When you cosplay as your favorite character, you want to be decked out head to toe in a screen-accurate ensemble. You don’t want to spend hours on elaborate armor and weapons and then throw on a pair of dingy sneakers, right? 

Cosplay boots are necessary to complete any costume, but the good news is, you don’t have to become a cobbler to make them. Here are some simple steps that will help you lace up and jump into action.

How to Make Cosplay Boots

First, a little disclaimer: you don’t have to make actual boots to make cosplay boots. That would take far too long and require a ton of skills you’d have to learn before even getting to the costume parts.

Instead, pick up a sturdy pair of secondhand boots that you can alter with added pieces, straps, and paint. Raid your local thrift stores for well-worn boots you wouldn’t mind filling with holes and glue. Or, “borrow” your dad’s ski boots that have been sitting untouched in the basement for the past 20 years.

Whatever you choose, make sure they are comfortable enough for you to walk around in for several hours.

Step 1: Choose Your Character

metal arm cosplay
Skillshare instructor David White created his own OC steampunk outfit.

There’s a lot to consider when choosing a character to cosplay. If you are just starting out, simplicity is key. Creating a giant mech suit is a big task, and if you’ve never tried putting together a cosplay you may find yourself frustrated during the process. Try to find a happy medium of a character you love and one that feels feasible to accomplish.

Is there a character you connect with on an emotional level? Or one with similar traits to your own personality? Will you feel comfortable or empowered being in public in the cosplay? These are just a few of the things you can consider when making your cosplay costume choice. 

Step 2: Collect Your Materials

hot glue
Glue and EVA foam are common tools for a cosplayer.

Once you have your character picked out and your boots cleaned and ready to go, it’s time to plan out your build materials. Every build is different, but here are some common items most cosplayers use.

EVA Foam/Cardboard

EVA Foam is a flexible rubber foam that makes great additions to cosplay boots. It’s easy to work with and is relatively inexpensive. Cardboard is a more-readily available option that also works well.


You can do a lot with duct tape. Not only can it hold your pieces in place, it comes in many colors that can act as decorative elements on your boots. 

A glue gun or rubber cement is vital, but make sure to use them properly. Maintain a properly ventilated space and only use them while wearing gloves.

Paints and Brushes

Acrylic paints can be found in abundance at any local craft store. Metallic paints have a sheen that can give the appearance of steel or other metals.

Painting leather boots requires special paints and other substances like leather conditioner and deglosser to prep the boots to hold the paint better.

Cloth and Thread

If your cosplay boots are less metallic and more natural, using cloth and thread might be the way to go. Different colored threads allow you to make elaborate design elements on your boots that you can’t replicate using other materials. 

In addition to all of this, it’s always good to have these household items on hand.

  • Scissors or craft knife
  • Markers
  • Measuring tape
  • Water (crafting is hard work—stay hydrated!)

Make Your Own Cosplay!

Lessons in Cosplay—Making Steampunk Arms

Step 3: Attach the Base Layer

leather pieces
Creating large pieces for your base layer will help define the shape and look of the boots.

With your cosplay boot concept in place, you want to use your primary material to cut out the larger shapes that will be the base for your boot design. For example, if your boots have large wings on the outside and pointed toes, you’ll have to securely attach them.

In carpentry, you are supposed to measure twice and cut once, and the same concept applies to making cosplay boots. You want to pay extra attention to size and placement of your pieces before actually making any cuts or doing any gluing. Doing so avoids wasted materials and ultimately saves you money.

Step 4: Add Embellishments

Your cosplay boots are starting to look like the real thing, but the devil is in the details. Now it’s time to pull out all your creativity to add embellishments to your boots that will really make them pop.

You can be as simple or complex as you want during this step. Perhaps some shiny tape and a good coat of paint serve your character best—they’ve just donned their uniform and haven’t gotten it messy yet. Or, these cosplay boots have seen a lot of wear and tear, with rips and weathering to make them feel like they’ve lived a life.

This step is also an opportunity to use more intricate skills like blacksmithing or leatherworking if you feel comfortable with them. 

Lace Up!

Whether you’re rocketing into space or trudging through a fantasy battle, your cosplay boots should reflect your character’s overall personality. And now that you’ve made your first pair, there’s no limit to the kinds of cosplay ideas you can attempt!

Make Your Own Cosplay!

Lessons in Cosplay—Making Steampunk Arms

Written By

Luke Field

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