Shoemaking has virtually disappeared in the US. Only a few companies still manufacture shoes here. We want to promote self-sufficiency and empowerment- and there are few things more empowering than making your own footwear! We’ve designed a comprehensive course for you with a tools and materials list and a video of the whole process. We’ve included a written manual, time-stamped to the video, so you can follow along and keep track of where you are in the process. We hope you’ll enjoy this and add shoemaking to your skills list! (There’s even a way you can get help with a live Zoom if you’re stuck or have questions) Join us in making a pair of leather desert boots by hand in your own home.

Course curriculum

  1. 1
    • Introduction and Manual

    • Sizing and Material Selections

  2. 2
    • Making A Desert Boot

  3. 3
    • Get live guidance from the Instructor

  4. 4
    • Show Us Your Work!

  5. 5
    • Let's Keep Going!


Sara McIntosh

Founder, Master Cobbler

I began making shoes in the early ’70s as an exercise in sustainability and part of the “back to the land” movement. I soon found myself making shoes for family and friends and quickly established myself as a shoemaker in my community of Bloomington, Indiana. From 1981 - 2007, I lived and plied my craft in various locations in the Midwest and Southwest; settling in Santa Fe, which I found to be the perfect environment for my custom shoemaking business, for 8 years. I moved to Chicago in June 2007 and count this as another adventure in the life of a cobbler: adapting to a big city environment and finding a customer base here. I started The Chicago School of Shoemaking and Leather Arts in 2011, and am having a great time teaching shoemaking and leather working to a variety of people from all over the United States and beyond.