Introduction: $2 Running Shoes

Rather than pay a gym membership, it saves time and money to go running outside. Running barefoot, a lot of evidence shows, is how are bodies were meant to run. But I worry about broken glass and gravel, so I need something to protect my tender soles.

I bought some Vibram Five-Fingers that are a tad too small on my right foot, so they crush my toes. I have been running in socks recently but they wear out quickly. So I tried making some running shoes with socks and hot glue. It's ridiculous, but it works, and it was fast to make them.

Materials and tools:
Cardboard to cut foot shape out of
Sharpie to trace feet
Scissors and stapler to build foot molds
1 Pair of socks
About 9 sticks of high temperature hot glue
Camping stove or something else to melt glue
Cookie sheet
Parchment paper or wax paper to melt glue on

Takes about 15-30 minutes

Step 1: Making Cardboard Cutouts of Your Feet

1. Trace your feet out on cardboard with a sharpie*
2. Cut the shapes out with scissors and even them out by stacking them on top of one another.

*I found out that I traced my heels a little too loosely, so the base of the heel of the sock was a little too broad for my feet. Trace the heels of your feet more tightly to achieve a better fit.

Step 2: Add Glue Dipping Handles

1. Cut out and fold two small pieces of cardboard to use as a handles for dipping the socks in the melted hot glue
2. Staple the handles to the heel-end of the cardboard feet
3. Push your cardboard feet into the socks (make sure you don't have two left feet)

Step 3: Melt the Glue and Dip the Socks

Get adult supervision if you need to (I'm 25 but I had my dad help me)

1. Prepare your heat source (I used an outdoor camping stove)
2. Cover your cookie sheet with parchment paper or wax paper
3. Place your glue sticks evenly along the whole length that you need to dip the socks
4. Slowly and carefully melt them on low heat (I burned some of the parchment paper by accident)
5. Once melted, remove the glue from the heat source and press the whole bottom of the sock onto it, remove and check for an even coating (push the sock at every location for a total of about 30 seconds)
6. Dry the glue bottom up*
7. Repeat steps 3-6 for the other sock

*or for #6 you can try setting the socks glue down on a sheet of parchment paper or wax paper. As you can see in the last picture in this step, it peels of easily and creates a flat running surface

Step 4: Go for a Run

The shoes take about 5 minutes or so to dry. At this point you should be able to separate them from the cardboard mold and try them on and go for a run. I was able to walk fairly comfortably on gravel. They offer more protection than socks, but less than my Vibram five-fingers. I haven't had a chance to go for a substantial run or to see if they can be machine washed (I'm not gonna machine dry them that's for sure)

I'm excited to try this with toe socks. Or maybe you would like to? Comments welcome!