I'm currently sewing my first pair of shoes. They are made of fabric only (no leather, cork or other materials) and a commercial foam insole for comfort. I have covered the insole with matching lining and sewn the uppers to the insole. At this stage the shoes are already wearable, but they lack a waterproof outer sole to make them ready for outdoor wear. My initial plan is to sew the outer sole on with heavy waxed thread, but I might add contact cement if the stitching alone is not enough.
For the outer soles I bought this sheet of 2mm thick material. I experimented with a few scrap pieces and found that you can permanently bend and mold the material if you soak it in hot water and let it cool in the desired shape.
The material is currently completely flat. Joining the uppers to it would result in a shoe that looks like this:
Please note that this is just an example of how the shape of the shoes looks like. What is a cork sole in this image would be a rubber sole in my shoes and there would be an additional insole. I don't like this style and would like my shoes to look more like a modern ballet flat:
The edges of the sole are slightly bent up to give the shoe rounded edges and a more natural foot-like shape.
I took the pattern directly from my feet (wrapping them in cling foil and then painters tape), so I don't have a wooden last or any substitute. I have to somehow mold the hot sole directly on my foot. The material cools within a minute or so, so I have very limited time to get the shape right. I have no idea how to bend the edges upwards all around the shoe (at least the front 2/3) all at once before the material cools down too much. Does anyone have experience or a good idea how to achieve this?