No formal education is required to become a boot maker, though boot making classes are often available through private boot making institutes and fashion design schools. Some courses are offered online. Individuals enrolled in a boot making courses typically make 1-3 boots from scratch. Upon completing a boot making course, some schools award a certificate of completion.
Boot makers should have good hand-to-eye coordination and be detail-oriented. They also need to be able to establish a good rapport with their customers.
Boot Making Course
Boot making students focus on foot measuring, design, and assembly. Participants often learn multiple boot styles, such as packing, hiking and Western boot wear. Students learn to use sewing machines and gain skills in leather working, decorative stitching, crimping, lasting, in-seaming, and bottoming. They will also learn how to build heels, trim soles, and install toe caps. Students may also gain skills in budgeting, purchasing, and customer service. Some course topics in these programs might include:
- Creating factory quality midsole
- Alternative ways of lining pattern construction
- Lasting pump shoes
- Check your pumps basic pattern
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as of May 2015, fashion designers make a mean annual wage of $73,180. Job opportunities for fashion designers are expected to grow by 3% during the 2014-2024 decade. This growth rate is slower than average compared to other professions.
Career-minded boot makers can market their designs to buyers at industry events, such as the Metropolitan New York Shoe, Apparel and Accessories Market sponsored by the Boot and Shoes Travelers Association of New York (www.bootshoeny.com). Additionally, beginning and advanced level fee-based workshops are often held by boot making shops. Programs are generally limited to 3-6 participants and can range from several days to several weeks.
Individuals who are interested in boot making can look to instructional videos and photographs, often available for download from the Web. There are also related books that aspiring boot makers may find helpful. Sewing machine operation manuals may also prove useful to boot makers.
Boot making training programs equip students with skills in leather working, sewing machine operations, and other fundamentals of the boot making process. Students may also acquire the business skills needed to run their own business.