Tire Sandals: a Guide to Comfy Hand-crafted Footwear.




Materials needed:
Bicycle innertube
Cardstock/heavy paper

Tools required:
Chisel 1/2in
Utility knife

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Step 1: Create the Pattern

Create the outline by tracing a pair of flip-flops on some cardstock( i actually used an empty cereal box).
Place foot in center of template, mark at the center of ball of foot, mark  at center first joint of little toe, mark center of ankle inside and outside.
All slits for straps are 1/4in. from the edge of the templateand 1/2in. wide.
At the ball of the foot, two 1/2in. slits are spereated by 1/4in. centered at the mark made earlier.
At the little toe, the first slit begins at the mark and extend rearward. The second slit is seperated from the first by 1/4in.
At the the ankle, the first 2 slits are centered at the mark and seperated by 1/2in. These slits for a right triangle with its apex pointing toward the inside of the template.
the next 2 slits are at a right angle, to the leading slit you just made, and parallel to each other as well as seperated by 1/4in. from leading end of one to trailing end of the next.
The centerline can be found by finding the center point between the ankle marks and the center point between the marks at the ball of the foot and at the little toe, then connect the 2 points with a straight line extending it to the edge of the template.
Cut out the template.

Step 2: Choosing Your Tire.

DO NOT use any tire with steel belts( it is extremely hazardous to cut into them).
Spare tires work well as do motorcycle tires.
Spare tires are easy to find at your local salvage yard.
Remove the wheel and the bead.
This can be done by drilling a hole in the side wall( large enough to fit the blade of a jigsaw/sawzall).
Cut the bead from the side wall with a jigsaw.
Next cut the tire, across the tread, into pieces slightly longer than your template.

Step 3: Transfer Template.

First find the center of the tread at both ends of the section and mark.
Second, tranfer those marks to the inside of the tire.
Next, connect the marks with a straight line.

Step 4: Transfer Template. Cont...

Align the centerline of your template with the centerline on the inside of the tire.
Trace the outline of your template.

Step 5: Cut Out Sole.

Using a scroll saw or band saw cut out the outlined sole.

Step 6: Cutting Slots.

Cut the slots for the straps with 1/2in. chisel.
The position of the slots are easily transfered, with the template on top of the sole cut through the template with the chisel to leave a mark on the sole.

Step 7: Straps

Cut 12 straps from a bicycle innertube to 1/2in.x12in.

Step 8: Installing Straps

Insert the straps into the slots with a screwdriver.
Lace straps according to drawing.

Step 9: Adjusting Straps.

The straps will fit tightly in the slots.
To adjust, pull on the strap in both directions( streching it) making it thinner.
It will then be easier to slide in the slot in the desired direction.

Step 10: Securing Straps.

It may not be neccesary, but it is recommended that you secure the straps with Shoegoo.
It will help to have a second set of hands for this operation.
By prying the sole so that the slots open slightly your helper can sqeeze the Shoegoo into the slot.
Once the glue dries you can trim flush any excess strap.

Step 11: Enjoy!

Wear them anywhere....and everywhere.

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14 Discussions


1 year ago

It’s the sock with the hole in the toe that really sells it...


2 years ago

The flaw I see is the strap ends are facing the pavement and subject to wear. I'd cut tabs extending out from the sandal body, and then slice into the rubber down to the fabric so they can turn upward. Then cut your slots for straps into those tabs.

J at

3 years ago

it would be a good idea to glue a split leather insole to prevent carbon black getting on your feet as well as using leather uppers


3 years ago

Scooter tires are good, but the small radius gives them a lot of curl.


5 years ago on Introduction

Sometimes, depending on the tire used, the rubber can turn your feet black, so it's a good idea, especially for comfort, to glue soft foam or a foot pad onto the sandal.


6 years ago on Introduction

this is nice if i could suggest we have the straps on a second base/sole so they will not directly touch the ground for more endurance?


6 years ago on Introduction

Nice work!

I wonder though, wouldn't the straps wear through where they touch the ground? What if you cut the strap slots at an angle so they exit at the sides of the sole?

Using a motorbike tire is a great tip! Thank you.


7 years ago on Introduction

Very nice. I don't think making myself some sandals has ever occurred to me and even though I have some perfectly good sandals, I'm gonna make these as soon as I get a few old tires...which may be a while.


8 years ago on Introduction

Great stuff! This is probably the best style/instructions on instructables for Tire Sandals. If anyone is afraid of the 'extreme hazard' and wants to buy a pair and support Africa, there's a website selling them called Tzandals.org - They get them locally from Tanzania and donate the proceeds to charity.


8 years ago on Introduction

Are the straps held in place entirely by glue and friction or something else?


9 years ago on Introduction


I'd dispute the "extremely hazardous" part though, maybe they're a hazard with power tools?

I got a tire that was so worn it was de-laminating. Because of that I was able to strip off thin layers of rubber that could be used instead of the innertube scrap. I also got some thin steel wire. I set the project aside to work on an emergency but I guessed I could have used the wire, and drilled some holes to secure the rubber strapping in place. I'm sure they don't have shoo-goo in sub-Sahara Africa.

Many "emergency" spare tires have the steel belts, but the one motorcycle tire I got didn't have any. Fortunately, that info is printed on the side of the tire.


9 years ago on Introduction

Very nice! I've always wanted a pair of Ho Chi Minh sandals. I wear US men's size 9 1/2. So now you know what to get me for Christmas.