$4 Spiked Shoes (for Painting) From the Dollar Store

I'm getting ready to get rid of carpet in my house and refinish the plywood underfloor with Sanitred (which is the cheapest and easiest way to create durable smooth-surface floors I've found after some research). This mostly boils down to painting the plywood with several coats (of a couple different formulations) of silicone rubber.

One of the recommended pieces of equipment for this job is a pair of spiked shoes -- in case you need to walk across the freshly painted surface without marring it with shoe prints. Unfortunately, after further internet research, I've found that said shoes cost $20 and up (with some models being over $100), despite consisting of some flimsy plastic soles with a few spikes and straps. Also, they usually come in "Men's size 10-12", which, to me (I fit into children's size 3-4) would be the equivalent of wearing snow shoes while working. I'm not known for superior balance and coordination skills, and would rather not shell out twenty bucks or more on something that will likely cause me to faceplant into wet rubber paint and then have to fix the mess.

So, I decided to try making a pair, and went to see what I could find at the dollar store to help me. Having invested $4 in materials (and with surprisingly little effort) I was able to make a pair of reasonably comfortable spiked shoes in my size.

(BTW, I did test them by walking around on some linoleum -- they held my weight without buckling or losing any spikes, and felt stable under me.)

Step 1: Tools and Materials


* Glue gun and glue sticks (these can often also be found at the dollar store). Or another adhesive of your preference (like rubber cement, or Goop or Shoe Goo, etc).

* Soldering iron or pyrography tool with a long tip suitable for cutting plastic.

* Marker


* 1 pair of foam rubber flip-flops (frills and sparkles optional).

* 2 plastic cutting boards (the ones they had in stock were small, but if you find a large one, you may not need two of them). Please note that these cutting boards aren't the flexible "disposable" kind -- I don't think those will work, as they might have too much "give" to force the spikes to maintain their orientation.

* 1 box of thumbtacks (I lucked out -- they only had the plain metal kind, like nails with wide caps; unfortunately the ones with long plastic necks won't work, so if that's all you can find, you might have to go to an office supply store).

Alternative design:

If you need shoes with longer and more securely attached spikes, such as for lawn aeration, and don't mind spending a little more, substitute long bolts, nuts to fit them, and wide washers for the box of thumbtacks (I would suggest 8 bolts, 8 nuts and 16 washers per shoe).

Step 2: Cut Out Soles

Put the flip-flops on the cutting board(s) and trace the outlines with the marker. Then take your soldering iron and use the outlines to cut a couple of rigid soles out of the plastic. These will hold the spikes in place, preventing them from twisting under your weight or sinking up into the foam of the flip-flops. I highly recommend getting an extension cord and doing this step outside, if possible, or at least in front of an open window -- melting plastic will produce nasty fumes.

Step 3: Attach Spikes

Glue thumbtacks to the plastic outsoles at regular intervals. I really didn't know how much stress the cutting boards, the thumbtacks, and the glue would be able to take without giving out under me, so I opted to use LOTS of thumbtacks to lessen the pressure on each one. If you do use hot glue, make sure to find and remove all the thin filaments it makes when pulling away the gun, or they'll make streaks on your paint later.

Alternative design (not pictured)

If you opted to go with nuts, bolts, and washers, then you can either use a drill to make holes for them or use the soldering iron to melt the holes (though I'd recommend switching to a rounded tip for this, if you were using a long flat one for cutting, like me). Try to distribute the bolts evenly around the sole and use one washer on top and one below the board, pinching the plastic around the bolt. See how well the spike placement works by standing on one of the completed soles, and try another configuration if necessary -- the integrity of the plastic shouldn't be seriously compromised by a few extra holes.

Step 4: Attach Flip-Flops

Glue the flip-flops to the new spiked outsoles. (Whatever you do, don't use superglue or any other cyanoacrylate-based glue in this step -- it is a mortal enemy of foam)

You are done -- give them a try!



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    10 Discussions


    4 years ago on Introduction

    This would be great, I think, for aerating the garden or the plastic mulch in a garden.


    4 years ago

    I would probably end up trying to put them on upside down.
    These things don't mess up the freshly painted floor?


    4 years ago

    Wonderfully cheap... And functional. Great 'ible!


    4 years ago

    Great idea. Another way could be to push the thumbtacks through the rubber. this would sandwich the tack's head between the 2 materials.