550 Paracord is arguably the most multi-function material ever. It's easy to find hundreds of Instructables on it's uses, but I set out to find something that hadn't been done yet. What didn't I find??? Paracord Foot Wear!! But why not? They'd be incredibly rugged and in one of those "survival situations" you have about 40 Feet of cord in one shoe. They don't look half bad either. Maybe there wasn't an Instructable, but there is now :-)
Step 1: Materials
This design is based off an existing sandal. Making a sole out of nothing but Paracord would have been a little much, so I recycled an old pair.
Also, this Instructable contains two designs. In the second you replace the old shoes with an old pair of flip-flops.
-One pair of shoes (Preferable Sandals), new or old, with a sturdy sole.
-100 feet of Paracord to be safe. As many colors as you like. (I picked black and white for contrast)
-The basics of any project, duct tape (Just in case) and a Swiss Army Knife (Scissors could stand in).
-A hot glue gun.
-Matches and a candle, or a lighter. Either will do.
-Access to a sink if you intend to clean the shoe components.
Step 2: Separating and Cleaning the Sandal
This step is easy enough. Using a knife and your fingers, pry the insole out of the Rubber exterior. Then separate the top portion of the shoe from the insole. The method can very from shoe type to shoe type, but be sure you keep everything. The pieces can make excellent guides.
If you have access to a sink, and if your sandals are anything like mine, I would suggest a very in depth cleaning. Dirt settles into the pockets underneath the sole, and the insole usually collects a lot of sweat.
Step 3: Making the Over the Top Straps
The next step involves a type of knotting very familiar to any avid user of of Paracord. The Cobra Stitch is generally used for Paracord wristbands, but it has an appropriate wideness for a comfortable shoe strap. If you aren't an experienced Cobra Stitcher, you can follow the pictures below for a quick reference, but if they don't suffice, YouTube has many instructional videos, and Instructables has many 'ables to show you how.
To start, take a long piece of your cord and hold it in half. The rule for length is usually one foot of cord per inch of stitch, plus 18 or more inches for safety. It's much better to have extra at the end than not enough. The pictures below show you how to loop the cord and how you go from there to the Cobra Stitch. You continue it until you hit the insole on the other side. Cut off the extra, but leave two inches or so and pull the knot very tight. Hot glue the entire Strap from the bottom, gluing down the extra two inches as well.
Repeat as necessary :-) The longer the strap, the more cord you need. If you don't want a back, you can leave off the large curved one.
Step 4: Gluing the Insole Into the Base
The title of this step says it all. Here's a quick fact. The amount of Glue you use will be directly proportional to how long the shoe lasts. Do NOT go easy here. I did on my first attempt, seen in the picture, and the insole fell out within a day of casual walking. The second attempt involved a more expensive hot glue and a lot of it. Maybe an epoxy or a silicone would work, but I haven't tried it yet.
Also, make sure all the pieces are put back inside the shoe. It'd be worth rechecking.
Step 5: Front to Back Lacing
Time to get creative!!!!! The photos here are just guidelines. You can do this step any way you wish. Just make sure you firmly attach the lacing either with hot glue, or my recommended method, the melt and fuse. I like using a candle as opposed to a lighter because it usually burns hotter and more consistently than a lighter. Since Paracord is Nylon it melts in high heat, and when black liquid Paracord meets the big white straps, you get a very strong bond between the two. Heating a butter knife and pressing it two a place where the two meet will yield a similar effect. Refer to the pictures for a better detailing.
Step 6: Show It Off :-)
Show off your classy, customized sandals on your next outing. Possibilities are endless.
-Thanks to my sister for modeling!
(The next few steps outline another idea, this time for a Paracord flip-flop.)
Step 7: Removing and Relacing the Flip-Flop Straps
The general design for all Flip-Flops is the same, so this part of the project is pretty straight forward.
Start by removing the original uncomfortable plastic strap by pushing the large diameter rubber pieces out of the bottom and cutting them with the pocket knife. Some will be harder than others. Don't throw away the plastic, but measure it instead, and cut an appropriate amount of Paracord plus some, about two feet this time. Never cut too little. Fold it in half, and thread it threw one of the two holes in the back, following the picture as a guide. Bring both lengths forward, and make sure they are appropriately proportioned to the original plastic strap. When you come to the front, take a pinch out of the bottom rope, and force it through the toe hole. Tie a knot in the bottom and follow the pictures for a guide. make sure the cord that will be going between your toes is long enough. Keep it proportional. From there, lace it back through the other hole in the back. Again, proportion to the original strap is key.
Step 8: Completing the Cobra Stitch
Referring back to step 3 here will be beneficial, since the start into the Stitch is almost exactly the same. From there it's just a basic cobra stitch up to the toe string. The pictures show how to work around it.
I I I I
V V V V
When you pass the toe string, continue to the other one of the two back holes.
Step 9: Finishing the Strap
At this point, it's really more important that the strings stay down than how you make it happen. I've outlined my technique, which involves a tuck under and melting the ends so they won't pull back out from under the loop.
Step 10: Strut It Out! and Imagine the Possibilities...
Here's the original sitting next to the rugged and amazing Paracord Flip-Flop.
This Instructable is really about a concept more than a blueprint. Your design is open to your own interpretation. Have fun with it!
Finalist in the