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I see blown truck tires along the road every few miles on my daily drive to work; I thought it would be cool to make some shoes out of them. So I finally pulled over an grabbed a tread (Watch out for stabbing steel cords at the edges of the tire scraps.) These things are a little tough and messy to make, but they use all recycled materials except for the glue.

I used:
Scrap tire from highway shoulder.
Scrap carpet from a dumpster.
Old plastic shopping bags.
and some shoe glue.

Angle grinder with cut off wheel.
Something to cut rubber and carpet, I used tin snips and medical scissors.
A Candle

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Step 1: Mark and Cut

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Draw a nice shoe pattern around you foot or trace another shoe onto the tire with a marker.

Then use a cut-off wheel on a grinder to cut through the steel cords in the tire. (very smoky.)

Once through the cords, cut out the tread with some tin snips or something.

This is messy with black stuff everywhere; put down some cardboard or something. This also smells like the county fair demo derby.

Step 2: Drill Holes

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Use other flip-flops as a guide, or guess where you need the holes for the straps; then drill through the tread with a big bit (I used 3/8".)

Step 3: Cut Carpet to Fit

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Take the tread cut-outs and cut the carpet scrap to fit. I left a little extra carpet to protect my feet from the steel cords on the edges.

Make holes in the carpet to match the tread holes drilled earlier.

Glue the carpet to the tread with some shoe glue.
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Hi I found a technique to reduce the weight of the tire but it requires a little more work:

But I'm mostly using tire rubber to resole my shoes and not make sandals.

Cheers !

kludge0002 years ago
I found out how the mexicans do it, that is to say cut tire tread for sandals. They use a long handled pair of pliers and a box knife. The tire tread is cut at the place where the tread meets the tire body on the side wall. The pliers grip the cut away tread as it is skinned from the tire body, just like you do a cow. The steel plies are never touched. :)
kcolburn sr2 years ago
Great idea! Can you get 50k miles out of them? 40? How often do you rotate them?
We call the retreads 'gators' out here and was thinking of making some for poor countries....
mary candy3 years ago
cool idea!
Such a good idea!!!
Plastic bags is such an awesome idea! I was gonna tie up some hemp for mine, but that's way cool, dude!
one more thing i did different, was to protect me from the ouchiness of the metal in the tire, was wrap some duct tape round the edges.
Good idea with the tire, although personally the scrap carpet is...kinda gross XP. Could've been soiled or something
robbtoberfest (author)  DuctTapeRules!6 years ago
That's too funny. I never thought of the way I presented that statement. I meant scrap carpet from a new installation, not the obviously nasty stuff in the dumpster. You should read about the people who dig food out of dumpsters. LOL
haha hey dumpster diving is a way of life man, and the food is usually pretty clean and great after a wash. anyway the shoes rock, comfy as anything and with all the walking i do, they aint wearing out yet. thanks for the step by step buddy
Ah I see... FOOD!?!?!? *whimper*
It's really not as gross as it sounds.
Zoidberg much? :D
No. Too much food is wasted in the United States though. Food Not Bombs often serves food that was dived.
SDJ14 years ago
if you use off road motorcycle tires you get real good dirt traction, ;)
I tried using my angle grinder today and my garage was filled with smoke. Tough on the lungs. I pulled out my jig saw with a metal cutting blade and it worked like a charm with out all the smoke.
imrobot5 years ago
Are they comfy for braided shopping bags an old tire and a bit o' carpet?
Very Nice.
Uncle Kudzu6 years ago
i see those tire pieces everywhere. does the tread part of the truck tire also have the steel reinforcement, or just the sidewalls?
robbtoberfest (author)  Uncle Kudzu6 years ago
Yes, definitely steel in there. The hardest part of this project is cutting through the steel with a grinder.
it can depend. Most of the tread from semi's you see on the road are a result of a bad re-tread. In the retread process, the cords are replaced, then the new tread fused over. The bad jobs cause the tread to not fuse properly. Then, when it completely delaminates from the rest of the tire... the tread rolls off, but the body and banding(that they used to replace the origional cording) stay with the rim, on the truck. If you see JUST the tread therefore, it might very well not have any cording and would be PERFECT to retread shoes, or make your own carpet flipflops. If you see a whole tire, or shredded tire, then it probably does have the cording.
thanks! nice instructable, BTW. i've seen variations on the tire shoe, but never something as simple as a flip-flop... and a carpeted flip-flop at that!
chifo6 years ago
these shoes are used in the sierra of Chihuahua by the native Tarahumaras I'm From Chihuahua Mexico thanks dude for this Instructable.
chifo chifo6 years ago
weave from paracord ...?
robbtoberfest (author)  chifo6 years ago
Awesome! Never knew about this. I read the whole article. thanks.
chifo chifo6 years ago
lbrewer426 years ago
How about running a small layer of the Shoe Goo (got mine at Wal-Mart) around the edge to cover the steel edges that stick out?
thanks man real life save i wear flips every day and you just showed me how to make an off-road version of my favorite foot-ware. Thanks!
kzazove6 years ago
Do you know how I can get these made in bulk to sell at my shoe store?
asians...thats all im going to
jaysbob6 years ago
next project you should attempt a pair of these bad boys:
pls jaysbob6 years ago
this was in Steal This Book! btw great instructable i need to make these in the summer
or you could make a hat out of it.
Charles IV7 years ago
Where in the world do you get shoe glue??
robbtoberfest (author)  Charles IV7 years ago
The name brand is "Shoe Goo". That might help find it.
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