Shoe Making Classes

I teach two styles of shoe making. The main difference between the two styles is the kind of rubber sole used on each shoe. The upper for both shoes can be made in many styles such as the traditional flap and button closure, a more modern lace up shoe, or a no-flap slipper.  Both styles use rugged 9 oz. Bison leather for the uppers with four colors to choose from. Both classes take four full days and require moderate hand strength.   Locations and prices vary but most classes take place at my home workshop in Barnardsvillle, NC just north of Asheville.

10th Century Scandinavian Turnshoe with Recycled Rubber Soles

The Scandinavian Turn Shoe is a 10th century style shoe with a thin leather sole similar to a moccassin. I often refer to this style as my “hiking slippers” due to their excellent ability to allow me to feel the ground beneath my feet and their great traction on rocks.  They are my most comfortable shoes.

This shoe style is made inside out and then turned right-side-out so that the stitching ends up on the inside.  The upper can be made in many styles such as the traditional flap and button,  a more modern lace up style, or a no-flap slipper. The sole is a mixture of recycled rubber powder and rubber cement which is pasted on the shoe in whatever thickness you desire.  This allows you to indefinitely add more rubber as the old rubber wears away. The upper is made of rugged Bison leather and if taken care of can last a lifetime.

The class is four 8 hour days with sewing home work on the 3rd day.

Only hand tools are used in the making of this style of shoe.

Upcoming Dates:
March 8–11
June 26–29
July 17-20
July 29–August 3
September 13-16
October 4-7

Internal Stitchdown Shoes with Vibram Soles

The internal stitch down is a more modern style of shoe that uses the same one piece upper and flap construction as in my Turn Shoe class but attaches to a commercial Vibram brand sole. This sole style gives you about a 3/4″ buffer between your foot and the ground which can be helpful in the winter months when the ground is colder.  Sole styles can be chosen for traction on terrain, cushioning on cement, or even straight leather for use on the dance floor. The upper is made from rugged Bison leather and could last a lifetime if properly cared for. 4 leather colors to choose from.

The class is four 9 hour days with sewing home work on the 3rd day.

This class uses some power tools.

Upcoming Dates:
April 5-8
May 10-13
August 14-17

Leather Colors

Redwood

Tobacco

Chocolate

Black

Upper leather is commercial chrome tanned 9oz. American Bison from the Hide House in California.

Shoe Photos

Click on image to start lightbox slideshow.

Student Photos

Upcoming Classes

March 8–11, 2018

Scandinavian Turn Shoe Making Class

Location: In my home workshop in Barnardsville, NC
Cost:
$350-$425 Sliding Scale
Secure your space by either paying the full tuition or placing a $200 deposit through PayPal. Please make a note of which class you are signing up for when you make the deposit. Questions? Email me at michael.ismerio@gmail.com

April 5–8

Internal Stitch Down Shoe Making Class

Location: In my home workshop in Barnardsville, NC
Cost:
$400-$475 Sliding Scale
Secure your space by either paying the full tuition or placing a $200 deposit through PayPal. Please make a note of which class you are signing up for when you make the deposit. Questions? Email me at michael.ismerio@gmail.com

May 10–13, 2018

Internal Stitch Down Shoe Making Class

Location: In my home workshop in Barnardsville, NC
Cost:
$400-$475 Sliding Scale
Secure your space by either paying the full tuition or placing a $200 deposit through PayPal. Please make a note of which class you are signing up for when you make the deposit. Questions? Email me at michael.ismerio@gmail.com

June 26–29, 2018

Scandinavian Turn Shoe Making Class

Location: In my home workshop in Barnardsville, NC
Cost:
$350-$425 Sliding Scale
Secure your space by either paying the full tuition or placing a $200 deposit through Paypal. Please make a note of which class you are signing up for when you make the deposit. Questions? Email me at michael.ismerio@gmail.com

July 17–20, 2018

Scandinavian Turn Shoe Making Class

Location: The Foxfire Museum, Mountain City, GA
Cost:
To be announced
Registration information coming soon.

July 29–August 3, 2018

Scandinavian Turn Shoe Making Class

Location: John C. Campbell Folk School, Brasstown, NC
Questions? Email me at michael.ismerio@gmail.com
Visit the Folk School website for more information.

Aug. 14-17, 2018

Internal Stitch Down Shoe Making Class

Location: In my home workshop in Barnardsville, NC
Cost:
$400-$475 Sliding Scale
Secure your space by either paying the full tuition or placing a $200 deposit through PayPal. Please make a note of which class you are signing up for when you make the deposit. Questions? Email me at michael.ismerio@gmail.com

Sept. 13-16, 2018

Scandinavian Turn Shoe Making Class

Location: In my home workshop in Barnardsville, NC
Cost:
$350-$425 Sliding Scale
Secure your space by either paying the full tuition or placing a $200 deposit through PayPal. Please make a note of which class you are signing up for when you make the deposit. Questions? Email me at michael.ismerio@gmail.com

Oct. 4-7, 2018

Scandinavian Turn Shoe Making Class

Location: Nature Connect NC, Wilmington, NC
Cost: to be announced
Registration coming soon

Private Classes

I am available to teach private classes for your group designed around your schedule.

Work Trade

For classes at my home workshop I offer work trade options at my homestead in Barnardsville, NC. The work trade I offer is all manner of homesteading work: building, landscaping, trail building, carpentry, farming, mulching, hauling, brush clearing

For the 32 hour Turn Shoe class I request 18 hours of work trade plus $80 materials fee.  For the 36 hour Internal Stitchdown class I request 20 hours of work trade plus an $80 materials fee.   Work trade hours must be completed before the class begins.

Barter

I am always open to Bartering.  Things I need help in are:

  • Carpentry
  • Electrical work
  • Marketing

Contact me for more info at michael.ismerio@gmail.com

Hosting a Class

If you live within a six hour drive of Asheville, NC and you can organize 6-8 people to take my shoe class then I might be willing to come to you.  Let’s talk.

One on One Classes

If you are the kind of person that does not learn well in a group setting we can design a one on one class to meet your needs.

Internships

Are you interested in diving deeper into shoe making than one class allows? Let’s have a conversation about what an internship can look like.

Mailing List

Custom Shoes

Despite my current focus on shoe classes I do occasionally find time to make custom shoes for customers.  Prices start at $450 and require two visits to my workshop.  The first is to make a custom casting of your feet.  The second is for a final fitting to make sure the shoes fit nicely. Shoes are made as I am able.  If you are interested get in touch.

My story

In my teens in small town California I dreamed of having custom shoes but at the time if felt far fetched and unattainable.

In 2007 I met a shoemaker named Jason Hovatter in Portland, Oregon who was not only making shoes but teaching shoe making classes as well.  I instantly knew I would go on to teach this skill to others.  I showed up to that first class taking incredibly detailed notes in order to replicate the process.  In a relatively short time I was off and running.

I now have my own shoe making workshop near Asheville, NC where I teach roughly one shoe class a month.

Over the years shoe making has become about more than just sewing leather together.  It’s become a process of connecting with the thousands of years of humanity who had to make their own footwear out of necessity.  It’s allowed me to be a link in a chain of lineage.

Local Accomodations

There are various options for places to stay in the area, one of which is truly magical and affordable. It is called the Mountain Lights Sanctuary and offers everything from camping to tree houses to normal rooms in a stunning location that borders the Pisgah National Forest and is just 5 miles down the road from my workshop. Definitely take a peak at their website!

Another option is Airbnb. There are numerous offerings near Barnardsville for as little as $50 a night. Click here for more info.  The black pin on the map is my workshop location. 310 Dillingham Road, Barnardsville, NC 28709

Bliss Farm Retreats is a local Bed and Breakfast

Graystone Cabins has secluded cabins for rent 3 miles away.

And the nearest motel is The Comfort Inn in Mars Hill 12 miles away.

The nearest grocery store is Ingles Market which is also 12 miles away in Mars Hill.