Instructables
*NOTE! The following images were created using Model Magic in order to model the finished project. Sugru would be stronger, apply more smoothly and look MUCH nicer! Model magic does not smooth very well and therefore there are many bumps/crevices.

How to make your own "barefoot" shoes/slippers!


Walking around barefoot has recently become more recognized as an acceptable form of fashion and comfort. Multiple studies have shown that the shape and increased height of typical shoes has resulted in increased back pain, foot pain, and poor posture. People who commonly go barefoot generally have stronger feet, with better flexibility and mobility, fewer deformities like flat feet or toes that curve inwards, and less complaints. Walking barefoot enables a more natural stride, eliminating the hard heel strike and instead, allowing for a rocking motion of the foot from heel to toe. Similarly, barefoot running usually involves an initial forefoot strike, instead of on the rear of the foot, generating smaller collision forces. *If you want more information on barefoot running... Google it!
Multiple companies have taken these studies to heart (such as Vibram) and have created shoes which make a user feel as though they are barefoot, yet these shoes are quite pricey! 

In this instructable I will be showing you how to easily  create cheap "barefoot" shoes. These shoes are great because the bottoms are waterproof and will not scratch indoor floors, making them the ultimate cheap shoes/slippers. They can be warn to the beach, outside, inside, college showers... pretty much anywhere!
 
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PaddyO6610 days ago

I like your technique! Should make for a very nice fitting shoe. (And a completely custom one at that!) Still, I wonder how safe it is to use the Sugru while wearing the socks? Does Sugru contain any solvents or chemicals that could be absorbed by the skin of your feet during the initial application to the sock? Anyways, very cool! I could never afford real Vibrams. This opens up a lot of possibilities. Thanks for sharing!

bob bobby4 months ago

reminds me of cloudy with a chance of meatballs

thonaker10 months ago
Here is my basic idea for barefoot shoes. You can use just regular socks on this design. I think the silicone will have enough flex, I hope, for a really good experience.

Cast your foot. Put on thin snug socks. You will need to spray them with some kind of release agent.

Make a silicone mold of your foot, in the socks, to cover your whole foot, up to, say, your ankle somewhere. Accurate, but slightly rough. Thick enough coating to hold a shape, but not too thick, because you need to get it off the foot. You may choose to just flatten some of the bottom around the toes, later. Maybe not. Anyway.

Slip off the mold, after it cures. You'll want it to be able to set fast, because you will be holding your foot still.

You'll want some release agent in your mold. Pour plaster, or other suitable material into the mold.

Let it dry. Stretch off the mold. Sand it down a little, so you get a final snug fit of your shoe.

Put release agent on the foot cast.

Paint or spray on oogoo, silicone, or tool dip. You want even coats. Put panels in place first, on the foot, where you want breathing holes, in the final shoe. Or you can just trim those out at the end.

Peal it off, after curing, now you have a silicone shoe, made just for your foot, that may be able to be repaired along the way. And shoes that fit each foot, perfectly, that's the idea. And you will just be using regular socks, and the shoe hopefully should have plenty of flex, to allow for proper natural flexing of the foot. And, you can choose different color socks to change up the color scheme, and you will have those breathing holes, to let the sock color show through. So, basically, this is a rubber sock, made for you, that we're going to style up.

How well it will work, not sure, but that's the basic idea. I don't have any pictures, because It's just an idea in my mind. I also think you might be able to stand in boxes and pour inthe original foot mold. Making the sole flat, which would be just fine. Just something to get the ideas flowing. I like my Vibrams, but, with the cost.
suayres3 years ago
Could you perhaps use the stuff you dip tool handles into to provide a cushy nonslip grip? Perhaps paint it on?
Advar suayres11 months ago
There's a spray-on version of tooldip too!
This is so cool, dude!
hey, how are these holding up ?
pyrobanana2 years ago
how many sugru packets did it take per foot?
k24tea2 years ago
It's been a while since this Instructable was posted using Model Magic (not Sugru as originally intended), and there are a few comments about using Sugru or Oogoo instead for greater durability. I'd really like to hear from somebody who has actually made them using Oogoo, regarding their durability after using them a while. Not Sugru (too $$ for me). I wouldn't want to have my 'sole protectors' suddenly fail me several miles from home, on a sharp gravel road in the middle of nowhere!

This is a brilliant Instructable, but I'd love to see it updated with the results from the other suggested materials. If I make them with Oogoo, I'll be sure to report back here. Meanwhile, does anybody have some experience with Oogoo's longevity in this application? Please?
thatskindacool (author)  k24tea2 years ago
I will be making another instructable in a few days on a more durable "barefoot" shoe (using a different material)- sorry about the wait and stay tuned!
blorgggg k24tea2 years ago
Bump
Under_miner2 years ago
I tried the sugru. It's a nice idea but the surgu lacks the initial stickiness to adhere properly. So save some money anyway and use one of the substitute instructions floating around this website. I know that you can change the stickiness by how much of an ingredient you add. So while I wouldn't use sugru, I think this instructable is a fantastic baseline plan for the shoes! Peace
bluepen083 years ago
Hey I was wondering if you ever received your sugru and finished your shoes... I see it has been a while since you last posted on this instructable
kikiclint3 years ago
I just made a useable pair out of Oogoo( silicone caulk mixed with cornstarch), and they work pretty good. I wasn't able to get that good of a finish, since my stuff came out pretty clumpy, but I now have custom fit thin soled running shoes. I did notice I was running a little more hard on my feet, than just barefoot though. Thank you for this wonderful Idea. It only cost me about 1/2 of a tube of $6 silicone. Mine were set and ready to use in about 3-4 hours.
What made you mix the silicon with the corn starch? I love experimenting. What does the corn starch do to the silicone.
The cornstarch absorbs the moisture and allows the acid in the caulk to dissipate to form a sugru like substance. They are awesome molds. There are some instructables that give you the right mix
It's an idea that has been floating around on Instructables. I've seen it used/mentioned in several on the site. See: http://www.instructables.com/id/How-To-Make-Your-Own-Sugru-Substitute/
I'd really love to see that. Hope you find time to post it here. All the best!
thatskindacool (author)  kikiclint3 years ago
Awesome! :] Could you possibly upload a picture and let me know how well they hold up. I'm going to have to experiment with oogoo, since it is much much cheaper =]
I wonder if some of that beady styrofoam mixed with silicone would make a great mix. I am reminded of the floam that the kids bought and played with till it dried out. What a cool project if they could have molded their feet..lol
vagabond103 years ago
Love the project! Did you ever finish them up with Sugru? It would be great to know how they work and hold up under use.
You are quite creative. I would love to see more.
Iam4NUru3 years ago
Hmm maybe grease your foot somehow and apply the sugru straight to your foot?I feel like you might slide out of a sock, maybe not so much with a toe sock.
Just throwin' out ideas.
That might be cool. Then just add an ankle strap? I am interested..More photos please. Love it!
thatskindacool (author)  Iam4NUru3 years ago
Yeah that might work too. I was originally thinking of molding my foot like you said to create a shell and then just wearing toe socks like socks in a normal shoe. Only problem is that I wasn't sure what a good/safe relase would be to get the extremely sticky sugru off my foot haha. Thanks for the idea :) let me know if you try it and how it works out
That is if you are going to be using these for running.
rachelmaryb3 years ago
Did the model magic actually work? Just a curious mind...
So you didn't actually used Sugru?
thatskindacool (author)  Nelson_Yepez3 years ago
Since the sugru I had ordered never arrived, possibly due to the holiday shipping overloads, I was never able to finish the project with sugru. I contacted the head of sugru, Jane, and she was nice enough to send me a replacement a few days ago. I am now just waiting for the package to arrive so I can finish and update the pictures which should have been done a long time ago!
brian2inven3 years ago
Cool, can't wait to see the finished project!!!!
rustyjack3 years ago
These are really nice and I'm looking forward to making these but how much surgru do you need? I would like to cover a little more than you have covered and do you think that 30g is enough for one shoe? This is a great idea and I love these kinds of shoes so I definitely will make these but I don't want to spend more than 40 $ including s & h.
thatskindacool (author)  rustyjack3 years ago
I couldn't give you an exact amount of Sugru needed since I still have not yet received it in the mail. I'm estimating about 4-5 packets/shoe, so 30g is definitely enough per shoe. You can buy a 12 pack for about $17, enough to make two shoes and have leftovers for random hacks :] I personally wanted my shoes to look somewhat normal, so I ordered black Sugru to go with the black toe socks.