Build a Better Sandal




Like myself I'm sure many of you have purchased a pair of cheap thong sandals from a big box store when they were on sale for a couple bucks. However as the minutes passed from your initial purchase and the glee of owning a brand new pair of sandals wore off three serious flaws can be noticed. The first flaw is that these new thong sandals are incredibly uncomfortable to wear for more than 10 minutes, the second being that they look a lot like everyone else's cheap big box sandals, and thirdly they are very difficult to wear with socks! Do not worry though, your purchase can be saved through the marvels of duct tape. After following this instructable you will have transformed your uncomfortable, generic, and sock-blocking sandals into something more than footwear.

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Step 1: Materials

Below is a picture of all the materials that are needed for this transformation.
1) Duct Tape- Don't skimp on quality here a nice cloth duct tape will not only feel nice but add durability, I'm using plain canvas duct tape. Colored tape or gaffers tape would also work well.
2) A Good Knife- I'm using my Leatherman Skeletool but anything sharp will do.
3) Hot Glue Gun With Ammo
4) A Drink- Dehydration kills! I'm using Jones Cream Soda (alcoholic drinks tend to diminish the quality of the sandal)

Step 2: Show the Thong Who's Boss

Using your knife cut the rubbery thong from your sandal at the three points where it attaches to the sole. Remember to take out the bottom stopper on the underside of the sandal and avoid cutting into the sole of the sandal. Think of a novel use for the thong and comment or just throw it out.

Step 3: Make the Strap

Rip off a piece of duct tape the size of your sandal length wise sticky side up (Photo One)
With another piece roughly the same size put half of the sticky side to half of the sticky side of the original piece of tape (Photo Two)
Repeat the process in photo two taking care to line up the two smooth sides of tape up so no stickyness is exposed (err on the side of covering up the piece you laid down in photo two) (Photo Three)

If all has gone well you should have a nice smooth strap. Working with duct tape takes some practice to avoid creases, duct tape is cheap so try until it looks and feels good your feet will thankyou.

Step 4: Test Fit

Put your foot down on the sole of the sandal and wrap the strap around your foot. Step (with the sole) on the two loose ends of the strap. Move the strap around until it feels comfortable, then mark with you fingernail (yes your fingernail will show up on the foam sole for long enough) the outside edges of the strap. Then take your foot out and line up the strap with the marks so the loose ends are on the top of the sandal and the middle of the strap is tight against the bottom of the sandal. (see picture two) This will act as a cutting guide in the next step.

Step 5: Cutting Time

Using your knife score along both edges of the tape from the outside working towards the middle. Continue to make passes until you have gone aprox. half way through the sole. Leave about 2 cm (half an inchish) in the middle of the sole uncut. (Photo One) I realize that this next bit is a little tricky to follow but by looking at photo two it should make sense. Cut the sole in half between the two score marks you made earlier, this is where having a sharp knife is helpful just keep making passes between the score marks until you reach the middle section. This will create two flaps on the bottom of the sandal.

Step 6: Test Fit #2

Now slide one loose end in each flap in the bottom of the sandal and put your foot in. If it is too big then trim the strap with your knife until it is snug but still can be slipped on and off.

Step 7: Seal the Deal

Now fire up the glue gun and apply a thin coating of hot glue on both sides of the flaps on the sandal put the strap in and press good and hard for 28 seconds and repeat to the other loose end of the strap.

Step 8: Lather, Rise, and Repeat!

If you have one leg your done however if you need two sandals your only halfway done. On the plus side your now a pro at making awesome sandals. Why not show someone else how to do it while you do your second one?

Step 9: Done!

Bask in the glow of your sweet, comfy, original and sock-compatible sandals. I hope you had fun making your sandals, please rate and comment.

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    12 Discussions


    10 years ago on Step 8

    That's kind of a random photo....nice instructable though.....i never thought of doin that!

    1 reply

    6 years ago on Step 8

    TIP: you are done = you're done


    6 years ago on Step 3

    They make all kinds of colors and prints for duct tape now, so you could even customize them further (or match the color of the base, if you got color flip-flops).


    7 years ago on Step 9

    I just fixed my sandals thanks to you. :D I had an old pair of jeans with a hole in the crotch that I didn't want to repair, so I stole the waist band from them for the straps.

    It worked surprisingly well, and the ability of the hot glue to bond to the sandals is astonishing.

    spark master

    9 years ago on Step 8

    use rtv rubber cement the stuff sticks very very well, it is basically rubber. that would also let you use different strap material, but the ducttape is quite strong and willlast about as long as the bottom. Are you getting your head dunked because you were a baaaadd child? chcukle nice instructable actually sparkie


    9 years ago on Introduction

    just a comment, wearing socks with sandals is almost never acceptable, except for people living in retirement communities. the fashion police will get you, and will hang you. for crimes against fashion.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I don't know what's happening, but i haven't found a sandal with a back for years.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    socks+sandals=dissaproving kids refusing to walk with you! (assuming you have kids, if you are too young then you shouldn't wear socks with sandals anyway!)

    all that aside...
    nice 'ible, very well documented