Introduction: Spartan Footwear

About: Professional work in various electrical and mechanical fields, obscure sense of humour and typically willing to help... Currently under contract designing environmental monitoring equipment.

This type of sandal was inspired from the movie 300. It is not historically accurate and I have taken some artistic license with the design.

The pair shown here were fashioned form vinyl, foam and plastic. These are a one off and I will outline how I made these as they were made for my feet. It is a simple matter to make your own pattern and build your own.



Rubber cement

Craft foam 1mm and 5mm

fabric backed vinyl

1/16 to 1/8 inch thick ABS I used 2mm

Step 1: Begin

by tracing your own foot onto thick paper or card stock.

Place the pen perpendicular to your paper and run the pen around your foot.

I added a little width to the ankle of the pattern as shown in red.

I also marked the split between the big and second toe. This will be used to cut a place for a strap to pass through the shoe.

Step 2: Sandal Support

I used the pattern to make both a left and support. this was done by flipping the pattern and tracing the outline and toe split.

I originally was going to use a thin plywood but found that it creaked when stepped on. I chose to use a 2mm thick ABS sheet. This is flexible and quiet. May not be the best alternative but it worked for me.

It was cut along the trace line using a jig saw with a fine tooth blade.

Cleaning the edged is best handled with hand tools as a belt sander will form but melt the edges. A hand file proved to be the best solution.

I made the toe slot to accommodate a 15mm wide strap, it is about 17mm long

I then drilled a series of small holes for the toe split and finished the hole with small files.

I found that it is really important to remove all the sharp edges as they will most likely cut the vinyl straps and cover later on.

Step 3: Cover the Bases

I used the plastic bases to trace the shapes onto 1mm craft foam. the colour is not important as it will be hidden from view.

I also used the pattern to trace the shape onto the back side of fabric backed vinyl.

Starting from the inside I coated one side of the plastic and the opposite side of the craft foam with Barge cement. Any flexible contact cement will work, this one is specifically designed for shoes and leather.

When it was dry to the touch I carefully aligned the marks and pressed the pieces together. Get it right the first time, its permanent.

I trimmed off the excess around the edges then repeated the process with the craft foam side and back of the vinyl.

These were pressed together and rolled flat.

I flipped the whole thing over and applied cement to about a 1cm around the perimeter of the bottom as shown.

Once dry I gently stretched the vinyl in and pressed it in place all the way around.

I used a razor knife to trim off the excess and a scissors to nip off the high folds.

Lastly I cut in the middle of the toe slot, leaving about 2mm from the ends uncut.

Step 4: Straps

Since I really didn't like the look of traditional Spartan footwear I wanted a cleaner look.

I used an early prototype cutout to decide how I wanted the straps to wrap around the foot.

From movie stills and figurine pictures the first picture shows what I decided upon.

The straps were to be approx 15mm wide and wrap around the foot and lower leg. The fabric tape that I used for the decision process is about 1.5m long and it is still too short for the full wrap. My vinyl is only 140cm wide so I will need to join 2 strip together.

To make a strip I used a 30mm wide meter stick and marked the entire width on both edges.

I then divided the marks in 2 to make a centre line.

Again Barge cement was used to coat the entire strip on the back cloth side.

Once it was dry I folded each edge to the dividing lone then rolled it flat.

The joint was one end about 25mm in when the outside of one strip was trimmed and folded in the centre of one end of the other and held firm with Barge.

Step 5: The Walking Surface

Following the bottom of the sandal wrap as previously shown, I began to place the strap.

The join is the weakest point so I decided to fasten it to the bottom of the sandal. It was cemented in place then the rest of the straps were wrapped as shown.

I created a template from this to show where the straps would run.

I needed to have the straps slide so that they could be tightened properly.

I made a template for the strap slots the cut these out from 1mm craft foam. I used black since this will be exposed.

The 1mm foam pieces were then cemented to the bottom of the sandal in the proper pattern.

I then used the original pattern to cut a tread piece from 5mm craft foam.

The strap template was used to show where to apply the cement. This was also applied to the bottom of the sandal assembly.

Once both pieces were dry they were carefully aligned and pressed together.

I tested that the straps could still slide freely between the layers, success!

Now the other sandal was made in the same way.

Step 6: Paint

I was not completely happy with the colour and appearance so I had to finish the sole pieces by first sanding with a Dremel.

I used a paper towel to rub on a little Black acrylic paint then rubbed the majority of it off again before it dried. This artificially aged the vinyl and made it look well worn.

Step 7: Fit and Fastening

The straps are adjustable so I needed to do a final fit.

Following the original example I tightened the sandals to my feet then applied the wrap around the heel the ankle. The fastening point is on the back of the leg.

I marked the wrap with a sharpie. The straps were cut to length and Velcro was sewn on the ends of the straps.

The rough side was facing outward on the top of the inner strap. The fuzzy side was sewn on the inside of the outer strap. This will prevent chafing if the Velcro is not aligned properly

The now fit snug.

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