My goal is to make shoes that are healthy for the person wearing them as well as for the maker. I design shoes with flat, flexible soles, allowing natural movement of the feet. Feet expand during the day, and I avoid stitching that interferes with the expansion.
Most shoes are held together with carcinogenic glues, frequent use can be unhealthy for the makers. Many shoes have plastic stiffeners that can off-gas during construction. I use water based, low VOC glue, and only use it to attach the sole. Everything else is held together by stitching.
Every foot is unique. People can have different sizes and shapes for their right and left feet. Wearing shoes that do not accommodate the shape of each foot can cause discomfort or pain, and wearing them over long periods can deform feet.
Since every foot is unique, every shoe should be unique. They should be made to match the shape of your feet, rather than an approximation of the shape of "average" feet.
Well made custom shoes can be repaired by a cobbler to extend their life. The sole can be replaced when it wears down. The upper can be repaired if becomes too damaged. This can save money, as the shoes do not need to be replaced often.
I got started in shoemaking because I couldn't find any shoes that fit me properly. I realized that I needed custom shoes, and I decided to learn how to make them instead of just buying them. My goal was to save money in the long term, but as I studied under Glen Leasure of Healthy Handmade Shoes, I found that I enjoyed the process of making shoes. Glen taught me the basics, and after the class, I experimented on my own to learn about different techniques and materials.