Saturday, August 27, 2011

Shoes for a "Little Foot"

So both my wife and I are climbers, this is something that we enjoy very much and it is even how we meet.  Now that we have had children, we don't plan to stop climbing, we plan to share our passion for the outdoors with our children. If you have ever seen our kids you know they small, extra small, most commercially produced gear wont fit our kids.

 The above shoes were what we chose to be the first pair of shoes that our daughter would use for her climbing adventures.  They were a pair of leather shoes that we had already had.  Izzy had worn them a couple of times, and had climbed with just the plain soles a few times in the basement.  We wanted to make sure that we had a good fit prior to enhancing them.
Baby shoes from Target

Above photo is the project shoes along with a larger size then we were thinking about doing at the same time. The box in the back ground is Five Ten's "Stealth Paint", at the time it had just come onto the market.  We planned to add stealth rubber to the shoes, making a pair of climbing shoes that would fit our daughters little feet.

Stealth Paint

The shoes had been worn a little already by Izzy.  I  cleaned
the dirt and dust of with some denatured alcohol prior to beginning

In this photo I am applying the coat of rubber contact cement to the leather bottom of the shoe.  The glass rod is the applicator that came with the kit.  The cement was "Barge" brand and also included in the kit also.

Here is the shoe drying.  The contact cement needed to dry completely before the next process could be applied.
Mixing the Barge cement into the stealth rubber shavings.  Following the mixology directions listed in the kit.


Rubber and cement ready to go!

Begining to apply the rubber/cement mix to the contact cement ready shoe.

You have to use the glass rod applicator provided to apply the sticky mixture.  This process was tedious and time consuming.  You have to dab the mixture onto the shoe, then roll it down onto the leather sole, like using a baking pen.  Rolling it back and forth with a firm pressure was key.  Also note that the shoes are stuffed with paper to give them a solid profile, allowing easier application.

Here is the finished product minutes after applying and smoothing the final coat.  We allowed a full 24 hours before allowing Izzy to sample them.

Below is a photo of Izzy testing her newly enhanced kicks on the bullet hard sandstone of new river gorge.  She is warming up on Dad's project!

If you have any other questions about the process, don't hesitate to ask.

No comments: