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Shoe Making course – three day course

Duration: 3 days

Price: £270

Run by: Mark Wood
at Trading Places: Traditional Craft Courses

01933 460 985

Rockingham Forest Trust
Stanwick Lakes

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About the Course

The Nene Valley in Northamptonshire is renowned for its long history of making hand-crafted footwear and we are delighted to offer a unique course that helps to maintain the area’s proud heritage.

The course takes beginners though the complete process of making a pair of cemented Chukka Boots by hand. The concept of the course is to learn the first steps of making simple unlined styles of footwear using everyday hand tools and only limited use of specialist equipment.


The first day begins with an introduction to leather and time to choose from a range of bespoke-grade calf skins stocked in several colours. Using pre-fabricated pattern pieces delegates will learn the skills of ‘clicking’ (cutting out the leather pieces by hand) and how to close the uppers together using a simple hand-stitch.


Uppers are softened, pulled over the lasts with special lasting pincers and secured to the underside of the insole with adhesive.


Soling units are constructed and then attached to the boots using specialist contact adhesive. The lasts are then slipped out, a sock added and to finish off, a quick polish before adding a pair of laces.

The course is led by Nick Cooper, a Northamptonshire bespoke shoemaker.

“Well worth coming up from Somerset!!” Suzie C & James L “Exceeded expectations – and I rarely say that so I am truly impressed!” Julie T

This course starts at 9.30am and finishes at approximately 4.30pm. The building will be open from around 9.15am so please arrive ready to start on time. The Craft Centre is the wooden barn with two chimneys, next to the dry stone walls. It is easily visible from the car park. Free exit car parking tickets will be given out at the end of each day.

Note: This course is an introduction to the skills and techniques used to make a pair of handmade shoes and we cannot guarantee that you will make shoes to perfectly fit your own feet. Most people achieve a relatively good fit by selecting their typical shoe size from our range of lasts which are available in whole sizes and a standard width. If your goal is to walk away in a made-to-measure pair of shoes then please get in touch at least 6-months in advance about having bespoke lasts and patterns made for your feet ready for when you start the course.

LASTS are available in sizes:-

Ladies – 3-10, standard width

Men’s – 6-13, standard width

Please visit the Trading Places website to check availability and to book your place.

If booking with a CraftCourses voucher for part or all of the course fee, please fill in the contact form above or telephone us. Your voucher code must be provided at the point of booking.

What's included in the price?

Tools, materials and safety equipment are provided for all courses. Participants are simply asked to bring their own supply of enthusiasm and a packed lunch! (we provide tea and coffee during the courses)

For anyone who is travelling some distance and would like to look at local accommodation, please see our website for a list (under the Directions tab). Please note that these businesses are local to the site but are not linked to Trading Places in anyway.

Want to review this course?

I enjoyed everything about his course; Nick is a thorough and patient teacher (and lovely guy), the group was friendly and I am delighted with my new shoes! The location of the workshop right next to Stanwick Lakes makes for a peaceful setting. I had always wanted to learn about shoe making and would recommend this course highly - thank you Nick and Mark!

- - #8814

I thoroughly enjoyed my 3 days shoe making (mine are one of the pairs in the picture). Nick is a good teacher and knows about the sharp end of the business too and was very generous in passing on his knowledge. Expect long busy days; it's an ambitious course but set in the tranquil surroundings of Stanwick Lakes it made for a unique experience.

- - #5358

Good course content and instructor was well informed. However if I was going to give you some criticism - there wasn't enough tools / glue containers and heat guns for each person which.
Thank you for the course.
PS: Do you provide Certificates for the course as I would like one for my business and future plans.

- - #5350

This was a thoroughly enjoyable course, the time flew by and I learnt so much from Nick Cooper whose teaching was excellent. Well worth coming up from Somerset. I would like to do more shoemaking if a 'next stage' course was available.

- - #5345

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Course Start Dates

Friday 26th April 2019
Wednesday 16th October 2019
  • Suitable for beginners

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