A few years ago, I read Born to Run, the book that helped launch the modern minimalist running movement. One of the people it talked about was a guy called "Barefoot Ted," who enjoyed running barefoot, or with minimalist footwear. He also liked running in the traditional sandals of the Raramuri Native Americans of Northwestern Mexico. The book talks about the benefits of endurance and less injury among people who wear this kind of minimal footwear. Running to get from place to place is a part of every day life for the Raramuri. 50 miles doesn't seem like much to them and they don't seem to complain about aching knees or achilles tendons. They wear these sandals, or huaraches, and have done so for many, many years. The soles are often made out of old tires and the laces out of a strip of leather.
I had been dealing with some issues with pain in my feet so that I wasn't able to run anymore, so I figured I'd try out these huaraches, and the whole minimalist idea, but with walking. I grew up barefoot or in rubber slippers in Hawai'i, so I feel like my feet are just made for this kind of thing. These sandals and some Soft Star moccasin shoes are the only shoes I can wear without my feet hurting. They have been a great blessing to me and I think I'll be wearing these kinds of shoes for a very long time. I bought my first pair of Luna Sandal brand huaraches. They are made by Barefoot Ted and some friends in nearby Seattle, so it was a bonus to have a very local source for shoes. My sandals have lasted me about 2 years, and are getting a little thin in the heal.
For my brother's wedding, I ordered the Luna Sandal DIY kit and set out to make my own. I used the Luna Sandal website instructions, but documented my own journey to offer another perspective to anyone trying to make these sandals. Please use their website as your primary resource on building these shoes. Enjoy!
|My pen is straight up and down as I trace.|
|I put my pen straight down to make the dot between my toes. I am just pointing it out here.|
|See me marking the big line right below my outside ankle bone?|
|The outside hole is 3/8 inch in from the edge of the sandal.|
|The outside hole is 3/4 inch above the mark made below the ankle bone. The inside hole is directly across from it, also 3/8 inch in.|
|This is what your tracing should look like when you're done. |
|Cut out your template. Make another one for your other foot, especially if your feet are different sizes.|
|I put my templates on the vibram soling, with the words "vibram" as the part that touches the ground and the textured inside touching my feet.|
|I traced with white pencil|
|I cut with utility shears.|
|I pressed in hard with a pencil to mark through the paper where the toe hole would go. Same with the other holes.|
|You can see the 6 dots I made. For the side holes, I just connected two holes to make the long slits.|
|I used a 3/16" drill bit to make the holes between the toes. I put cardboard beneath. Other people use a leather punch of the same size.|
|I used the drill to begin the side holes.|
|I used a utility knife to cut the slits|
|The lacing then wraps around the outside of the soling and loops back through the heel loop.|
|When you come to the end of the lacing, you will bring it under the strap extends to the outside of your foot.|
|You'll loop it around into a slip knot.|
|Pull the loop snug, so that the slip knot is tightly secured to the outside lace.|
|The knot beneath your big toe will eventually break off with wear and tear. Just take off the sandals, pull a little lacing through and make a new knot!|