Introduction: Sandals From an Old Auto Tire, Pt. 2

Picture of Sandals From an Old Auto Tire, Pt. 2

Improve the comfort and look of the straps for your tire sandals.

Step 1: Make the Basic Sandal

Picture of Make the Basic Sandal

Follow cthoyes fine step-by-step to get the basic sandal from a tire, but skip the tabs on the sides and back of the sole. You won't be needing them. You'll find it is much easier to cut out the sandal without the tabs for straps.

Step 2: Chisel the Slits for Your Rubber Strips and Feed the Strips Through

Picture of Chisel the Slits for Your Rubber Strips and Feed the Strips Through

I originally made a sandal with rubber tabs but I wasn't happy with how they wrapped around. Uncomfortable and unwieldy, at least on mine. Once you have the basic shape cut out, keep using your chisel to cut slits right through the sandal top to bottom where you want the straps to be. You'll have to cut some 1" wide and 4" long strips of rubber from the tire sidewall at the thinnest point, four per shoe. Feed the strips through the shoe and bend them around as shown.

Step 3: Wire the Rubber Strips to the Nylon Straps

Picture of Wire the Rubber Strips to the Nylon Straps

I used thin steel wire as 'stitching' for the straps. Strong thread or monofilament could be used, I suppose. Because I fed the wire through by hand, I predrilled the holes through the rubber strips for the wires using a very small drill bit. The hole closes up but the wire can still be easily threaded through. Poke it through the nylon and pull the whole thing tight with needlenose pliers. Be sure to run the wires from the inside out. Even though you crimp the wires down into the rubber, no point in taking a chance on a painful wire poke in the side of the foot. This solution makes clean, nonbinding straps that look professional and hold on surprisingly well. I've been test driving mine for a couple of weeks and am really satisfied. Last pair of sandals I plan on owning. Have fun.


ottawafm (author)2015-04-01

I like your side strap attachment idea, great job!

prince-of-weasels (author)2012-06-11

You can 'harvest' great sandal soles from the side of major highways.....where 18 wheel trucks have blown out a tire that was recapped.This sometimes as much as an inch thick rubber tread was glued onto the tire casing and has no steel at all to contend with! As for attaching straps............make the sole 1/2 in wider than your foot then cut a leather or foam(like flip flops) top.Cut slots /holes in the top and lay straps UNDER it then contact glue down to the tire sole.Use the extra half inch to pound in domed carpet tacks for both decorative and structural purposes...........for real fun make them 2in. to long and with a sharp knife cut out toes for a bigfoot/barefoot sole ^_^

gaspargs (author)2009-09-21

how did you cut the tire?? Is it A steel radial tubeless? or a nylon bias tire?? This sandals are great!!!

micmac (author)gaspargs2009-09-21

It's steel belted and I cut it with an angle grinder. Wear your safety glasses. I'm serious.

BromKim (author)micmac2010-09-04

Forget the chisel if you have a reciprocating saw (a.k.a. Sawzall) or a medium duty jigsaw. Steel belted radials cut easily with either, using a metal cutting blade.

BECKY2 (author)2008-07-13


micmac (author)BECKY22008-07-13

I used cheap equipment nylon straps, like you use for securing equipment on a truck or pallet. Should be able to get them from those discount bins at a hardware store. You can pick up the buckles from sewing supply stores for cheap if you haven't salvaged them from elsewhere.

KittyF (author)micmac2010-08-29

or salvage the whole assembly from a worn out backpack

temetnosce (author)2010-08-27

I have access to old non-steel belted tires if anyone is interested. Shoot me a message....

eric55 (author)2010-08-02

Hi, great instructable. I grew up in South Africa and the blacks over there make these sandals (guaranteed for 10,000km) they used inner tube as the straps fitted the same way as thongs (Australia) or flip flops or slip slops. My father over there will find out how they are fastened and I will let you know. BTW inner tube is good because it has an elastic quality.

exodous (author)2010-04-21

I was wondering if your tire had steel radials.  I've been looking around and pretty much all modern tires use them.  I found some riding lawn mowers that didn't have steel radials but they are thinner and not as rigid as car tires.

Anyway, if they did how did you cut through them?  Does the chisel method you describe work for steel radials?

micmac (author)exodous2010-04-21

Read over the comments - much input about that topic. This Instructable uses steel radials. You can chisel through the steel wires and pass either rubber or nylon through the slits. It's no fun, but you can do it. 
Seriously, wear eye protection. Those wires will get you. 

whisperingslim (author)2009-10-03

them soles r v tuff cut in 2 sole half way down below nylon thread .then up cinch

Olaf_First_962 (author)2009-07-23

With the rubber straps going through the bottom like that, do they tend to wear first? Would it be too hard to angle the holes out the side so you don't walk on the bottoms of your straps? Or would that cause the sole to separate? After a few more "miles" on your test drive, please let me know!

micmac (author)Olaf_First_9622009-07-24

The rubber going through does wear a bit but not much. I doubt it would work to angle the straps through the side. In any case it is a fifteen minute job to replace the rubber straps if they get seriously thin or break.

Olaf_First_962 (author)micmac2009-07-24


bodgermorg (author)2009-04-24

Pop rivets work great too on the nylon webbing. Your wire stitches would be much easier to replace though...and cheaper.

uktena (author)2008-10-28

My feet swell a lot in hot weather. We could also put velcro strips on the straps instead of buckles for fast, easy adjustments and less rubbing on the skin while walking. Just an idea! Thanks for all the great info!

fegundez1 (author)2007-10-18

i have a pair of mex sandals i bought in t j over ten years ago,they are indestructible...except the craftsman who made mine used some sort of heavy duty glue to attach the straps and the leather lining to the sole.the glue eventually wore out and the straps came out so i had to re-attach,but only after about four years

ogeezer (author)2007-07-21

I used to make Ho Chi Mihn sandals for all members of our family, from the original design I'd seen countless times while serving in Vietnam, but micmac's design is better, particularly the strap assembly, illustrating Yankee-ingenuity at its best. Great idea, I'll have to try it out with my next tire change.

noah joad (author)2006-08-27

Hi, micmac.You said you used steel belted tires.How did you manage to cut them? I want to make me a pair of tire sandals, but tires without steel seems to be hard to find.

micmac (author)noah joad2007-01-25

I used an angle grinder to cut the tire. It was messy, noisy, and stunk, but I couldn't face the struggle with a saw. It didn't take long at all once I got the hang of it. It IS tough to find tires w/o steel nowadays. Once you are done cutting them out, go over the edges with a pair of cutters and clean up any wires poking out. Instant pain/blood on any part of the body touched with the edge otherwise. I think the steel is essential to the sandal's success when it comes to the straps.

Pkranger88 (author)micmac2007-03-25

Non-steel belted tires can be found very easiliy. Go to your local ATV/Outdoor powersports shop and they will probably have tires just laying around. ATV tires are usually steel free to allow for flex as they travel. Superswampers are steel-free I believe. If nothing else, get yourself some Firestones. They should delaminate easy enough.

micmac (author)Pkranger882007-03-25

Thanks for the tip. I found (but did not retrieve) what looked like a motorcycle tire a couple of weeks ago that I'm pretty sure would be good. The problem is that you want a wide enough tire and one with enough circumference that a cut sole would lay flat. Of course auto tires are fine. Not sure about ATV tires. They would be be wide enough for sure though. I would love to hear from anyone who uses this design with a steel-free tire as to whether the sole slowly 'rips' along the cuts where the straps go through. I suspect the steel is important for toughness.

Pkranger88 (author)micmac2007-03-27

I happen to have some laying around. I'll see about getting some made and posting the results

sandallover (author)2007-01-24

great sandals.I have a pair of leather toe loop sandals with tyre soles

danburite (author)2006-09-14

noah- you can cut steel belted tires with a carbide hacksaw blade- it helps if you lubricate the cutting with drops of water. this project is also covered in "steal this book", along with lots of other neat stuff. diy data that predates the web...

bowdenja (author)2006-07-06

Check out this site. He has an idea that ellinates punching the holes for the straps. He just integrates them into the sole.


laernmoer (author)2006-07-02

you could do the mexican method with their huaraches: 1) tack/glue thick leather to the top of the sandal to make it more comfortable. After a few months of wearing them, you can't tell your foot from the sandal. 2) the straps could be nailed to the rubber - I see you're thinking Teva, not flip-flops. Anyone else designing their own shoe, I would recommend noting how many huaraches are designed - this is probably 50+ years of trial and error practical research. Teva has orthopedists and $$$ to test a comfortable design. Ignore this comment if you're happy with this design. They definitely work - my friend's had his huaraches for 3 years and swears by them.

micmac (author)laernmoer2006-07-03

I have never actually seen a real pair of Mexican sandals, despite my proximity (Corpus Christi, TX) I always heard from former owners that nailed-on straps failed in short order. Got any photos of your friend's? I'd like to see the real deal.

micmac (author)2006-07-02

I didn't put the nylon right through the rubber to keep it off the ground where it would eventually fail from rubbing on concrete, etc., and I wanted to keep all metal off the ground. I also used a steel-belted tire so I doubt I could get nylon through that mess without it shredding. I tried rivets, but they really are no good in rubber. I like the idea of using rubber for the strap itself - a slip on. That has real potential. ...And I'm sorry to all for forcing you to look at my feet ;)

Jambe (author)2006-07-01

Hey, this is really neat. Would it be possible to cut some strips of the tipe that were, oh 2-5 inches in width, and attach them via stichtching just like the blue strap closest to your toes? That would make the sandal into a slip-on, with a wider slot in the front so that it doesn't fall off readily. You could probably even cut ventilation slots in it!! Awesome idea. I might have to try this myself!

mpap89 (author)2006-06-30

he could have used an awl for the stitching on the sandle strap to the rubber.

radiorental (author)2006-06-29

awesome!! could you not stitch the webbing directly to the side of the sole?

About This Instructable




Bio: I'm an incurable tinkerer and builder and will often spend way too much time and money on whatever project is on the radar today.
More by micmac:Body Impaling Special Effect for HalloweenFront Pocket WalletSandals from an old auto tire, pt. 2
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