Shoe School

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Monday9:00 am – 9:00 pm.

Tuesday9:00 am – 9:00 pm.

Wednesday9:00 am – 9:00 pm.

Thursday9:00 am – 9:00 pm.



Sunday9:00 am – 5:00 pm.

247 Riddiford Street, Newtown, Wellington

Carrying us countless miles over every kind of terrain, the humble shoe often goes without much recognition or thought into the design and creation. Louise Clifton of Shoe School is shedding some light on the above however, with her unique and engaging shoe making workshops. Combining the passion of hands-on craft skills and thinking big, Louise travelled to Japan and Australia to learn shoe making from some of the best; tutors who later became a huge support from afar when she returned to New Zealand to find the art of shoemaking a very isolated craft.

A double edged sword kind of situation, the difficulty in finding the appropriate machinery means Shoe School fills a niche you’d struggle to find anywhere else in the capital, and with the decreasing numbers of local independent manufacturers it’s encouraging to find increasing support for this little creative business which just keeps on going.

With one step inside the beautifully arranged little workshop, it’s easy to see why people love their time here. Keen makers are busy choosing their delicious smelling leathers, hunkering over the sewing machines, or stamping out designs for their shoes, and the whole place hums with what can only be described as creative energy. Those taking part in the workshops will be quick to tell you that Lou is an expert at putting any nerves to rest, with her easy-going soft approach to teaching, she’s the sort of tutor that people remember well after they’ve walked out the door.

You’re always encouraged to come in and say ‘hi’ whether you’re walking past simply by chance, or you’ve come from the other side of town to check the place out, and if shoe making is something you want to take up from the comfort of your own home, then you’ll be pleased to hear Lou also offers tool kits and specially designed lasts (for big Kiwi feet) for purchase.
Otherwise a mass produced commodity, it’s Louise’s hope students will leave with a greater awareness and appreciation for the techniques and skills involved in shoemaking, not to mention an overall feeling of satisfaction and a brand new set of footwear. Check out the Shoe School website for how to sign up to the next available workshop.

Words by Rosie Morrison & Photography by Anna Briggs

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247 Riddiford Street, Newtown, Wellington

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