Chell's Portal 2 long fall boots
Alright, I know, boots aren't considered props (because they are part of the costume) but the way I treat them, during crafting, and the love I have for footwear makes them rather special, and that is why I believe they belong to this category. I guess if you are nitpicking you can exclude masks, helmets, belts and eyewear from the prop list, but depending on the use and importance they play in the cosplay, some actually deserve a spot in the prop list.
These boots where the reason I wasn't entirely sure I wanted to cosplay as Chell. It took me about a month to decide whether I want to start this project and a lot of research. I was trying to figure out a way to make the lack of heel as easy and comfortable as possible. I would be wearing those all day, so I wanted to make sure I had good balance and didn't kill my foot muscles and tendons.
There was a lot of thinking. What material to use for the main body, material for the metallic "spring". Can I afford the metal? Can I use it or do I have to order the actual shape from a welder? How do I connect it to the main body without fear of it breaking off? Can it support my weight or do I have to balance on my toes all day?
I went out and bought a pair of high heel sandals. The ugliest, cheapest pair I could find. I removed the heel and all the fabric and straps. I was left with the spine of the shoe, minus the heel. I took them to a welder and told him what I needed and how I needed the metal to bounce and hold my weight. He suggested stainless steel strips. He ordered them, shaped them, and within the week he called me to go pick them up.
They looked good. Exactly as I designed the patterns. And then the tricky part: how to connect the metal to the rest of the shoe. I took a really thick, non-elastic fabric, I sewed 5 layers together and formed a long strip. I attached that strip on the shoe spine (secured it well) and the other side of the strip was glued on the steel. I even did a stress test where I handed one side to my husband while I held the other end and we pulled it apart with all our strength and it didn't budge. That was enough for me. I just needed it to support 50kg.
The next part took me 20 stressful hours to complete, and that was only 3 days before the convention I was supposed to wear them to. I covered the spine of the shoe with 10mm EVA foam, making sure it was stable, comfortable and that it held my foot in place.
Then I only had one day for the last details on the boots. That meant I had to make patterns for the fabric that would cover them. Luckily I finished on time and a very good friend went on a mats run and brought me sole scraps to glue on the steel so it wouldn’t be slippery.
They were pretty comfortable and very fun to walk in!