Popomomo's DIY Boots
5.25.12

For this month’s DIY, a couple easy steps transform a pair of unwearable boots into your favorite summer footwear.

I had a pair of Frye boots that were great quality but the shape was a little too slouchy to wear outside, style-wise. At the same time, they were some of my most comfortable shoes, so I didn’t want to give them up. Last summer, I cut them down to ankle boots and have been fielding compliments ever since.

So, if you also have a pair of boots you can’t part with, but never wear, follow these four steps for a much better foot forward:

1. Pull out your boots! You will also need a pair of very good scissors. Riding boots or thick motorcycle boots might not work with this, but generally mid to light weight boots will be great.

2.Decide the height of boot you want. A low boot is around 7″ measured from the back heel. An ankle boot is around 3.5″ from the back heel. Beware a boot height that is at the middle of your calf – it’s not very flattering.

If you want an ankle book, make sure you leave enough of the shaft of the boot so that your foot won’t fall out, and cut above the the heel and foot seam. If you are in doubt, cut a longer boot, try it on, cut it lower, repeat.

3. Cut your boot carefully with sharp scissors.

4. If your boot doesn’t have a lining, you are done: enjoy! If your boot does have a lining, you’ll want to add a seam at the top opening to finish the boot. I left mine raw, but sewed the lining flush to the interior of the leather.

You could also turn the lining and leather in, then sew around the opening of the boot, catching the raw edge for a clean seam. If you want a clean seam, leave yourself a 1/2″ extra length when you cut your boots.

If you have an industrial sewing machine, you can do this yourself with a leather needle. If you don’t, or if you are busy/lazy or both, take the boot to your tailor or cobbler.

Mine, as you can see in the picture, have definitely gotten a lot of wear!

Enjoy your new and recycled boots!


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  1. Great idea, Lizz! Going a bit further – I’ve seen this done with the boot shaft cut, then folded down into a cuff. A recycled leather belt was then buckled around the cuff. Very unique look & frugal to boot…pun intended :)

    Cindy | 05.25.2012 | Reply

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