Vibram Huarache Running / Hiking Sandals

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Introduction: Vibram Huarache Running / Hiking Sandals

About: A website dedicated to providing the materials for making and repairing your own footwear.

Huarache running sandals have existed for thousands of years. They were refined and made popular by the famous long distance running tribe of Mexico's Copper Canyon - the Tarahumara Indians. The Book, Born to Run, re-introduced the world to these superhuman running athletes and the primitive sandals they run in. Below are instructions for using modern day rubber shoe soles and lacing to create a high tech version of the huarache running sandal.

All Materials and Instructions from DIYFootwear.com

Tools Needed

- Hammer
- Scissors
- Box cutter
- Paper & Pen
- 120 Grit Sand Paper
- 4mm Diameter Hole punch
- Lighter or Match
- Chalk

Materials Needed

- Rubber Sole Material (Vibram Newflex used)
- 12ft Nylon Paracord, 6ft for Each foot

Non DIY Options:

Huarache Inspired Outdoor Hiking Sandals - Bedrock Sandals

Step 1: Tracing Feet on Paper

1. Hold pen or pencil perpendicular to paper and trace along the edge of your foot.
        (Tip) Try not to bump into your ankles.

2. Mark just in front of where your ankle bone for side hole placement on your sandal. 

3. Mark the beginning of the gap between your big toe and second toe (holding pencil perpendicular to paper). This mark will be where you make the thong strap hole. 


Step 2: Determining Sandal Shape

1. Once finished tracing your feet go back and add buffer zones - to add material to the sandal edges. Create and draw in the final sandal shape that you will ultimately use with a dotted line. 

Tips for creating a good sandal shape from your foot tracing:

- Have buffer area in front of your toes.

- Cut out and exclude some of the arch area where you do need extra material.

- Exclude foot features that do not actually touch the ground (e.g. bunions).

- Keep sandal heel wide enough for side holes and straps

Step 3: Cutting Out Tracing and Transferring to Sole Material

Cutting out Paper Sandal Ouline

1. Cut closely along the dotted line you created in the last step. Be sure to keep the tracing facing up so you don't accidentally make two right feet!

Transferring to Rubber

1. Use the cut out paper sandal outline and transfer it's shape to the side of rubber sole that will be contacting your foot.

2. Hold paper outline firmly on rubber soling material.

3. Work your way around the perimeter of paper sandal while marking the rubber soling material with chalk.

4. Mark both ankle hole locations and use a pen to punch through paper to mark the thong strap hole. 

Step 4: Cutting Out Soling and Punching Holes

Cut out your sandals

Tips: STAY SAFE! (Never cut towards fingers)

There are many ways to cut soling. Keep in mind that denser rubber soles will be more difficult to cut. Be sure to take your time and stay safe! 

1. Use a box cutter or pair of scissors to cut out your sandals. Slowly cut along the center of your chalk line. 

Punching Lacing Holes

1. Use hammer and 4mm hole punch to punch out holes.

2. Punch out thong strap hole directly on marked dot.

3. Punch out side holes in about 1 cm from the edge of the sandal. This centimeter buffer is important for making sure the lacing doesn't tear through your rubber sole material. For larger feet error on the side of adding more than 1 cm buffer. 


Step 5: Smoothing the Rough Edges

Making them Look Pretty

Trimming

1. Flip sandal over with tread facing up.

2. Use box cutter to trim out bumps and smooth out edges. 

Sanding

1. Buff out any lingering bumps and blemishes along sandal edge with sand paper. 


Step 6: Lacing

Lacing Nylon Paracord

1. Tie one simple overhand knot at end of cord.  Pull it tight.

2. Follow steps in photos for lacing.

Step 7: Tying Up Sandal

Video explains how to Tie up your Huarache Sandals so they stay comfortable and fixed on your feet while running, hiking, and walking.

2 People Made This Project!

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40 Comments

Great instructable. Great photos, great step-by-step. Nice work!

Rockin, Awesome! :-)
Well done on the tying vid. now I get it.
Slim

Without getting too anatomical, my Tevas fit wrong. They rub my little toe causing a blister rather than hitting back at the joint. But these are the most comfortable water shoes I've ever had. They have a very firm and durable sole and a very soft and durable upper sole. It would seem this layered approach would work just as easily as your minimalist approach...if I could find the soft sole material. Do you have any thoughts on making less minimal shoes?

Yes you can. With a thicker and heavier sole, however, you should either double-up on the paracord or use a thicker lace for better support.

Excellent tutorial. Makes me believe I could do this if I tried. Thanks!

very nice dising , in mexico is usual the huarache sole made of tire (huarache de llanta) they long for ever

1 reply

Tires are great too! Just not as comfortable as vibram sole

Super minimal, Super comfortable. Vibram material works very nicely.

About how long does the paracord last? I guess that would also depend on the type of terrain you'd be running on, but typically, how long do they last for you? I can't imagine they'd last very long on concrete.

1 reply

The paracord will lift up on the sides as there's tension there. The amount which that will lift above the ground depends on how tightly you lace your sandals. Military paracord is a well made material and can take wear and tear.

The knot below the thong strap will wear down after 30-100 running miles depending on terrain. It can be re-tied once worn through. Countersink the knot into the rubber for longer lasting power.

If you wrap the sandpaper around a piece of wood it would work better and you wouldn't need to trim the bumps around the edge with the knife.

1 reply

This Vibram material is foamy and can be more difficult to sand. A power sander works great.

Instead of leaving a knot exposed under the sole where it can be worn off, why not use a shank button to anchor it underneath. Like this: http://www.etsy.com/listing/62310060/set-of-6-antique-silver-15mm-flat-blank Not my site, btw. Just an idea. Cool project!

1 reply

Very good presentation. I'm often 'biting my tongue' not criticizing other people's grammar/spelling. Well laid out text, nice emphasis on the beginning, no errors to trip over.
And minimal shoeing is a worthy effort; by switching to 'boat shoes' I resolved some knee problems in a week.