environmental friendly, decently durable and elegant style. She would like her products to suit a humble but bold character like any beautifully created woman or man. What if one day she creates her own line of flat shoes.

After trying a wide range of options along the years, she finally refined her taste to a closed front style which she would like to call as ShyToe style. This style applies to any working enviroment or weather situations. It must be comfortable to wear, elegant to look at and hand-made in all leathers.

She decided from the beginning that she would like to focus on a balance between eco-friendly manufacturing and wonderful design. If there is any conflict in between, eco-friendly to our planet is always the priority. She got an opportunity to experience shoemaking hands-on the first time in July 2019. It was with The Art of Shoemaking in Austin, TX. She had so much fun learning step by step handmade shoemaking with Selena, a 20-year veteran in shoe design behind famous names including Steven Madden, Calvin Klein, Katy Perry, etc.

Following a simple guideline below, AupairToes mixed pig, goat and cow skins in her first pair of sandals during Texas summer heat. Praise the cold front not long ago that generated smooth breezes when she had to glue quite a lot outdoor. She spent three hours well sharing dreams with Selena and getting to understand all the details of shoemaking.

  1. Choose a pattern
  2. Choose your material (white strips are cow skins, gold pink are goat skins, insoles and outsoles are cow skins, inner layers of strips are pork skins)
  3. Cut the materials part 1 (strips: 40cm x 4cm, 30cm x 4cm and inner layers: 5cm narrower than the strips)
  4. Glue inner layers to strips
  5. Fitting the feet to mark for punching holes at insoles
  6. Punching, a lot fun
  7. Put strips through and glue to insoles, cutting extra materials
  8. Fitting again to finalize
  9. Glue insole an outsole together
  10. Sanding
  11. Packaging

Tools used:

  1. Designed patten examples
  2. Metallic silver pen
  3. Scissors
  4. Green cutting mat
  5. Stainless ruler
  6. Industrial glue
  7. Narrow (3mm width probably) white crack cover tape (one side sticky and the other side like thread)
  8. Pencil
  9. Black slot punch like this one:
  10. Industrial automatic sanding machine

She hope to share soon about more shoemaking experience and material searching for our eco-friendly and zero waste materials. She’d like to regard companies like Pela ( as a benchmark for manufacturing process and materials.