Introduction: Wooden Eco Sandals

Hello Fellow DIYers!

This instructable is a project I've been working on for some time. It's a sandal made of wood and crafted by a laser cutter using a simple cut called the "living hinge," this cut allows the sandal to bend well. I hope you enjoy!

Step 1: Materials

For this Instructable you will need the following:

  1. Downloaded file (Adobe Illustrator: here SVG file: here)
  2. Laser cutter
    • I was able to use one in a prototyping lab, at the local university. A few other options could be:
      • Laser Cutting Service (many online that you can just send the file to and they will cut it for you)
      • Makerspace. Lots of Makerspaces are popping up all around hopefully, there is one near you!
  3. Bike tire
    • The tire can be any type of bike tire. I would suggest using a road or hybrid tire, these are the easiest to glue to the sole of the shoe.
    • I was able to find bike tires at my local bike shop. I called and was able to get them for free before they reached the dumpster.
  4. 1/8" Thick general medium wood.
    • The width and length should be small enough to fit in the laser cutter but it should be big enough to cut out a pair of shoes. Approximately 12x24 is a good size.
  5. Super glue
    • I would suggest using super glue that dries in a few seconds. This helps because you can quickly add the sole to the shoe however, you do have to make sure you have situated the tread correctly with the fast drying glue.
  6. Scissors and Exacto knife
  7. Hand clamps
    • These are for the purpose of holding the tread down while gluing. They should be small and if you don't have them you can always use a heavy book or object.
  8. Bike tire inner tube
    • This is used to make the straps.

Step 2: Download and Scale

The link for the laser cut design is here:

Adobe Illustrator: here

SVG File: here

Once you have downloaded the design you may have to scale it down or up. The current file is designed for about a size 10.5 Men's (US) or a 43-45 (Euro.)

Scaling the Shoe

There are two downloadable options, Adobe Illustrator and an SVG (Scalable Vector Graphic.) I used Illustrator when designing the shoe. If you do not have Illustrator you can use open source SVG editors like Inkscape or others found with a quick Google search.

Step 3: Laser Cut the Shoe

You can laser cut the main part of the shoe personally or professionally. Before you laser cut the shoe, you need to calibrate the laser. There are a few special settings:

Vector Cut

  • Power = 45
  • Speed = 8.3

Vector Engrave

  • PPI= 800
  • Power = 100
  • Speed = 8.3

Additional Info:

The shoe is cut out using vector engrave because the outline and the arch cut have to be separate settings. For the vector engrave to cut all the way through I just gave it the standard settings for the regular "Vector Cut." This is so that the arch cut does not cut all the way through so there is a surface to glue to.

Step 4: Cut Tire

  1. First, use the Exacto knife to cut out the metal rim on the inside of the tire. There are TWO of these per tire.
  2. Once you have taken the metal rim out, use scissors to cut the tire into separate tread pieces. There will be a total of three pieces on the bottom of each shoe. The pieces should be the width of the shoe, one at the toe, one right below it (around the balls of your feet), the last is right in front of your heel. These can be placed anywhere you like and more can easily be added for traction.

Step 5: Glue Tread & Straps

I like to use hand clamps to hold the tread down while gluing. BEFORE gluing the tread you may want to decide a strap pattern. You will also have to cut the straps to your desired length using an Exacto Knife or scissors and the bicycle inner tube.

There are many designs for straps, it is all personal preference. I like putting a strap around the balls of my feet, I usually glue it under the second tread. You can also glue a heel strap under the third tread placement. The strap design is whatever you would like it to be. I really like a front strap and a heel strap, this keeps my foot from sliding around in the shoe and is quite comfortable.

If you do not like the inner tube straps another option is using old leather. I was able to get some from a local second-hand shop and it was very easy to cut by hand.

Once you have glued all the straps and tread you are good to go!

Step 6: Strut Your Latest Creation!

Special thanks to Sean and his team at the IMRC center!

Wood Contest 2016

Participated in the
Wood Contest 2016

Footwear Challenge

Participated in the
Footwear Challenge