Introduction: Blown Tire Shoes

Picture of Blown Tire Shoes

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

Step 1: Mark and Cut

Picture of Mark and Cut

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

Picture of Drill Holes

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

Picture of Cut Carpet to Fit

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.

Step 4: Make Straps

Picture of Make Straps

-Cut the plastic shopping bags in half from top to bottom. Then take three of the bags and hang them on a door handle and braid them; do this 4 times.
-Take the ends of the braided bags and use the candle to melt the ends into hard tips. Leave 2 straps with an unhardened end.
-Route these straps into the holes as shown in the pictures; tie the forward strap to the back cross strap and trim off the extra plastic.
-Under the shoe, melt the plastic strap tips with the candle and smush 'em flat, this will harden and hold the straps on the shoe.

Step 5: Let the Glue Dry

Picture of Let the Glue Dry

Let the glue dry and enjoy these new kicks.


T0BY (author)2016-12-06

Awesome idea!

barefootflash (author)2011-03-15

Plastic bags is such an awesome idea! I was gonna tie up some hemp for mine, but that's way cool, dude!

speda1 (author)barefootflash2015-08-14

I'd prefer a natural fiber too. Could use bamboo for the sole as well, the tire should be durable enough.

KunsztG (author)2015-05-08

kcolburn sr (author)2013-01-04

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....

a-lias (author)kcolburn sr2015-04-11

Because you're using the shoes the poor countries make?

Martin Melchior (author)2014-02-15

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 !

kludge000 (author)2013-03-11

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. :)

mary candy (author)2011-07-11

cool idea!

barefootflash (author)2011-03-15

Such a good idea!!!

jefflovescheese (author)2010-09-01

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.

DuctTapeRules! (author)2009-01-25

Good idea with the tire, although personally the scrap carpet is...kinda gross XP. Could've been soiled or something

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.

SDJ1 (author)2010-08-24

if you use off road motorcycle tires you get real good dirt traction, ;)

masterochicken (author)2010-03-02

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.

imrobot (author)2009-10-19

Are they comfy for braided shopping bags an old tire and a bit o' carpet?

theemilyforce (author)2009-10-03

Very Nice.

Uncle Kudzu (author)2009-02-13

i see those tire pieces everywhere. does the tread part of the truck tire also have the steel reinforcement, or just the sidewalls?

Yes, definitely steel in there. The hardest part of this project is cutting through the steel with a grinder.

ironsmiter (author)robbtoberfest2009-05-07

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!

chifo (author)2009-02-18

these shoes are used in the sierra of Chihuahua by the native Tarahumaras I'm From Chihuahua Mexico thanks dude for this Instructable.

chifo (author)chifo2009-02-18


weave from paracord ...?

robbtoberfest (author)chifo2009-02-18

Awesome! Never knew about this. I read the whole article. thanks.

lbrewer42 (author)2009-02-19

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?

from_what_i_know (author)2009-02-11

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!

kzazove (author)2008-04-23

Do you know how I can get these made in bulk to sell at my shoe store?

1thadeaus1 (author)kzazove2009-02-04

asians...thats all im going to

jaysbob (author)2008-05-21

next project you should attempt a pair of these bad boys:

pls (author)jaysbob2008-12-08


CapinPorcupine (author)2008-11-26

this was in Steal This Book! btw great instructable i need to make these in the summer (author)2008-06-18

or you could make a hat out of it.

Charles IV (author)2008-03-25

Where in the world do you get shoe glue??

robbtoberfest (author)Charles IV2008-03-26

The name brand is "Shoe Goo". That might help find it.

Charles IV (author)robbtoberfest2008-06-18


Try your local skate shop. It's mostly marketed to skaters.

nzlinus (author)Charles IV2008-03-28

Awesome project! How about Ados F2 contact adhesive? That stuff is usually pretty good...

Jbya (author)2007-09-30

In Vietnam - the VC wore these sandals as standard issue. They were actually a bit upscale compared to your version. Marnines called them "J.C. Waterwalkers". There are no new ideas. :)

axiesdad (author)Jbya2008-04-03

Also called "Ho Chi Minh sandals." Just some trivia from back in the day.

killerjackalope (author)2008-04-01

Cool shoes, oddly enough this has been done commercially in a secret manner, I notice that Nu-Rocks boots have the pirelli P-zero tread pattern on the bottom... As a tip for cutting the tyres use a reciprocating saw with a metal cutting bit for a cleaner cut and less steel hanging out, we used on for lopping open our special bulletproofs and cuttin chunks...

Rishnai (author)2008-03-24

A cutoff wheel! I didn't even think of that, but in hindsight it makes sense. I used just tinsnips and the last of my patience when I cut the patterns for mine. That was really a pain in the hand. I'll use your method for my next project, I think.

About This Instructable




Bio: Dad and hubby, good food enthusiast, solar energy, boating, making stuff, melting stuff, and raising chickens.
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