Make Your Own Wear Anywhere "barefoot" Shoes

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Intro: Make Your Own Wear Anywhere "barefoot" Shoes

*NOTE! The following images were created using Model Magic in order to model the finished project. Sugru would be stronger, apply more smoothly and look MUCH nicer! Model magic does not smooth very well and therefore there are many bumps/crevices.

How to make your own "barefoot" shoes/slippers!


Walking around barefoot has recently become more recognized as an acceptable form of fashion and comfort. Multiple studies have shown that the shape and increased height of typical shoes has resulted in increased back pain, foot pain, and poor posture. People who commonly go barefoot generally have stronger feet, with better flexibility and mobility, fewer deformities like flat feet or toes that curve inwards, and less complaints. Walking barefoot enables a more natural stride, eliminating the hard heel strike and instead, allowing for a rocking motion of the foot from heel to toe. Similarly, barefoot running usually involves an initial forefoot strike, instead of on the rear of the foot, generating smaller collision forces. *If you want more information on barefoot running... Google it!
Multiple companies have taken these studies to heart (such as Vibram) and have created shoes which make a user feel as though they are barefoot, yet these shoes are quite pricey! 

In this instructable I will be showing you how to easily  create cheap "barefoot" shoes. These shoes are great because the bottoms are waterproof and will not scratch indoor floors, making them the ultimate cheap shoes/slippers. They can be warn to the beach, outside, inside, college showers... pretty much anywhere!

Step 1: Materials

Materials:
1: A pair of toe-socks

2: Sugru! can be purchased at http://sugru.com/
Unfortunately, the Sugru I had ordered for this project has not arrived yet, so the project is not yet complete. In the mean time, I used model magic clay in order to model the finished project. The Sugru was scheduled to arrive around the 15th, but there have been multiple cases where people have not received their package in over 17 days... thats holiday mailing service for ya!

3: Soapy water (just put in a cup for now)- only a very small amount of soap is needed

4: Some sort of mesh to create texture or even a hairbrush

5: A sheet of wax paper or something to prevent sticking. I used pieces of packing tape and just folded it over itself to get rid of the sticky side.

6: Optional rubber gloves to prevent fingerprints. When experimenting with the model magic, multiple fingerprints were visible. I am hoping that by using rubber gloves dipped in soapy water, the Sugru will smooth onto the sock nicely.

Step 2: The Internal Structure

The internal structure of the shoe is a toe-sock, which can easily be purchased at many department stores or online. I purchased a pair online from Amazon.com since I am currently attending college in the middle of nowhere... Anyways, the underside of the sock will be surrounded by a silicone type material called Sugru.  

Step 3: Adding Sugru

Sugru is a material which is extremely durable, flexible, waterproof and best of all, easy to clean! These properties combined make Sugru a great material to make a shoe out of.

Begin by putting the toe-sock on your foot. It should fit snugly, just like any other normal sock. Open your packs of Sugru and kneed them together in order to create a ball of material.
***NOTE: It may be very beneficial to visit Sugru's website to learn how to properly use Sugru and open the package*** 
Start at the heel of your foot and add material approximately 2mm thick. The Sugru should mold nicely to the meshing of the socks. Surround the ball of the heel of your foot to increase support.

Continue to add Sugru to the bottom of the foot until you reach your toes. In order to prevent your toes from sticking together, cut small strips of wax paper (or strip of tape with soapy water) and place the strips in between each toe. Add Sugru around each toe (enough to encase each toe).

Step 4: Texture

Texture: After the bottom of your foot is complete, take the mesh/hair brush and dip it into the soapy water so it does not stick to the Sugru. Press lightly onto the Sugru to create texture. By creating a texture, the shoe will have better traction against floor surfaces. Pretty much anything could be used to create a texture!


Time to cure!
Sugru cures at room temperate after a 24 hour time period. BUT WAIT.. I'M STILL WEARING THE SOCKS! After about an hour of waiting, the Sugru should begin to cure and be safe to remove and set aside to finish curing (but still be very careful not to alter the molded shape). In the mean time watch some TV or read more instructables =D 

Step 5: The Finished Product

After 24 hours the Sugru should be completely cured! Slip your pair of "barefoot" shoes on and enjoy the flexibility of your new shoes.

Sanding: If there are any unwanted bumps, Sugru can be sanded down and shaped quite easily.

Colors: Since Sugru comes in many different colors, you can make multiple colored barefoot shoes!

Step 6: Whats That Smell??

Cleaning: The bottom of the shoe can be cleaned with soap and water. I would reccommend occasionally hand washing the sock portion of the shoe as you would normally wash delicates (feet do smell...). You can then leave the shoe out to dry, or if in a rush dry using a hairdryer.

I have not yet attempted to machine wash these and am unsure what will happen. Sugru is resistant up to 180 °C, so I am not too worried about temperature in the dryer, yet unsure about the constant rotating and bouncing around in the wash/dryer. If anyone tries machine washing/drying let me know if it works =]
*Update- I have heard from people that Sugru is extremely difficult to remove from clothing, so i'm pretty sure it will be fine!


Enjoy! comment, rate, subscribe, vote! 

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33 Discussions

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RichardO23

2 years ago

So these are not "cheap". You will need 4 of the 8 packet set of the Surgu if you're going to do this. They are 22 dollars each, which boosts this up to 88 dollars plus how ever much you spent on the socks. Which is way more than most barefoot shoes you will buy. You will also need to be very very flexable to do this.

The Surgu will NOT stick to your sock even when you work it into the fabric. Uness you are a magician you will not get that stuff on and it will stain your skin really badly. Oh, and if you're allergic to latex. DO NOT USE SURGU. This stuff gave me such a bad rash all over my hand (yes I know it says gloves but the site and package doesn't say you even need gloves), lucky me. Anyway, I recommend using some other silicon/rubber thing. Other than that it's a great idea.

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PaddyO66

4 years ago on Step 6

I like your technique! Should make for a very nice fitting shoe. (And a completely custom one at that!) Still, I wonder how safe it is to use the Sugru while wearing the socks? Does Sugru contain any solvents or chemicals that could be absorbed by the skin of your feet during the initial application to the sock? Anyways, very cool! I could never afford real Vibrams. This opens up a lot of possibilities. Thanks for sharing!

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thonaker

4 years ago on Introduction

Here is my basic idea for barefoot shoes. You can use just regular socks on this design. I think the silicone will have enough flex, I hope, for a really good experience.

Cast your foot. Put on thin snug socks. You will need to spray them with some kind of release agent.

Make a silicone mold of your foot, in the socks, to cover your whole foot, up to, say, your ankle somewhere. Accurate, but slightly rough. Thick enough coating to hold a shape, but not too thick, because you need to get it off the foot. You may choose to just flatten some of the bottom around the toes, later. Maybe not. Anyway.

Slip off the mold, after it cures. You'll want it to be able to set fast, because you will be holding your foot still.

You'll want some release agent in your mold. Pour plaster, or other suitable material into the mold.

Let it dry. Stretch off the mold. Sand it down a little, so you get a final snug fit of your shoe.

Put release agent on the foot cast.

Paint or spray on oogoo, silicone, or tool dip. You want even coats. Put panels in place first, on the foot, where you want breathing holes, in the final shoe. Or you can just trim those out at the end.

Peal it off, after curing, now you have a silicone shoe, made just for your foot, that may be able to be repaired along the way. And shoes that fit each foot, perfectly, that's the idea. And you will just be using regular socks, and the shoe hopefully should have plenty of flex, to allow for proper natural flexing of the foot. And, you can choose different color socks to change up the color scheme, and you will have those breathing holes, to let the sock color show through. So, basically, this is a rubber sock, made for you, that we're going to style up.

How well it will work, not sure, but that's the basic idea. I don't have any pictures, because It's just an idea in my mind. I also think you might be able to stand in boxes and pour inthe original foot mold. Making the sole flat, which would be just fine. Just something to get the ideas flowing. I like my Vibrams, but, with the cost.

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suayres

7 years ago on Introduction

Could you perhaps use the stuff you dip tool handles into to provide a cushy nonslip grip? Perhaps paint it on?

1 reply
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pyrobanana

6 years ago on Step 3

how many sugru packets did it take per foot?

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k24tea

6 years ago on Introduction

It's been a while since this Instructable was posted using Model Magic (not Sugru as originally intended), and there are a few comments about using Sugru or Oogoo instead for greater durability. I'd really like to hear from somebody who has actually made them using Oogoo, regarding their durability after using them a while. Not Sugru (too $$ for me). I wouldn't want to have my 'sole protectors' suddenly fail me several miles from home, on a sharp gravel road in the middle of nowhere!

This is a brilliant Instructable, but I'd love to see it updated with the results from the other suggested materials. If I make them with Oogoo, I'll be sure to report back here. Meanwhile, does anybody have some experience with Oogoo's longevity in this application? Please?

2 replies
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thatskindacoolk24tea

Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

I will be making another instructable in a few days on a more durable "barefoot" shoe (using a different material)- sorry about the wait and stay tuned!

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Under_miner

6 years ago on Introduction

I tried the sugru. It's a nice idea but the surgu lacks the initial stickiness to adhere properly. So save some money anyway and use one of the substitute instructions floating around this website. I know that you can change the stickiness by how much of an ingredient you add. So while I wouldn't use sugru, I think this instructable is a fantastic baseline plan for the shoes! Peace

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bluepen08

7 years ago on Step 5

Hey I was wondering if you ever received your sugru and finished your shoes... I see it has been a while since you last posted on this instructable

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kikiclint

7 years ago on Introduction

I just made a useable pair out of Oogoo( silicone caulk mixed with cornstarch), and they work pretty good. I wasn't able to get that good of a finish, since my stuff came out pretty clumpy, but I now have custom fit thin soled running shoes. I did notice I was running a little more hard on my feet, than just barefoot though. Thank you for this wonderful Idea. It only cost me about 1/2 of a tube of $6 silicone. Mine were set and ready to use in about 3-4 hours.

5 replies

What made you mix the silicon with the corn starch? I love experimenting. What does the corn starch do to the silicone.

The cornstarch absorbs the moisture and allows the acid in the caulk to dissipate to form a sugru like substance. They are awesome molds. There are some instructables that give you the right mix

It's an idea that has been floating around on Instructables. I've seen it used/mentioned in several on the site. See: https://www.instructables.com/id/How-To-Make-Your-Own-Sugru-Substitute/

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tizart7kikiclint

Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

I'd really love to see that. Hope you find time to post it here. All the best!

Awesome! :] Could you possibly upload a picture and let me know how well they hold up. I'm going to have to experiment with oogoo, since it is much much cheaper =]