Introduction: Vibram Huarache Running / Hiking Sandals

Picture of Vibram Huarache Running / Hiking Sandals

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

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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of Smoothing the Rough Edges

Making them Look Pretty


1. Flip sandal over with tread facing up.

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


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

Step 6: Lacing

Picture of 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.


ucraman made it! (author)2016-05-14

Very nice, I made my own. They are comfortable, the only thing that annoy me a bit is the plap-noise they made at running.

sanderk1 made it! (author)2015-06-21

Thanks for the tutorial! These are awesome. I added a sheet of leather to the top of mine, and also went with braided leather laces. Very happy with the result.

grgeorgios (author)2015-03-04

andy.knote (author)2014-12-30

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

Slim49 (author)2013-12-28

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

dchall8 (author)2013-10-02

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?

Mr_Moustache (author)2013-09-12

Could I just use the sole of some old Teva Flip-Flops?

DIYfootwear (author)Mr_Moustache2013-09-12

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.

jbh123 (author)2013-09-11

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

xammmed (author)2013-09-08

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

DIYfootwear (author)xammmed2013-09-11

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

acuchetto (author)2013-09-10

These are comfortable, I presume?

DIYfootwear (author)acuchetto2013-09-11

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

BeoWulfe (author)2013-09-10

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.

DIYfootwear (author)BeoWulfe2013-09-11

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.

oldfatnbroke (author)2013-09-10

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.

DIYfootwear (author)oldfatnbroke2013-09-11

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

hifuqua (author)2013-09-11

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: Not my site, btw. Just an idea. Cool project!

DIYfootwear (author)hifuqua2013-09-11

Cool idea!

MrBillG59 (author)2013-09-11

Where to you get the Vibram sheets?

DIYfootwear (author)MrBillG592013-09-11

Vibram and Birkenstock Sheets available on our site

Trelligan (author)2013-09-11

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.

donedirtcheap (author)2013-09-11

Oh yeah!! Got the kids on the bus and made a pair for myself. I didn't know anything could be lighter than a flip flop. Made the soles out of a thick leather weight lifter belt from the thrift store. I owe you one. Thank you! Voted.

HollyHarken (author)2013-09-10

Very nice ible!
I own a pair of five finger Vibram's which are great for walking in. I read an article in my local paper about the shoes and how walking/running in them will make you feet work better. From that day onward I kicked off my shoes with their expensive orthodics and started walking around my house barefoot. In the winter I wear cheap fuzzy socks. My knee and foot problems disappeared within a few weeks of adjustment.
Thanks to your instructible I can now make a pair of "sandals".  Very well done! 

prince-of-weasels (author)2013-09-10

The soles can be "harvested" in the wild along the interstate highways. 18-wheelers regularly blow out tires and occasionally throw off entire 'caps' from re-treads,leaving huge wide thick strips or rubber.Caddilac 10,000 mile sandals have Dr.Scholes inserts of choice glued on top covered with leather plate that the straps are tied thru/under before gluing down over the Dr. Scholes..Bigfoot model has 'foot shape' ,foam under suede ,and relief holes drill in the treads to bring the paracord up in to the rubber away from the abrading ground.Those cut wide enuff can be 'pimped out' with domed carpet tack border LOL

soccer_dancer12 (author)2013-09-09

Do these really good for running? Because u am a runner so I might want to try them?!

Running in minimalist footwear is wonderful, but it takes some effort to relearn how to run. The easiest way to hurt yourself is to go out in these and try to run a 10k. Start slow. I mean S.L.O.W... like, increase by 50m/day starting from 0. You'll start to feel your ankles tightening, the muscles in your feet beginning to stabilize, etc. Your feet are having to relearn how to exist without the support (read:confinement) of shoes, so it's actually strength training. You might even correct some postural mechanics which cause problems all the way up the chain.

There are also people that choose to run barefoot, but its not for everyone :)

jwebsd (author)2013-09-10

Wow! Holy! Pure!

platdujour (author)2013-09-10


I was hunting around for UK sellers of that kind of soling sheets and found this company -

grannyjones (author)2013-09-10

I will have to try this; but I may trace both feet separately, as they are not quite identical. Custom is awesome.

stevenvachon (author)2013-09-10

How about adding arch support? Would be interesting to see your approach

darman12 (author)2013-09-09

The video really helps, thanks :)

Ironsloth1993 (author)2013-09-08

I am due for a new pair of shoes. If I took the laces out, could they be used in place of rope?


ToolHoard (author)2013-09-08

Love how thorough your steps (oops that may be a pun...) and pics are in this one.
Question tho: isn't there a high potential for fraying and eventual failure having the paracord loop around the edge and under the sole at the ankle holes? I'd imagine those two areas of cord could get worn down relatively quickly.

DIYfootwear (author)ToolHoard2013-09-09


The nylon lace will embed into the sandal between the vibram tread on the side holes. the knot beneath the thong strap will eventually fray and need to be retied.

eblackman1 (author)2013-09-08

Totally gonna try this. Thanks.

arandomwords (author)2013-09-08

Is the sole material sheet big enough to make size 16

DIYfootwear (author)arandomwords2013-09-08

The sheets come in 9" x 11" and 10" X 13". Draw out those dimensions on a sheet of paper and see if you feet fit!

Haus Page (author)2013-09-07

Great tutorial! Will have to try this out! :-)

Gregbot (author)2013-09-07


About This Instructable




Bio: A website dedicated to providing the materials for making and repairing your own footwear.
More by DIYfootwear:Resole your BirkenstocksVibram Huarache Running / Hiking Sandals
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