Tangchang, a town in Chengdu, is well-known for cloth shoes. With over 20 types, Tangchang cloth shoes are strong, comfortable, breathable and friendly to the environment. In 2018, they were added to Sichuan’s intangible cultural heritage list（非物质文化遗产名录）.
63-year-old Lai Shufang has spent over 40 years making Tangchang cloth shoes. Now she is a master. She said there are 32 steps to make a pair, but the most important step is making the soles.
Layers（层）of white cloth are glued together with flour paste（糨糊）. “To make good paste, we make it at a temperature of 85℃. If it’s too low or too high, the paste will not work,” Lai said. Then the pasted layers are dried and cut into different shapes. After this, the layered cloth is beaten again and again until it is tight（紧实的）enough to make soles and upper parts. The next step is to shape the two parts and glue them together. But still the soles’ edges look fluffy. Through repeated polishing and trimming, the fluffy edges（毛边） will become smooth. Then the cloth shoes are ready.
Lai’s hard work touched her son Ai Peng. In 2015, Ai decided to leave his job and help his mother. He used Shu embroidery to make the shoes look more beautiful and opened a cloth shoe store online. He also set up shop windows to show the steps of making shoes, helping more people learn about the art of cloth shoes.