Duct Tape and Tire Shoes




About: 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 of nothing, making something old new or using trash to make something beautifu...

I would never have done this project if it weren't for instructables... That is one the the reasons that I love this site so much. It inspires me to create and do something different. This one is definitely different from my normal projects.
I really love working with wood, especially reclaimed wood, but I need to start to reaching outside of my comfort zone. These contests are crazy fun and they get me to try new and exciting things. So with out further ado, here is my comfortable duct tape, t-shirt shoes with a tire sole.
I really wanted to make a pair of shoes out of duct tape but I didn't want them just to be a novelty item. I wanted them to be strong and durable and comfortable to wear. So this is what I came up with.
I've been wearing them for like a week now and they are doing pretty well. I get a lot of looks while wearing them, probably the color, my son picked out the tape.
This was a super fun project and they only took a couple of hours to make. Hope you like it and enjoy

Step 1: What You Need

Duct tape

A NON- steel belted tire



Band saw

Brad nailer( optional)

That's it

Step 2: Duct Tape Fabric

So duct tape it super strong but not very comfortable to wear. I wanted to have a pair that I could wear around without the sweaty slippery foot thing. So I decide to combine the tape with an old t-shirt and the end result was pretty great.
The first thing you have to do is cut out a large piece of t-shirt. I kind of did a test run holding it over my foot and then cut it slightly larger than I needed.
I was trying to imitate the toms style shoe so hopefully you can see the similarities. This part is really simple. Lay out your t-shirt and layer the tape on in a pattern that suits your taste. I added a white piece to give it a little contrast and I think it looks pretty cool.

Step 3: The Heal Portion

You can start the back of the shoes in the same way. Cut a longer skinny piece of t-shirt for the back. I wanted a thin tape strap to weave the back so I thinly folded white tape and wove it through.
Remember to make your fabric bigger than to need it. You can alway cut it down.

Step 4: Tire Sole

This part was super fun and incredibly frustrating. I wanted the sole to be different but still comfortable. I experimented with cardboard, carpet and a memory foam floor mat before I thought about a tire. Once I knew what I was going to do there was no turning back.
When you try this, please don't use a tire with steel belting. It is not worth it, believe me I tried. I'm not sure how to tell if a tire has a steel belt so I cut up like 4 car tires before I gave up and used an atv tire.
Start by cutting out the side wall. I did this really easily by welding a razor blade on to and old multi tool blade. This cut the rubber like butter. Cut a section to a length that is slightly longer than your foot. I used a shoe that I really liked and traced the sole onto the tire. After that all you have to do is cut out the pattern with and band saw(that's just what I used) sand the edges and you have a great looking used tire sole for your shoes.

Step 5: Put It All Together

I will admit that I had no idea how to do this when I started... Well I still don't but it's done. If you know of a better way to shape duct tape fabric I would love some advice.
That being said, this is how I did it. Start by placing your sole on a sturdy cardboard box. The reason you use a box is because the staples need to shoot through the box and then it has to be pulled out. Put you foot on the sole and wrap the heel fabric around your foot. Now this should be the point when I say "remove your foot and staple the fabric on the sole" but if I'm being completely honest, I left my foot there while stapling. I know it wasn't smart but that's what I did and thankfully, I did not staple my foot.
Please find a better way to do this. What's the old saying, do as I say, not as I do.
Anyway, after the heel is done, place the front fabric where you want it and staple some more.
When you have all the fabric stapled you can cut the excess off with a good pair of scissors. Test the fit to make sure you don't have to tighten them up and you are ready to go!

Step 6: Final Touches

Because these are toms imitation shoes I had to give them a few finishing touches. The patch on the back and the tag in the middle of the shoe are what you would find on most of toms shoes.
I really hope that you liked this project. I had so much fun making them and I'm really happy with how they turned out. Hope you give these a try and have a blast doing it. Thanks so much for looking!!

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    12 Discussions


    3 years ago

    Echodog, you are standing by me. I don't have access to a band saw. Thanks for helping me out.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    I have to say, I'm pretty impressed with the way you put this together. I do have a couple of suggestions, but they are nothing but good ideas based on reading I've done about other tire sole shoe projects, primarily sandals.

    First, it might be possible to cut out the sole by tacking or stapling the piece of tire down to a slight larger plank, then using knife to cut the outline of the sole. The only reason I bring this up is because I've read that the using a band saw can generate nasty smoke, or some may not have access to a band saw. Other people use a squirt bottle to keep the cut lubricated and prevent the tire from smoking if they use a band saw.

    As for keeping the shoe upright while attaching the upper to the sole, the best idea I can think of is plastic bag pushed into a sock, then filled up with enough sand to simulate a foot. It's not quite like a having a wooden last inside the shoe, but it might work.

    I've actually been thinking about doing something similar to this, although as I have fairly small, narrow feet, I was hoping to use some old fat tire mountain bike tires for the sole.

    1 reply

    Thanks for all the great ideas! You should definitely give this one a try and a bike tire would be really cool


    4 years ago

    You did such a good job! Maybe you could make a couple of wooden feet to your size for your future "stand in" models for attachment time? Kinda like how dress makers use those things that look like a torso (what's the name of those things). I liked reading this and seeing the shoe come into being. I'm amazed also how you cut that tire with a razor, brilliant thinking

    2 replies

    Thank you!! It was a really fun project and I'm glad you liked going through it. Thanks for the wood form idea, definitely safer.

    So the way that I did it, it cut like warm butter. Now remember, this only works this well on non steel belted tires. But the razor was the way to go. Try it and you will be amazed


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Very cool! Nice to see you "branching out" a bit! :)

    Cutting tires is a huge pain! But it looks like you got it done quite nicely. Good work!

    1 reply

    Thanks so much... I guess it does feel pretty good venturing into new uncharted waters. I think I'll keep doing it! We will see what comes of it.