The first thing I did was make a template based on the shoe size I was given and a sketch mock up. The character will have digigrade legs, and I was asked to make them large. The templates here are the bottom of the shoe (Crocs), the paw pad template, the sole template, and the foam template.
The next part was to construct the soles. These are 4 layers: top midsole, bottom midsole (cut 1/4" shorter), sole support, and the sole. It incorporates two types of crepe and a fatigue mat. The bottom sole is actually white, but it has a series of tiny dots for tread and appears The holes were cut out using a xacto blade for the paw pad openings, glued using all purpose contact cement, and dremeled smooth. I love my dremel.
Paw pads are cut out based off the size of the holes, contact cement added to the back, and pressed on. Any glue is removed using a wet paper towel or rubbed off.
The sole would be attached to the fatigue mat later. The shoe was glued using the same glue to the mat. Slits were cut out behind the center of the shoe 1/4" from the back and along side where the ankles line up. I was sent a Croc. Normally I would decline this due to the lack of ankle support with them, but my deadline was approaching, so industrial elastic straps and velcro were added.
An important note: A lot of folks use this for their soles, and this is a bad idea. It is soft and not meant to be used as a sole.
Then comes the cutting of the foam...lots and lots of cutting. This is when I break out my electric knife and scissors. I love my electric knife. I asked my partner Robert to take some photos. A friend suggested the tarp, which made clean up so much easier.
I start by tracing my template onto a 4" wide block of foam. The top edge is cut at a 45 degree angle all around. I then use the scissors to trim it smooth and shape the curves.
On the underside, I compare the height of the shoe to the foam toes and mark in the center how high I need to cut out a chunk of foam. A similar comparison is made for lining up the sides of the does along the shoe. I cut in about 1/2" along the toes inside and the chunk of the inside to cut out. The toes are bent back inside to cut out more foam.
The side toes are separated. I mark 1" from the back (bottom to upwards), and taper a line to the front. This is removed, and makes the side toes appear shorter.
Everything is glued on, starting with the side toes. This involves lots of waiting for glue to cure so that other pieces can be added to the foot. 1/2" wide pieces of foam are added based on the depth of the toes. This looks like a rectangle. These are glued between the shoe and the side toes. The side toes are added, and the rectangle foam pieces are shaped to the same curve as the side toes. The center ones are glued down, but pressing against (not glued into) the side of the side toes.
Another trip of 1/2" foam is glued pressing the center down (it makes a "V" shape) between the center toes. The center is slit, and cut to an similar curve.
1/2" rectangle shaped pieces are lined up and glued along the sides of the feet and trimmed as needed to line up the pieces. The back of the side pieces are trimmed at a 45 degree angle, and then tapered.
I marked where the color separation would go. In this case, it's a long and short pile white furs that will be attached. A duct tape pattern is made using clear duct tape, and the color pattern is transferred to the tape pattern. Sections are labeled with the fur direction, what the pattern is, which foot it is, in or out, top and bottom, and tick marks.
The pattern is cut out using scissors and a xacto, then placed piece by piece on oaktag. The reverse side of the pattern pieces gets marked up the same way as the reverse side, cut out, transferred, and cleaned up. This is very time consuming.
These are photos of the skin of one of the feet.
The soles are attached using contact cement (underneath the bottom vinyl piece as well), and left outside to gas out for a few hours. Sandwiched in between is the recessed section of sole. This allows me to cleanly tuck the fur that is wrapped around each foot between the soles.
Furring starts by lining up the color pattern (where the long fur meets the short) along the marked areas. I start with one of the center toes. I leave extra fabric where the fabric will be pushed between the toes. Any extra fur is removed.
I repeat this on the other center toe, then the side toes. The skin is flipped back and glued on top over the foam. The ankle is glued down next, then around the sides. The recessed area is glued down last.
This is a size comparison with the left foot (furred) and the right foot (unfurred).
Snaps are added to the back of the ankle for easy fitting and access to the straps. The ankle has been hemmed and is 4" long.