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Turtle Island leather moccasins
Custom fitted leather moccasins, boots, sandals, bags, art & beadwork
Do-It-Yourself Footwear Fitting Instructions


Here, we present detailed illustrated instructions for a Do-It-Yourself footwear fitting.

It is NECESSARY to get another person to perform the fitting so that you (the fittee) can stand straight in a natural postion with your feet flat on the floor (or a platform - which makes it easier for the person performing the fitting steps).

The first 5 steps will create a pair of tracings (one for each foot), which will show the outline of the foot. These steps should be performed with the feet bare. At step 5, the right foot tracing should be filled in with the following information (this makes sure it stays associated with the tracings and doesn't get lost):

  • Name
  • Address (with zip-code)
  • Phone number
  • e-mail address
  • Type of leather desired
  • Color of body of footwear & color of trim
  • Sole type desired
  • Button type desired
Refer to Ordering page for available leathers, colors, sole types & buttons.

For the remaining steps, the fittee should wear a pair of clean (preferably new) white socks, as tall as the footwear to be ordered, that will be wrapped, cut and sent to Turtle Island as a pattern for their ordered footwear.

The pictures on this page were taken of a fitting using silver duct tape in order to show a contrast between the tape and the white sock. However, using white duct tape will show the tracing lines much clearer, leading to better custom-crafted footwear.

When taping, tear the tape ends into narrower strips (for some steps tear individual narrower strips) so that the tape will lay flat on the foot. It should not be tight, but conform to the foot. Overlap each section of tape so the tape is double-thick over the entire fitting.

1. The tracings should appear 1/8th inch larger than the feet.
2. Hold the pen vertical while tracing.
3. It is important to go into the arch area.
4. We need to see where the heel will ride in the shoes.

5. Please include the information detailed above.
6. Start the taping in the middle of the arch under the foot.
7. Tear the tape ends so that they will lay flat on the foot.
8. Overlap the next section toward the front of the foot.

9. Use a piece long enough to wrap to the top from each side.
10. Make sure it overlaps half the tape width.
11. Again, make sure it conforms to the foot.
12. Continue with another section toward front.

13. Not too tight, but conforming to the foot.
14. At the ball and pinkie area you will ...
15. ... have to do more tearing of the tape ...
16. ... so it conforms better to the foot.

17. Continue ...
18. ... wrapping ...
19. ... the ball & ...
20. small toe area.

21. Each section in this area will need ...
22. ... to have the tape ends ...
23. ... torn and wrapped up ...
24. ... toward the top of the foot.

25. When you reach the middle & big toe area ...
26. ... use smaller lengths of tape with the ends torn ...
27. ... wrapping from the middle of the sole, over the toes ...
28. ... up to the top of the foot.

29. At the big toe you will have to rip ...
30. ... the tape in 3rds to get it to lay flat.
31. Check to see if there is any sock showing. If so, add more tape ...
32. ... you can't use too much, as long ...

33. ... as the wrapping is not too tight.
34. Keep adding tape until ...
35. ... the toes are thoroughly encased.
36. After the toes are encased you will lay ...

37. ... 2 pieces of tape over the length of the toes and instep.
38. This is to stop tape stretchage during patterning.
39. Then tape over the instep (top of foot, to bottom of ankle).
40. To finish the instep you will have to tear the tape in half.

41. Do this twice to be sure there is no sock showing.
42. Now you can start working your way up the front of the leg.
43. Each tape section should wrap more than half way around the leg.
44. Tape to desired height of the boot (i.e., for knee highs go above the calf).

45. You will then start the heel of the fitting in the arch area.
46. Again, overlapping by half width of tape, toward the heel ...
47. ... and forming it to the foot.
48. Continue wrapping with overlapping ...

49. ... sections, back toward the heel.
50. When you reach the back of the heel, start in the center ...
51. ... & again, using smaller lengths of tape with the ends torn ...
52. ... wrap from the middle of the heel bottom ...

53. ... over the heel, crisscrossing tape ends as necessary.
54. Alternate from right of heel ...
55. ... wrapping, with torn ends ...
56. ... as before ...

57. ... to left of heel ...
58. ... back & forth ...
59. ... until entire heel is encased.
60. Then add a horizontal piece ...

61. ... keeping it close to the fitting surface ...
62. ... covering any showing sock.
63. Add another section above, overlapping again.
64. ... entirely encasing the heel again.

65. Continue working up the back of the leg, wrapping ...
66. ... each section more than half way around the leg, to top of boot.
67. You will then mark the Achilles tendon and the center of the back of the leg.
68. Starting at the heel, draw a line around the foot, keeping the wedge of the ...

69. ... marker parallel to the fitting surface, creating a 1/4in. thick line defining bottom of foot.
70. Push the marker into the arch area, keeping it close to fitting surface.
71. Then mark the area between the big toe and the second digit.
72. Mark outer perimeter of ankle bones with circles & draw ...

73. ... line up the leg for the seam, doing the same for side where boots will close.
74. Then starting at top, cut the fitting down the outer seam ...
75. ... to the foot line, to be able to take the fitting off.
76. Send the completed tracings & foot wrappings to Turtle Island with your 50% deposit.