Zipper Details for your Ankle Boots

SENSO and their amazing Blake boots were the inspiration for this DIY project; their designs are so structured and interesting.  However, having recently purchased way too many pairs of ankle boots this fall and with the holidays around the corner, I can’t justify buying another pair (at the moment).  So I decided to get my SENSO fix by adding some zipper details to my favorite pair of little black boots.

There are two ways to go about this project, with either permanent or temporary application of the zipper details…the temporary method is a little more time-consuming, but worth it if you don’t want to be married to the change.  I’m going to outline the temporary method in detail, since that’s the route I chose, with the much faster permanent method to follow after.  Choose which suits you best and get in on this DIY…


The exact boots I made require the following supplies:

  • 1 pair black ankle boots
  • 1 24-inch brass zipper
  • 1 tape measure
  • 1 lighter
  • 1 spool heavy-duty black thread
  • 1 metal thimble


Assembly process:

  1. Start by planning and then carefully measuring out the length of the boot edge you want to trim with the zipper detail.  Measure twice!
  2. Unzip the zipper, this will give you two open zipper edges (one to trim each boot) and cut each zipper to the appropriate length.
  3. Quickly pass the cut edge of the zipper over the flame of a lighter, this will seal the edge from fraying.
  4. Place the edge of the zipper on the inside of the boot, as close as possible to the edge, so only the zipper teeth are showing.  You can tape the zipper in place or hold it as you sew by hand; use the bottom line of the teeth as a guide for a perfectly straight application.
  5. Thread the needle and slowly start sewing the zipper onto the edge of the boot using a basic back-stitch, following the existing sewing holes along the edge.  Secure each end with a double knot and repeat the process for the remaining boot.
  6. If necessary, trim off any excess fabric under the zipper, as close to the teeth and stitch line as possible.  Once again pass the flame of a lighter over the cut edges to seal the edge from fraying.
  7. Enjoy!


This is another one of those DIY’s that you have to do perfectly, or not at all.  If your edges are frayed or the zipper is uneven or puckered, your finished product will look terrible.  Take your time and do it perfect.  Obviously this project may not work with every type of boot…you’ll need a well-structured pair, preferably with sewn edges to camouflage your stitching.  This will also ensure that when you take the zipper detail off, you aren’t left with open stitch holes along the edge of your leather boot.

If you’re going for a faster application and a more permanent change, follow the steps above using industrial fast-drying epoxy to secure the zipper to the boot, instead of sewing by hand.  Hold the zipper in place with butterfly paper-clips after gluing and allow to set for 24-hours before wearing.  That simple…however not so simple to remove if you change your mind!


Regardless of the method you choose, you’ll end up with a beautiful finished product and boots with a bit more edge.  They look amazing…on and off!


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