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make your own shoes?
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Dwight Shackelford
(zydeholic) - F

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
make your own shoes? on 03/13/2007 09:53:51 MDT Print View

After a hike this weekend, I've come to the opinion, again, that shoes with closed heels are an abomination foisted on us by the manufacturers of moleskin.

And its hard as hell to find exactly the right show I want. I want:

No material across the back of the heel, but a velcro strap further up.

Velcro strap across the top of the foot.

Toe protection.

Cushy but durable insoles.

I've got a pair of river sandals that meet all of the above except toe protection.

Anyone making their own shoes/sandals? Any resources for such?

I found some stuff on-line, about tire sandals, but not enough info.


Andy Goodell
(geekguyandy) - F

Locale: New York State
Re: make your own shoes? on 03/13/2007 10:50:53 MDT Print View

simbo and keen

On the left is the Columbia Simbo, and the right is a Keen. I call these types of shoes "shandals" since it's more like a hybrid of shoes and sandals. The Keen style might be more what you mean by less heel, something like the Columbia looks to have a bigger heel support. I had bought a similar pair but without the toe protection for $30 on Sierra Trading Post. Keens run $90+ last I checked, but the Simbo is available for for $50 if you search Of course you could also use a regular pair of shoes and modify (remove material) to make something similar at no cost.

Edited by geekguyandy on 03/13/2007 10:51:53 MDT.

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
cut heel out of old pair on 03/13/2007 11:08:46 MDT Print View

Maybe cut the heel out of an old pair

I might try this myself

Will let you know how it works out

Dwight Shackelford
(zydeholic) - F

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Re: make your own shoes? on 03/13/2007 14:11:14 MDT Print View

Thanks Andy. I was just looking at the Simbo on Zappos.

However, it uses laces, which I don't want. Hard to get into the shoe, limited options for positioning the foot (keeping it out of the toe area on the downhill, keeping it cinched well for the uphill so there's no play).

That's what I was talking about with the velcro strap behind the foot, and velcro strap across the top of the foot.

This is what I bought last night, though the strap around the back of the heel is a little low for my tastes:

Dwight Shackelford
(zydeholic) - F

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: cut heel out of old pair on 03/13/2007 14:12:33 MDT Print View

I'm thinking about that. I also went to WalMart, and looked at some of their cheap hiking boots, with an eye towards doing a chop job.

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
weekend shoe chop on 03/13/2007 19:28:13 MDT Print View

I used to wear a pair of Teva that I got real cheap a couple of years ago. Similar to the Zerraports, they had a strap on the back (heel) that caused a few blisters. The strap on top of it also caused blisters.

I'm going to cut up an old pair of NB 807 this weekend and see what happens. I have some Velco. The NBs have been waiting for the trash can since last fall. So there's no stress factor.

Vick Hines
(vickrhines) - F

Locale: Central Texas
Re: make your own shoes? on 03/13/2007 19:29:31 MDT Print View

Nike Free Trail 5.0: no heel counter, just a strap and mesh. There is just enough strap to keep your foot from sliding out and too little to cause abrasion. The soles are all flex, but I don't feel sharp rocks through them. This may be what you are looking for. Don't overlook Crocks or the clones thereof either. Several folks have done high mileage in them.

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
First draft on 03/18/2007 15:22:25 MDT Print View

This was my first attempt at a shoe customization.

Used my Dremel to cutout the heels and took out both sides. The sides were easy. The heel was surprisingly tough.

Each size 11 1/2 "shodal" weights a bit over 12 oz (including Montrail insoles). They feel comfortable.

Customized shoe

Not sure what the next step is yet.
Shoes 2

Edited by gmatthews on 03/19/2007 10:01:22 MDT.

Dwight Shackelford
(zydeholic) - F

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: First draft on 03/18/2007 23:07:33 MDT Print View

Looks good. Do the frayed edges cause any discomfort?

Might want to look at some Shoe Goo, and maybe some nylon bias tape to seal those edges.

I've got a dremel tool. Yahoo!

Jeff Cadorin
(JeffCadorin) - F

Locale: paper beats rock
hole in shoe on 03/19/2007 00:01:57 MDT Print View

I am considering making some gaiters because I hate all the little rocks and other stuff that make its way into my shoe. I would only consider this mod if I felt like sewing some no-see-um back in its place. Just my .02

Modifying your river sandles sounds like your best bet. I would go buy a bike tire and start cutting some shapes to match up to the front of your shoe. Myabe even be able to heat it up with a blowdryer or something to make it plyable. I would think shoe goo would hold it on. Maybe shoe goo some nylon webbing to the rubber first(after its the final shape you want). Then attach it all with shoe goo. you could even then fasten the webbing with some stitching. If they rubber doesnt mold close enough to the shoe shape then i would relief cut it and fill it all in with goo later.

Edited by JeffCadorin on 03/19/2007 00:09:14 MDT.

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: First draft on 03/19/2007 02:43:05 MDT Print View

Interesting customizations. I use 805's - not the best trail sole, IMO (807's are better), but purchased some on closeout some years ago for $30 a pair.

>>"Not sure what the next step is yet."

Second step might be to look for stress concentration points in the reworked design. For example, just below the '7' of the 807 where the 'now' heel-strap meets and connects with the sole of your new 'eight-oh-shandal/shodal'. Each step will cause the heel strap to want to rise up just a bit, putting stress at that [new attachment] point. After how many thousands of steps will a crack possibly start to form there? Curves distribute stress, so, all other things being equal, cracks take longer to form. Sharp angles concentrate it. Not sure at this point you could round off/out that point. Look for a way to reinforce that area with some additional material that will take up the stress and prevent a crack from forming there. If a crack starts to form there, it will probably propagate forward. [Brett, if you read this, i think that you've done some test work in your engineering career, maybe you could be more helpful here than i am.]

I'm just making a semi-educated guess that this could be a problem area. This is not meant to discourage you, but rather to help your design succeed, which i sincerely hope that it does. Most good designs have many failures first, so don't get discouraged if your first design doesn't perform to your expectations. Each flaw/problem is just an opportunity to improve the design, that's all. Looks like you've made a great start. Keep up the good work.

Edited by pj on 03/19/2007 03:13:35 MDT.

Dwight Shackelford
(zydeholic) - F

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: hole in shoe on 03/19/2007 21:01:10 MDT Print View

I've been thinking about that gaiter thing. Mostly since a friend just told me about almost stepping on a rattler the other day. Then there's the little rocks and burrs and stickers.

I'm sort of imagining a zippered gaiter. Zips from one side of the back, around the front, and back to the other side of the back. Made out of mesh. Maybe stainless mess, for the snakes. ;-)

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: Re: First draft on 03/20/2007 10:52:09 MDT Print View

I will get and try shoe goo and see if i can find the nylon bias tape to clean up the heel and sides.

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: Re: First draft on 03/20/2007 10:57:22 MDT Print View

"Second step might be to look for stress concentration points in the reworked design."

Will work on this.

I'm cutting the tops (laces) out next and will replace with velcro or cord/cord lock.

ben robinson
(brobin) - F

Locale: Mid-Atlantic with a dash of Idaho
have you considered a change in socks? on 03/21/2007 07:53:38 MDT Print View

i used to get blisters on my heel every time i went hiking, without fail. then i started using a sock liner, which worked great, and since then i've sworn by wright socks, which have a double layer of fabric built in.

i use these, and i love them:


Bill Thomas
(hobycat) - F
Make your own shoes? on 03/21/2007 18:19:13 MDT Print View


You might look at the Merrell Continum sandals. I found a pair at a REI clearance for $25. Very similar to the Keens with a toe cap, velcro straps for adjustment a very comfortable footbed and sticky Vibram sole. 31.5 oz for the pair.

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: Re: hole in shoe on 03/22/2007 17:05:48 MDT Print View

"Mostly since a friend just told me about almost stepping on a rattler the other day."

How about rattler-skined trail sandals. Including a rattle on each shoe.

Dwight Shackelford
(zydeholic) - F

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Re: Re: hole in shoe on 03/23/2007 12:46:02 MDT Print View

I don't want to get mated by a rattler either.

Or "Hey, he's wearing my mom. BITE."

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Shoe mods on 04/01/2007 10:06:10 MDT Print View

My next modification was to de-tongue the shoes. In place of laces, I added a loop of cord for the ankle and tied the toe section to the cord. This worked well except that the shoe made a loud flip-flop sound during walking. The weight of each shoe after this mod was 10 oz.Mod 2 aMod 2 bMod 2 c

My next mod was to get rid of the sides. Afterall, they were only used to hold the cord loop to the shoe. There was no more loud flop noise, but their performance became erratic. Weight was now 8 oz.Mod 3

In an attempt to overcome the last mod, I reasoned that we only use the toe and heel when walking. Why not just have a shoe with just a toe and heel section? This mod only weighs 7 oz each. How to attach? A drop of superglue at heel and toe.Mod 4

I was not done. I thought about going beyond the fringe. It would require skill development in addition to a leap of faith. If we walked only on our heels, then we would not need a toe section. Result: a 4 oz. shoe.Mod 5

Or even lighter and argueably a more challenging skill, toe only shoe with the tiptoe technigue. A 3 oz. shoe!Mod 5 b

Bill Fornshell
(bfornshell) - MLife

Locale: Southern Texas
Make your own shoes? on 04/01/2007 11:44:41 MDT Print View

I learned a lot when I "de-constructed" an old pair of my Trail Runners.

Trail Runners Make-Over