Introduction: Make Your Own Wear Anywhere "barefoot" Shoes
*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!
Step 1: Materials
1: A pair of toe-socks
2: Sugru! can be purchased at http://sugru.com/
* Unfortunately, the Sugru I had ordered for this project has not arrived yet, so the project is not yet complete. In the mean time, I used model magic clay in order to model the finished project. The Sugru was scheduled to arrive around the 15th, but there have been multiple cases where people have not received their package in over 17 days... thats holiday mailing service for ya!
3: Soapy water (just put in a cup for now)- only a very small amount of soap is needed
4: Some sort of mesh to create texture or even a hairbrush
5: A sheet of wax paper or something to prevent sticking. I used pieces of packing tape and just folded it over itself to get rid of the sticky side.
6: Optional rubber gloves to prevent fingerprints. When experimenting with the model magic, multiple fingerprints were visible. I am hoping that by using rubber gloves dipped in soapy water, the Sugru will smooth onto the sock nicely.
Step 2: The Internal Structure
The internal structure of the shoe is a toe-sock, which can easily be purchased at many department stores or online. I purchased a pair online from Amazon.com since I am currently attending college in the middle of nowhere... Anyways, the underside of the sock will be surrounded by a silicone type material called Sugru.
Step 3: Adding Sugru
Sugru is a material which is extremely durable, flexible, waterproof and best of all, easy to clean! These properties combined make Sugru a great material to make a shoe out of.
Begin by putting the toe-sock on your foot. It should fit snugly, just like any other normal sock. Open your packs of Sugru and kneed them together in order to create a ball of material.
***NOTE: It may be very beneficial to visit Sugru's website to learn how to properly use Sugru and open the package***
Start at the heel of your foot and add material approximately 2mm thick. The Sugru should mold nicely to the meshing of the socks. Surround the ball of the heel of your foot to increase support.
Continue to add Sugru to the bottom of the foot until you reach your toes. In order to prevent your toes from sticking together, cut small strips of wax paper (or strip of tape with soapy water) and place the strips in between each toe. Add Sugru around each toe (enough to encase each toe).
Step 4: Texture
Texture: After the bottom of your foot is complete, take the mesh/hair brush and dip it into the soapy water so it does not stick to the Sugru. Press lightly onto the Sugru to create texture. By creating a texture, the shoe will have better traction against floor surfaces. Pretty much anything could be used to create a texture!
Time to cure!
Sugru cures at room temperate after a 24 hour time period. BUT WAIT.. I'M STILL WEARING THE SOCKS! After about an hour of waiting, the Sugru should begin to cure and be safe to remove and set aside to finish curing (but still be very careful not to alter the molded shape). In the mean time watch some TV or read more instructables =D
Step 5: The Finished Product
After 24 hours the Sugru should be completely cured! Slip your pair of "barefoot" shoes on and enjoy the flexibility of your new shoes.
Sanding: If there are any unwanted bumps, Sugru can be sanded down and shaped quite easily.
Colors: Since Sugru comes in many different colors, you can make multiple colored barefoot shoes!
Step 6: Whats That Smell??
Cleaning: The bottom of the shoe can be cleaned with soap and water. I would reccommend occasionally hand washing the sock portion of the shoe as you would normally wash delicates (feet do smell...). You can then leave the shoe out to dry, or if in a rush dry using a hairdryer.
I have not yet attempted to machine wash these and am unsure what will happen. Sugru is resistant up to 180 °C, so I am not too worried about temperature in the dryer, yet unsure about the constant rotating and bouncing around in the wash/dryer. If anyone tries machine washing/drying let me know if it works =]
*Update- I have heard from people that Sugru is extremely difficult to remove from clothing, so i'm pretty sure it will be fine!
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