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How to make shoes and skyrocket your sales

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How to make shoes and skyrocket your sales

It’s hard to imagine a time before the invention of shoes. And in the past, it was almost impossible to think that one day we could be talking about how to make shoes. Shoes have become such an integral part of our everyday ritual. An item we unconsciously slip-on every day and is almost a faux pas to not wear them. But did you know that this, now very basic necessity, is one of the most vibrant industries in the world?

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Custom shoes from the Printify catalog

Shoes started as a practical item designed to meet crucial needs in everyday tasks, but they have grown into a varied booming industry just as involved in art and expression, as they are in functionality. Though there are still many similarities among shoes, i.e. in colors, materials, and designs, they have changed drastically over the years. 

Today, they not only remain a basic need in our lives but have become an outward expression of our personalities. And now we have customizable shoes that make it even easier to personalize. But how did shoes come to be what they are today? More on the fascinating history of footwear later. First, let’s explore the topic at hand: How to make shoes from scratch.

Before you learn how to make shoes, here are some stats:

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Following the clothing & apparel industry, footwear is the second most important fashion segment within the retail business. The Footwear industry incorporates all kinds of shoes, including customizable shoes, produced for private use by end customers. Sneakers and boots remain the major footwear segment making the key industry players sneaker brands such as Nike, Adidas, Puma and boot brands such as Ecco and Clarks.

50% of the footwear market is dominated by young adults between the ages of 18 – 35 years old, with men leading as majority spenders at 54%. 

By the end of 2019, and with customers being able to make shoes becoming a trend, the worldwide Footwear market realized total revenue of US$410 billion. With a growth rate projection of 4.9% between 2020 to 2024. Revenue in Footwear amounts to US$113,636m and with the expected growth rate, resulting in a market volume of US$132,328m by 2024.

China remains at the lead of most revenue generated US$53,819m with the average revenue per user currently amounting to US$50.42.

All segments within the Footwear market are growing by more than 10% by 2023. However, the Athletic Footwear segment shows the highest growth potential and is expected to increase by 46%, reaching US$89 billion in 2023. 

Source: Statista.com

You too can get a shoe in the footwear industry

Footwear has continued to take different trends and shapes in stride. Taking a more personal approach as opposed to the traditional functional one. Today’s consumers expect a customizable experience from the shoe brands they buy from. Something that fits with their busy lifestyles as well as their personalities and preferences. 

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Source: Adidas

The major industry players relying on big data technology along with machine learning to collect and analyze customer preferences in order to personalize products and services. This, however, can take a long time and in the 21st century, a long time is too long. With traditional brands being more rigid in their ways, some have taken matters into their own hands and know how to make shoes. 

Print on demand has catered to these needs in a never before seen kind of way, making it easier to make shoes from the comfort of your own home. Today, we’ll explore how to make shoes from scratch. But first, let us tell you a little about the history of shoes.

The fascinating history of shoes

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How did shoes come to be such an important part of our outerwear? Within the archeological studies of the world, we learn that shoes were invented in the Middle Paleolithic period about 40,000 years ago. However, it wasn’t until the Upper Paleolithic period that they were consistently worn by the majority population. The earliest shoe prototypes were made from soft wraparound leather that looked very similar to today’s sandals or moccasins.

Fun Fact: Heeled shoes were commonly worn by both men and women for ceremonial purposes. However, high heels also served a practical purpose for Egyptian butchers who wore them to walk over carcasses.

It wasn’t until a few thousand years later that the modern footwear designs began. In the early Baroque period in Europe, men and women’s shoes looked very similar with the main differences being between the materials used and how they were fashioned, especially among social classes. For instance, most “common folk” wore heavy black leather heels white the much-appeased aristocrats wore shoes crafted out of wood. I know, who woulda thought?


The materials used for shoes is not the only thing that has evolved. Up until 1850, the dominating shoe shape was straight, which meant you couldn’t differentiate the left from the right shoe. However, as the 20th century approached, the need for more comfortable shoes pushed shoemakers to change their designs as they adopted a more foot-specific shoe design and thus today’s basic shoe template was born. If the history of shoes fascinates you, here’s a cool article on shoe trends in the 60’s you might enjoy.

In the early 1800s, men and women’s shoe styles began to differ drastically from one style to another. Today, with the addition of a multitude of color options, high and kitten heels, and various toe cap shapes, it is unimaginable that there was a time when everything was the same. 

How to make shoes with Printify

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Print on demand has not only made it easy for you to make shoes from scratch, but it has also simplified the process through platforms like Printify. Below is an array of all the shoes we’ve pre-sourced, that we feel would meet all your customizing needs.

Make your own high top sneakers

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These extremely comfortable high-top canvas sneakers with a high-quality print are made to last and to impress. They are a truly original way to express yourself and inspire new fashion trends on the go. They are available in sizes 6 – 12 and features a durable rubber outsole with a black interior.

Make your own low top sneakers

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Your customers can now walk with confidence in a pair of these unique sneakers. Just like the high tops, these are also made to be extremely comfortable and high-quality print that lasts and is sure to leave an impression. They are available in sizes 6 – 14 and features a durable rubber outsole with a black interior. How to make shoes such as sneakers? Start here.

Make your own flip flops

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After long cold months of boot wearing, your customers can finally let their feet breathe with these cool unisex flip flops. Available in multiple sizes, for a high-quality print, these Flip Flops are a must-have on the beach, around the house or on especially hot summer days.

Make your own high heel pumps

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For that classic look that is both timeless and adorable, these medium-height heeled pumps offer a comfortable walking experience for your customers. They are made of a customizable canvas with a heel cover to reflect a unique personality and style. The heel measures 3inches/7.62cm.

Make your own platform heels

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Perfect for the office, the street or special events, these platform heels offer a simple yet elegant style with a faux pigskin microfiber lining. The fit is soft and comfortable while the heel measures 4inches/10cm.

Make your own canvas boots

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For that eclectic look and fashionable look, we have these classic style combat boots with a gum/plastic sole, They are made to retain an excellent quality print through the ruff and tuff. They come with a rear pull-loop for easier wearing and are available in  6.5-11 US sizes. Nothing boosts one’s confidence like a head-turning canvas boot. 

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The 5 major trends on how to make shoes

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Making shoes has become a big streetwear trend. So big that global brands like Nike now have a customizing tool on their website to allow their customers to make their own shoes. Casual streetwear has also pushed the trend further and now involves customizing your own sneakers by hand. The custom shoes we have have a classic look that gives them the coolest casual meets streetwear vibe. You can switch it up with flower power, minimalist patterns, cool graffiti and more. Here are five trends to get you started with making your own shoes.

How to make your own shoes for Streetwear?

When asked to define what he considered streetwear, a prominent streetwear designer replies, “I guess anything would be considered streetwear if it dwells outside the traditional fashion system… but I still don’t really know what exactly ‘that system’ is.” The argument of what is streetwear or not continues to plague this major fashion playhouse. Worth about $80Billion in the US alone, no one can deny the fact that it remains one of the leading aspects of fashion.  Many agree that Streetwear defines, defies and denies the everyday “fashion system” while maintaining a sense of individuality, non-conformism, and presence.

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With dominance in sneakers and major brand players making bank, it may be an intimidating market to consider getting into, but that is the beauty of Streetwear, everyone is welcome. Which means there are no barriers to how to make shoes. Start by designing a great shoe, selecting the right materials, and finding the right marketing strategy, to make a successful shoe business. It may take a little bit of luck and the right co-sign to give you an edge but hard work and a passion for sneakers are all you need.

How to make your own shoes for Minimalistic style?

Although it is not a new concept, the minimalist lifestyle is trending across the United States. The movement has inspired people to move into tiny homes, cut their wardrobes and donate their possessions.  Millennials, in the 18-34 age demographic, who make up more than a quarter of the U.S. population, are seeking out this minimalist lifestyle. Millennials have a unique set of values around how they choose to spend their money. But this trend didn’t just stay as a lifestyle trend, it also became a fashion trend for many.

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Ranging from minimalist art, minimalist decor to minimalist fashion, this trend has streamlined into its own legitimate style. Minimalist fashion is defined by a few major principles. Characterized by streamlined shapes, a small selection of muted colors and generous use of negative space, minimalist fashion’s simplicity is the key to pinpointing this style. Start making your own minimalist shoes today.

How to make your own shoes for Maximalism and Graffiti?

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With all the emphasis on minimalism over the last several years, we knew it had to roll over for the next big thing. Enter: Maximalism. The maximalist style is a reaction to the minimalist movement and has aspects and elements that are practically the polar opposite to minimalist components. White walls, minimally decorated walls, and quiet color palettes are a no-go for maximalism.

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Maximalism is a loud style composed of mixed patterns, excessive, but curated collections, and saturated colors. Its strongly opposed counterpart minimalism encourages paring everything down to its bare minimum, but maximalism encourages utilizing your space in the boldest way possible. Unlike minimalism, which is rigidly defined by its principles, maximalism is more about featuring a myriad of colors, shapes, tones, and textures to create an over-the-top design.

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A great representation of maximalism is in Graffiti where different styles, elements, and designs are thrown together to create an eclectic piece. Presenting you with the perfect idea to make your own maximalist shoes. You can choose to go with the basics of graffiti such as tags and throw-ups are for the more complex representations that surpass the lettering and include figurative and abstract compositions. Whichever way you choose to take, maximalism is here for you.

How to make shoes with cartoons?

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Just like your clothes, there’s nothing like having a pair of fresh, unique sneakers that ultimately express your interest. Making your own shoes can become an instant key to unlocking your social circle to groups of like-minded people. The comic culture allows you to make own shoes full of originality and self-expression and make these shoes more accessible to your customers. It also enables independent artists to sell their one-of-a-kind sneaker designs to those who want a highly unique shoe.


Perhaps one of the latest trends to emerge in the custom shoe is the custom cartoon shoe trend where individuals make their own shoes by drawing shadows and lines that create a cartoon effect on the shoes. Some include additional details that play on existing elements of the shoe while others completely juxtapose on them to create a completely different feel.

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Cartooning your own shoe may look easy but it takes a particularly creative mind, that unfortunately not all of us have, to get the look just right. That is why many customers go online to find their best bet. This is where a unique business opportunity presents itself for these gifted individuals. There are currently just about 50 stores on Etsy that offer these services and you can too.

How to make shoes for Pop Art?

Known for its use of pop-culture imagery and bold color combinations, Pop Art began in the mid-1950s and gained prominence during the ’60s. The American movement’s effort to acknowledge consumer culture was spearheaded by artists like Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein.

Today, that aesthetic is trending and for sale, even to wear on your feet. The latest shoe trend would make Andy Warhol proud.

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While designers like Dolce & Gabbana make use of rainbow palettes and mixed materials for their collections, the leading trend has been hijacked by the ladies. Pumps and platforms lead the way with a vintage poster-print high-top, reminiscent of the pop art culture such as Warhol’s Campbell’s soup cans. Featuring messages of empowerment or simply to a gung-ho attitude, it’s safe to say the women have this handled.

How to make shoes and sell them in 3 easy steps

The rules of starting a successful online business remain the same regardless of product. While some additional aspects may be included, there are three fundamentals one should follow. Establishing your niche, brand, target audience and a print on demand partner are essential steps to beginning your journey but there a quick dive into the fundamentals: 

1. Find your niche

A niche is a unique following or audience that gives you the edge that is required to create a demand for your shoes. Since shoes are an extension of personality, thorough market research can help you identify your passionate and engaged niche and make it easier for you to understand what needs they have and how you can make them work for your brand. By understanding your audience, you will also understand what makes a great product for them and how to market it.

2. Find customizable shoes

The good news for you is the search begins and ends here because you’ve got Printify. Our platform not only has a great, easy to use free mockup generator, we also have custom shoes ready for you to add your flair and sell. Ranging from combat boots, to flip flop, there is really no season you cannot make your own shoes and sell.

3. Make your own shoes

We already tackled which shoes and trends to follow and how to make shoes from scratch. So you should feel confident to start getting into a passionate venture that you enjoy and is lucrative. Making your own shoes does not require you to be a graphic designer or photography guru, all you need is your passion and creativity. If you don’t have any design skills, there’s a wide variety of websites that connect you with talented artists and graphic designers.

How to make shoes with our mockup generator

Now that you know how to make shoes following different trends and finding the right niche, it’s time to equip you with the right tools to help you set up. Let’s start by showing you how to make shoes from scratch using the free Printify Mockup Generator.

Pick the shoe you would like to make and ensure that your designs fit the requirements for a high-quality print – pay attention to the size indicated at the bottom right of the user panel for the best pixel size for printing. Once you apply your design, check out the preview to see if it looks exactly how you want it.

It’s important to note that to maintain high print quality, we also check the quality of your product design and we will let you know if it does not meet the printing standards.

After previewing your shoe designs by switching to “Preview Mode” and viewing your personalized shoes from different angles, get high-quality product images for your store.

After you make a sale, your custom shoes will be produced and shipped directly to your customers. So you don’t need to worry about pre-stocking your shoes or storage, you get to design more shoes freely with peace of mind.

Where to sell your custom shoes

You’ve found your niche, you’ve learned how to make shoes and you’ve made them, now all that remains is for you to find an outlet to sell them.  The first step is to choose your preferred eCommerce platform. As mentioned before, many artists choose Etsy because it is a great online marketplace for print on demand. With Etsy, you also get marketing tools that help gain quick exposure. 

Another great eCommerce platform to try is Shopify. This is the largest online e-commerce platform in the world. It is usually preferred by creatives who would like to own their sites and have a bit more creative leeway on how to brand their storefront. Using Shopify allows you to have your own domain name as well as access to advanced sales metrics and analysis.

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If you would like a fully custom-looking site with a little more help from renowned designers, Wix is the platform for you. With over 500 designer-made templates, Wix gives you a variety of options when it comes to designing your store. You can also use the inbuilt site editor to make sure your template-made site looks as uniquely yours as possible

What if you already have a website and don’t want to transition any other platform? Well, fret not as we also have Woocommerce, the free online shop plugin for WordPress. Woocommerce allows you to host your own WordPress site, not tethered to any other platform owners. If however, you are more technical and would prefer a completely independent web host but still want to use Printify, then the Printify API is a great option.

Why choose Printify?

If a free mockup generator and cool customizable shoes are not enough to sway you, then consider this: over 300,000 online entrepreneurs choose Printify for their print on demand needs. Not only do we connect you to our network of 15 print providers with 90+ printing factories, but we also have a catalog with over 200 items ready for you to customize.

We then drop ship your personalized products directly to your customers, relieving you of the hustle to find capital, warehouse storage or delivery channel. We also provide a direct channel to popular online store platforms such as Shopify, Etsy, eBay, Wix and more by integrating with them to provide ease of use across these platforms. 

Why go Print on Demand?

With Print on demand, you save time and money. That’s because there’s no need for a huge investment, no need for storage space or inventory. Furthermore, you pay only after you sell, you never go out of stock and you never end up with unsold products.

With Printify’s technology, you get to enjoy a smooth creative process and get stunning product images for your store. Print on Demand automates your fulfillment and shipping processes which means that you have a lot more time to build your brand and focus on growth.

Now that you know how to make shoes from scratch, print on demand is the only way to go from here.

Everything you need to know how to make shoes? Start selling them today!

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