Instructables

Barefoot Running Plasti-Socks

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If you like the idea of barefoot running, but want a little bit of protection from rocks and sharp stuff without sacrificing foot mobility, you may enjoy this inexpensive alternative to minimalist running toe shoes.
 
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Step 1: What You'll Need

Picture of What You'll Need
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All you'll need to make Plasti-socks is 1) a pair of socks (with toes or regular--your choice), 2) a paint brush, and 3) Plasti Dip. You may want to stuff your socks to stretch them to the approximate size of your foot. Water shoes work well inside of regular socks.

Step 2: Paint on the Plasti Dip

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Find a well-ventilated area, outside if possible. Open your Plasti Dip and paint it onto the bottom of your socks. If you want to add an extra coat, wait at least 30 minutes after applying the first. Let your socks dry for 24 hours.

Step 3: Take Your Socks for a Test Run

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Put on your new running socks and give them a try.
socks691 year ago
This is great! I'm not much of a runner but I have basically been using my regular socks as shoes for many years. I go everywhere and do everything in socks. I'm definitely going to try plasti-dip if it still gives me the barefoot freedom while at the same time making my socks last longer!
vectrasj3 years ago
Can I use common SILICON insteed of plastic?
msaraann (author)  vectrasj3 years ago
You can certainly try any type of hardening rubber. I've heard of other materials working, but I've only tried the Plasti Dip.
The foam draw liner can be cut to the shape of the bottom of your foot and added to the bottom of a sock. I have done this and it works pretty well. Though not waterproof, it does cut down on harm from stones and bits of glass but allow more breathing of the foot. a good pair of felted, low cut style shoes would be a good way to go, I prefer a leather soul and sometimes find scrap very reasonably.
ingeva3 years ago
I finally found PlastiDip in Canada. Home Hardware has it.
jolshefsky3 years ago
My standard reaction re: "barefoot shoes" is "I do not think that word means what you think it means." The term you're looking for is "minimal shoes". With literal barefoot running, your nerves get the quickest response from the ground allowing your body (and particular its natural reflexes) to act quickest. Quick reflexive reactions maximizes learning good form and minimizes injuries. A protective layer deadens the nerves and your reaction time is slower by a few hundredths of a second allowing an ankle roll to go from a harmless stumble to an injury.

Nonetheless, the idea is pretty interesting. I'd be curious to know how well they hold up. I have $5 water shoes from ye olde K-store that I bought many years ago and they have sustained more than 100 miles and are just starting to wear thin. I run in them when the temperature dips below 35°F or so.
msaraann (author)  jolshefsky3 years ago
I agree with the barefoot vs. minimal definition. Barefoot is barefoot. I use the title "barefoot shoes" because that's what a lot of people search for when they're looking for minimal shoes. Personally, I prefer running totally barefoot. I like minimal shoes for going places where people expect shoes. My daughter prefers the Plasti-socks, so that's why we made this Instructable to share.

Water shoes are the most substantial shoes I ever wear. These Plasti-socks are much less substantial. Minimal shoes probably make a nice transition for someone between regular shoes and barefoot if they're so inclined.
I concur that liquid electrical tape and Plasti-Dip both work well for gloves, though I'm no longer in any condition to run. More inspiration from gloves: I wonder if you can get wide enough pieces of Kevlar to make socks, then spray them for grip? Then you could make urban environment barefoot socks!
peacenique3 years ago
This is fantastic! My Mother now has balance problems. Coating some comfy socks with this Plasti-Dip should be just the ticket to help her from slipping and breaking a hip!
Thanks!
Oh, and I too am a barefoot person. I cannot wait to try these for myself!
moonpuppy3 years ago
This is brilliant! I make felted wool slippers and sometimes end up outside where they get wet. I can't wait to try this. Thank you!
foobear3 years ago
awesome! how does it hold up over time and use? genius idea!
msaraann (author)  foobear3 years ago
So far so good. I've been using mine for about a year. I imagine you can reapply the Plasti Dip if it looks thin. I haven't had to yet, though. And, of course, it's easy to make a new pair.
=3 msaraann3 years ago
Are you just using them to wear around, or for running sports such as Track?
msaraann (author)  =33 years ago
My daughter and I both use them for running pretty much everyday. We run on sidewalks, roads, and hard packed sand.
=3 msaraann3 years ago
I might do this instructable then. Might I suggest that you put a mannequin foot inside the socks, then put the Plasti-Dip on while the mannequin foot is in it. Then you could have arch support?
guitarmonk15 =33 years ago
So, you are saying that you completely miss the point. What i mean is that you aren't supposed to have any support at all with minimalist shoes. (this next part is sarcasm) i have a better idea - take a pair of these, dump them in a bucket of molten plastic, let them harden, then call them Nikes - oh wait, someone thought of that already
=3 guitarmonk153 years ago
In most running sports such as Track and Cross Country, the coaches expect you to have shoes with support in them. I do understand that minimalist shoes aren't supposed to have support in them, but in my case I would need said support. Brand name running shoes such as your suggested Nikes, can be expensive at times; whereas, using this instructable to make shoes that are usable in Track and Cross Country would be more financially feasible for me.
guitarmonk15 =33 years ago
I guess that actually came out wrong - I actually HATE Nikes.
nikolardo =33 years ago
If your coach is serious about running and is open-minded, you'll probably be allowed to train in whatever you want, even if you have to wear "real" running shoes at meets. Just say "Hey, I want to try this thing which will improve my running motion, my joints, my arch, and my muscles."
=3 nikolardo3 years ago
I guess I shall give it a shot and see what happens then.
wingman358 =33 years ago
Some runners believe training barefoot is beneficial. I personally
believe that we have the feet we do because of survival of the fittest.
We get a little carried away in thinking that our inventions are the
ultimate bomb diggity. Natural selection has been at work on feet for eons.
msaraann (author)  =33 years ago
If you can find a mannequin foot, go for it. Although, I don't imagine you'd get much arch support. But that's kinda the idea behind minimalist shoes. We want our arches to get strong by using those muscles that would otherwise be immobilized by arch support.

You can read more about it on this collection of barefoot running articles and websites, http://www.squidoo.com/love-barefoot-running
lisascout3 years ago
Hi,
Where do I find this stuff called Plasti-Dip? Is it from my local DIY store, like Home Depot, or do I go to a crafts store?

Thanks,
Lisa
cnunelley "nailed it" - or "dipped it" - right! Electronics parts stores often have it, too. When I worked in computer, monitor, & printer repair, we dipped the handles of our tools in it to avert any "shocking encounters" between hand, tool, and device under test.
cnunnelley3 years ago
Another thought. I have done this same project using "Puff Paint" -- That is a brand name but any brand of paint for making three-dimensional decorations on clothing will work. It may not be as durable as Plasti-Dip. I don't know since I have not tried the Plasti-Dip. But they are essentially the same thing, I think. I wear mine for slipper sox/house shoes, and have been very happy with them. (I hate shoes!)
greenfreak3 years ago
hello!... were could i get some of this magical "Plasti Dip" stuff?! :D just love these!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11
msaraann (author)  greenfreak3 years ago
I got mine at a TrueValue hardware store, but the Plasti Dip folks have a website, too.

http://www.plastidip.com/
wondrful! thanks!.... do you think latex paint would work? :)
cnunnelley3 years ago
Plasti-Dip has a "where to buy" page: http://www.plastidip.com/diy_where_to_buy.php

or you can order it online from Amazon, Sears, and about 2 dozen other places. (I just did a Google search to find them.)
primedlt3 years ago
Usually the product can be found at Lowes and Home Depot.
noel0leon3 years ago
Nice Instructable. How does the plasti-dip handle sharper objects on the road such as pins/sharp rocks?
msaraann (author)  noel0leon3 years ago
My daughter and I run comfortably over gravel. I suppose it would depend on how accustomed you are to barefoot and how many coats of plasti dip you put on. I only put 2 layers, but I'm typically barefoot or in minimal shoes, so I'm used to some gravel.
My husband has a uniquely formed left hand due to a birth defect, and I made him work gloves that fit his hand by knitting them custom and then (this is the relevant part) spraying the palm side with several coats of Plasti-Dip (which I got on Amazon). If you are interested, you can read about it here: http://goo.gl/2hQHC I've long thought about making house slippers by putting shoe goo on the bottom of socks, but never got around to trying it. This is a great Instructible!
lorijean3 years ago
Great idea. My roommate is an avid runner and was wanting to buy some of those really expensive rubber barefoot running socks. I am not familiar with plasiti dip. Where can i find it?
msaraann (author)  lorijean3 years ago
Plasti Dip has a website, http://www.plastidip.com/, but I picked up a can at my local TrueValue hardware store.
I'min Mexico and Ace Internationale has some stors here that carry it.
There's others also but I didn't look into them
Plasti-dip also comes in a spray can too. It's made to coat the handles of tools for those that did not know. It also works great as a satin/slightly textured paint as it doesn't chip, since it is basically rubber.
msaraann (author)  NitroRustlerDriver3 years ago
Cool! I didn't know about the spray.
shellerae3 years ago
Awesome! Thanks everyone!
shellerae3 years ago
I've never worked with Plasti Dip. I'm curious if the toes stay flexible? I'm also wondering if you painted between them?
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