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Level 9:1 – Upgrade Footwear

15 May

Time to build some heavy-duty, splicer stompin’ boots!!!

If you’ll recall from previous posts, we found some killer, rubber galoshes to serve as the base for our Subject Delta Boots.

Subject Delta boots


We found them at a uniform surplus store. They were perfect because they were meant to be worn over regular shoes so they were already over-sized. Plus they had some great metal buckles which add a nice touch and they were on sale for $30 bucks!

If you’ll notice from the reference photo below, Subject Delta’s boots are a little shorter than the boots we picked.

delta boot reference

So, we started off by marking how much we wanted to cut away and then used our box cutter to trim away the excess.

Boots Pre Cut Boots Cut


With the boots cut to the right height we could add the metal that runs along the sides and up over the toes of the boot. Check out the reference photo above. See how the straps appear to be securing a metal step-in “sled?” We decided that these metal soles must be something that could be stepped into and then strapped on. We wanted the boots to appear heavy and gnarly without actually making them heavy, so we decided to craft the “sled” out of foam. I started by cutting out a 2″ wide strip of 2 mm foam to serve as the front of the sled that wraps around the boot. I lined it up and glued it into place with hot glue:

Boots With Front Foam Boots With Full Front Foam










With the first piece of the sled in place, I cut out a foam topper piece that was slightly curved on the backside and to couture to the shape of the first piece along the front of the boot. I had to try a couple of time to get the shape just right, but once I was satisfied with the shape, I hot glued it into place on top of the boot and sealed the edges together with hot glue as well:

Boots With Top FoamAt first, I thought about stopping there for a nice “steel toed” look, but Sara pointed out that the trim should travel all the way around the bottom edge of the boot thus giving it that “sled” look. So, I cut out another long strip of 2″ wide foam and hot glued it into place, connecting the trim all the way around the back of the boot and to the other side. Then I drilled holes straight through the foam and the rubber of the boots and fitted the “sled” with some light-weight bolts and cap nuts for that riveted look.

Boots With Side Foam Boots Complete Foam









With the “sled” trim piece complete, there was only one thing left to do — Paint them!!!

You’ve seen bits and pieces of partially painted items here and there, but this is the first piece we had actually, fully painted!

I started by sealing the foam pieces with a couple of coats of watered down Elmer’s glue. Once dried, I then sprayed the foam with three coats of shellac, allowing the layers to fully dry in between applications.

Once sealed and shellacked, I then taped off the foam pieces and hit the rubber boot with a couple of light coats of Rust-Oleum Enamel Gloss Leather Brown Spray Paint to give it the look of leather. After that dried, I then peeled the tape from the foam and taped off the newly painted brown leather boot section so I could hit the foam trim with a couple of coats of Rust-Oleum Antique Brass Spray Paint.

Boots Painted


Bad ass if I do say so myself!!!

With the boots painted in their base colors, we added a couple of our hand stitched straps and buckles by poking holes through the strap and fastening them in place with the bolts and cap nuts. Then we distressed them:

Boots Distressed

Boots With Full Paint and Distress

Boots Distressed (2)






For the distressing we decided to keep it simple. We did a light, dry brushing of black acrylic paint, let it dry briefly for 10-15 seconds and then rubbed away most of the excess with cloths and q-tips leaving behind the desired amount of grit and grime. We did this all over the boots themselves as well as the brass, metal “sled” and leather strapping with buckles. We paid special attention to certain areas such as the grooves around the cap nuts and other nooks and crannies. We wanted to make sure that these areas had the highest concentration of grime, just like you would see with natural wear and tear. You can view our quick tutorial here.

Here’s another couple of shots of the finished product with the suit:

Boots Complete Boots Complete (2)


We hope that you found this helpful! — TCG