Monday, September 12, 2011

Hooved Shoes Update

Hey guys!
Glad to say I've found some extra time to work on my hooved shoes.
For those of you who've been keeping up with them or even know what they are, I'd finished a prototype for a very realistic-looking shoe this past May and I've been getting a few requests for them. However, I did happen to take them for a 14 hour spin at a local convention only to learn the hard way that the hoof used in this shoe is muuuch too heavy and makes extended use very difficult, so I've told a few people that I'd rework them with a lighter and more durable hoof. Well, I've finally begun to work on the new pair and things are looking good so far!

I will now have "male" and "female" hooves, which are really not so different from each other, other than size. The male hooves are about 1" longer and .5" wider than the female pair, allowing them to support a larger shoe size and also to make balance much easier for smaller shoes. They're not exclusive to guys, though. Anyone who would prefer the extra surface area or simply wants a larger looking hoof can order the male hooves.

I think I may also market a more simple pair that will be cheaper and that can be more affordable for those of you who can't afford the newer pair I've been working on. For now, everything is still in the works, but I'm just throwing some ideas out so you guys can get an idea of what may be happening soon.

I've also been surprised about how many guys have actually requested these shoes! For all the guys out there who may be reading, I just want to let you know that these hooves require a stiletto (shoes with 3" or more in heel height). I imagine most guys have never walked in heels before nor do they even know where to purchase them. Heels in men's sizes can be readily found at stores or websites for drag queens. If you'd prefer to not buy the shoes yourself, I will hunt a pair down for you, but I would STRONGLY recommend buying the heels and practicing in them. Then when you see how they fit, how they feel, and what it is you're up against. You can also send them to me and I will knock you a discount off the final price for already having the shoes.

Some FAQ

Q: How difficult is it to balance and walk in these shoes?
A: You have to consider a lot of things when answering this question. Your height, weight, composure, posture, and experience with high heels will influence how hard or easy it is. For me, it's rather easy to balance and walk in the shoes, but I have probably spent around 60 hours walking in them. They do take adjustment and getting used to. I also weigh only around 100 lbs and am 5'2 so I am very close to the ground and I don't put much weight on the heels themselves. If you are taller or more heavy set, you may not be able to wear them for longer periods or time or you may find balancing in them more difficult. You just have to practice, really.

Q: What does it feel like to walk without a heel?
A: Anyone can really just put on a pair of stilettos and simply not let the heel touch the ground as they walk and they would feel how it is to walk in these. It's not all that hard, but it's a different style of walking that some people may find difficult. Just like normal heels, when wearing them over long periods of time, your feet WILL hurt.

Q: Where exactly are you standing? On your toes?
A: No, all the weight is distributed on the balls of your feet. It is like tippy-toeing but really it's just like how you'd feel with walking in heels. After long periods of time the balls of your feet and the back of your ankles will hurt the most. Your toes will only hurt from pressing them down against the shoes for balance, not from weight.

Is a walking stick a good idea?
A: YES! A walking stick is a great thing to have to help you balance out your weight and to transfer some stress away from your feet. It's also an amazing way to keep your balance, even when standing still. I would strongly recommend using a walking stick.

Q: How are these shoes made?
A: The base of the shoe is a stiletto heel that I'd recommend 4" or higher for a more realistic look. I do NOT use boots nor do I recommend boots for these shoes. The heels are then removed from the shoe and placed on top of a "hoof structure". If you plan on making these yourself, you can use many things for your hooves. Wood is a great material because it's easy to work with and cheap to use, but it's not waterproof and will splinter with extended use. I then add straps onto the heels to secure your feet into the shoe and place velcro at the base of the shoe to attach a cover. The covers I use for the shoes are stockings, leggings, or dress socks. I feel these really capture the silhouette and also show the seamless blend of the hoof into your legs. Fur pants are optional, but I do not recommend them at all. The silhouette created from these shoes is very subtle and realistic, and since fur pants cannot be fitted very tightly and since they're relatively thick, they will only destroy the silhouette.
I WILL be posting a fully detailed tutorial on ways to make your own hooves in the near future, so keep an eye out!

Q: How much will you be selling them for?
A: No less than $200. Sounds expensive, but the materials used are pretty expensive as well as the time it takes to make make it reasonable.

Q: How durable are the hooves?
A: Rock solid. They're pretty much indestructible. They're impact resistant and water proof, so they won't break during a day at the renaissance fair like many other hoof designs.

Q: If I order a pair, how long will it take you to make them?
A: I would say around 4-6 weeks. The hoof itself takes the major amount of work to make, detail, and then depending on the material, to cure.

Q: I already have a pair of heels I'd like to use. Can I send them to you so they can be used for my shoes?
A: Certainly~ Just don't send me any shoes you really like because I will be tearing them apart, haha. Again, for the best effect, you're going to need a shoe with at least a 4" heel. The shoe should fit snugly and it should have a very solid arc support. If you do end up wanting to do this, I will certainly knock some money off the final price.

Q: Where can I wear these shoes?
A: It all depends on you. I would recommend paved, flat surfaces for walking. If you're using them for a photoshoot and don't plan to do any walking in them, then just so long as you can place both feet on the floor in a somewhat flat position, you should be fine. Paved surfaces are the easiest, carpet is more difficult without being hard, grass is a bit harder but not impossible, rocky or very uneven surfaces are difficult and can be very dangerous, and sand is nearly impossible.

Q: Are these shoes dangerous?
A: They very well can be, yes. It really depends on where you're wearing them, how well you can compose yourself in them, and the adjustments you make for your body type. If wearing them at a location with paved, flat floors I would say they're safer than wearing them outdoors in a grassy or rocky terrain.

Q: Do you have any more videos or photos of your hooved shoes?
A: Yes, I have lots more. I have mostly production pictures of my newer hooves and lots of finished pictures of my very first pair of hooves. I will list them below:

Multi-shot photo
Ganon Cosplay
Draenei Cosplay
Satyr Cosplay

Hooved Shoes - Walk Test
Draenei - at 2:40
Ganon - at 1:07