Introduction: Wood Sandals

Picture of Wood Sandals

When I saw the foot contest I thought to myself, I wonder if I could make a pair of shoes from wood. Turns out I can.
For some reason wood is my material of choice when it comes to my projects. I love the way that you can shape and mold it, the way it feels after a round of sanding, the smells and challenge that come along with it. I really love to make things out of wood that should not be made out of wood, and that's where these shoes come in.
In my opinion, shoes should not be made from wood. It is not a very comfortable thing to where on your feet. So that was the challenge, make wood shoes that look nice and are comfy to wear. Now that this project is complete I can tell you that although I wouldn't go hiking or run long distances in these shoes, they are pretty comfy to walk in. I still have some adjustments to make but they work very well.
So I hope you enjoy and thanks for looking!

Step 1: What You Need

Wood- I used a thick pallet board and some walnut I had laying around

Clothes line

An old floor mat

Planer

Sander

Clamps

Drill

Band saw

Wood glue

Step 2: The Wood

Picture of The Wood

I found this really great pallet that I had to use for something cool. It was a white oak pallet with super think boards... For pallets at least.
When I thought of making a pair of sandals I went right to that pallet. At first I was just going to use the pallet piece but it had a groove out of the center. So I had this walnut sitting around that would give the sandals a really cool contrast.
First thing to do was to harvest the pallet wood. I always use a sawzall to cut the nails. I think that this is the fastest way to get pallet wood. Then you have to use a punch to get the nails out and you're good to go.

Step 3: Joining the Wood

Picture of Joining the Wood

I cut the groove out of the pallet board so I had two even pieces. Then I cut a strip of walnut to place in the middle. I ran all of the edges through the joiner to make sure I would have flawless seams.
Then a healthy amount of glue and all sides and a whole bunch of clamps. I had it clamped for about 36 hours. 24 should be fine but I was away on a short camping trip with my son so it sat longer.

Step 4: Plane Then Cut It Out

Picture of Plane Then Cut It Out

Once the plank is ready I ran it through a planer to make sure that it was smooth and beautiful. I used a sandal to mark out my templet. I did not want the walnut to just go straight down the middle so I off set the pattern so it would be dangle. I thought thy looked kind of cool.
Then I cut out the pattern with the band saw. Then I touched it up with the bench sander to make it pretty.

Step 5: The Sole

Picture of The Sole

So I really didn't want to clomp around on bare wood so I needed a sole. While looking for something that would work I found this old floor mat out of my 1929 ford model a. This one was cracked so I got a new one for my car and left this one laying about because I can't seem to throw anything away.
So I glued both of the bottoms on the mat. I placed a cinder block on each one and let it sit for 24 hours. Then I cut them off of the mat and used the bench sander to clean up the sides.

Step 6: Cut and Drill

Picture of Cut and Drill

I wanted to make the sole flex so I marked out lines to cut. The lines that go the length of the shoe is for drilling and the lines going across is the cut lines.
I cut the base every 2 inches. Then I sanded the top edges it won't pinch your feet when you walk.
Then I drilled holes through the blocks to run the line through. In the toe I didn't drill all the way through. Then I started the clothes line and filled the holes with epoxy. When you have that done you can string it all together and start to see what your sandal will look like.

Step 7: The Top Band

Picture of The Top Band

I ripped another piece of walnut and cut it into 3 inch pieces. I also used one more piece of the pallet to get some color.
I drilled holes to run the line through and then sanded the edges smooth with the bench sander.
The top band needed to sit at a slight angle so I took one of the pieces and cut it at a angle to set on the bottom.
String all the pieces together and put them on the base.

Step 8: Last Step

Picture of Last Step

I drilled a larger hole in the bottom so the knot in the clothes line is flush with the bottom of the sandal. String everything together and show off your very unique sandals.
This was a really fun project that turned out better than I had hoped. Thanks so much for reading.

Comments

catkatyta (author)2016-06-21

such a great and fun idea. I would love to try them on!

Lorddrake (author)2016-05-27

These are really cool. Do you have any trouble with the sandals pinching the bottom of your feet because of the segments?

dgood3 (author)2016-03-20

i stumbled onto your wooden sandels looking for wood projects. i really like the look, and will start my attempt today. 1 ?for you thou, the "toe" where you drilled the whole not all the way, did you put apoxy in that only or all ? thanks really look awesome and thanks for sharing

dgood3 (author)dgood32016-03-25

my design whish i did the top with leather as well

ClenseYourPallet (author)dgood32016-03-27

Those look fantastic!! I love the leather... It looks great and I bet it helps the shoe stay on better. Thanks so much for sending me the awesome pics.

ClenseYourPallet (author)dgood32016-03-27

I did put epoxy in the toe hole. It was just gorilla glue 2 part epoxy and I let it set over night. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did! Please send a pic when you're done!!

BigBoulder123 (author)2015-10-21

Here's my attempt! I added A strap on the back to help my foot stay in. Thanks for the idea!

Those are totally fantastic!! I am so glad that someone gave this project a try!! Yours look great and I hope you had a good time making them!!

ottawafm (author)2015-10-02

These would look great with a set of wooden soles.

I totally agree. I say go for it!

hazzalandy (author)2015-08-27

Never mind the insanely cool sandals ( which I am going to make), tell us about the Ford model A!

Haha. The car is pretty cool. 29 model a coupe. Fully redone and runs like a champ. It was given to me by my grandpa because he knew how much I enjoyed the car, and we still go cruising together whenever we can. Thanks for the comment

mrceeky (author)ClenseYourPallet2015-09-15

Great project!! Enjoy reading about your model a and spending time with your grandpa.

ottawafm (author)2015-08-27

Fantastic project!!! Can you make an instructable but make a set of sandals instead of flip flops, maybe using leather straps?

jmdushi (author)2015-08-24

Wooden shoes are, once you get used to it, very comfortable but not as beautiful as yours.

ClenseYourPallet (author)jmdushi2015-08-26

Thank you so much.

Uncle Kudzu (author)2015-08-24

Crazy cool! The segmented foot bed is genius. Any pinching problems with that design?

Great job on the i'ble too. Very well illustrated.

Thanks so much.... No pinching problems at all. Before I rounded the tops of the blocks there was so moderate pinching but the sanding fixed that.

SWV1787 (author)2015-08-24

If only you had made them from sandal wood...

ClenseYourPallet (author)SWV17872015-08-26

Haha... That would have been way better

spiderham (author)SWV17872015-08-25

:)

JanetH9 (author)2015-08-24

Your wooden sandals are very modern!

ClenseYourPallet (author)JanetH92015-08-26

Thanks for the comment! It's fun to get a modern look with such a traditional material

redthorne made it! (author)2015-08-26

I didn't make mine wide enough. so I had to change the top part.

AWESOME!!! Those look great and I love the straps. What kind of wood did you use?

thanks for the idea. I used a pallet board. it was a nice wide one.

Pa1963 (author)2015-08-24

We used to have sandals with soles made out of old tires. Got them at JC Penneys or Monkey Wards, I think.

ClenseYourPallet (author)Pa19632015-08-26

I made a pair of duct tape shoes with tire soles too. They turned out pretty cool. Thanks for the comments

antagonizer (author)2015-08-24

Awesome design. I love how you solved the flexibility problem.

Thanks so much. The flex definitely make them way more comfortable to walk in.

Pa1963 (author)2015-08-24

My mom used to wear Dr. Scholl's wooden sandals all the time. And she'd crack me on the skull with them from time to time. That was pretty uncomfortable.

About This Instructable

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Bio: My Grandpa got me into wood working when I was five years old. Ever since then I have been hooked. I love creating something out ... More »
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