Sunday, October 26, 2014

Gear Junkie: DIY Huarache Running Sandal

If your feet could talk, they'd ask for these!

I think that as climbers, we can agree that we're not best known for the aesthetics of our feet. Years of cramming our street size 10 into a climbing shoe 2 sizes too small leaves our toes in far from ideal shape, but a chiropodist dream. So this is a liberation, a way to thank our feet for all the abuse we put them through, the Huarache Running Sandal.

Based on designs from the Tarahumara people who inhabit a small corner of Northwestern Mexico, the crag flop is a simple, practical and comfortable shoe that weighs very little and is easy to slip on between climbs.

The Tarahumara call themselves the Rarámuri, meaning "runners on foot" or "those who run fast" in their native tongue. Made famous by the book "Born to run", they are best known for running distances of up to 200 miles in one session.

In this article, we'll take it step by step in how to create your very own Huarache running sandals, but with a modern flair!

Box cutter
4mm Diameter Hole punch 

You will need a sole material, we're using Vibram Cherry which I picked up from Rock and Resole but you can other materials. I've heard of people recycling mocasins and using race car tires as an alternative.

12ft of climbing accessory cord or nylon paracord, 6ft for each flop. Again, this could be any string material but you'll want it to be soft as to not chafe the toes. 

Step 1: Tracing your foot.
Placing the rubber on a flat surface, trace around your foot using a pencil / pen. Be sure to keep the pencil vertical when drawing to get an accurate size of your foot. 

Step 2: Creating the Outline
Now that we have an accurate trace of the foot, using a pen / pencil, we're going to smooth off the edges by following the natural curve of your foot allowing some movement and flexibility for the foot once we cut out the rubber sole.

Step 3: Cutting out your sole
There are a number of ways to remove your sole from the sheet. A box cutter or a pair of strong scissors seem to do the best job. Scissors tend to be a little easier to use and don't pose the same worry of cutting off your fingers. 

Step 4: Punching holes
As with cutting out the soles, there are a number of ways to punch holes in the material. The thing to remember when making holes is that if you make them circular and exact, they're less likely to rip through. Avoiding using a knife if possible as the holes it creates is more likely to tear. 

To punch the holes, first mark between the big toe. Next, mark a line above the ankle bone either side of the foot about 1 centimetre long. At the end of the line, place another mark for for a hole. (see below) Using the hole punch and hammer, place holes in the marked locations.

I decided that with these shoe I would put some rivets in as a further precaution to stop the rubber tearing but it's not necesary.

Step 5: Lacing your flops
This part may seem complicated, but once you've tied the laces a couple of times, its super easy.

There is no easy way to describe how to tie them, so I found this video online that will make it easier to see and understand the patterns.

Have Fun!


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