Being a long-time barefooter, and living in such a barefoot-unfriendly urban environment like Toronto, Canada, I have gotten used to carrying along “emergency” footwear for those situations when bare feet are not an option; whether it’s because of dress code, or because I need just a bit of protection for my soles.
As you can imagine, I don’t like carrying bulky shoes as my emergency footwear, simply because it’s not practical. I want something light, easy to stuff into my backpack or even into a pocket. My solution: Homemade Huaraches, made out of a discarded yoga mat.
Yoga mats, as you probably know, are made out of fairly strong rubber foam, and some of them are even re-enforced with a mesh or nylon thread, giving them extra durability. They are fairly light and slip resistant, making them a very good material for huarache soles; especially for sandals, which are only worn for short periods, just to help us “get by” when we encounter a tricky situation. Also, since we are re-using discarded/recycled material, we don’t have to overly concern ourselves with the durability or longevity of the huarache soles. We can simply make more soles as we need them.
Here is how I make mine:
- Discarded yoga mat (make sure it’s in good condition, not overly worn)
- Heavy-duty bootlaces or 3/8” elastic strap – you will need about 60” or 152 cm for each sandal
- Utility knife
- Sharpie marker
- Sharp scissors
- Glue gun and glue sticks
Here is what to do:
1. Measure and cut 4 yoga mat rectangles, large enough to accommodate your feet, leaving at least ½” (1.5 cm) around the longest and widest parts of your feet.
2. Glue together each pair of mat rectangles using your glue gun. When gluing the mat pieces, make sure to work in small sections to ensure that the glue remains melted as you are joining the pieces together. You will end up with 2 doubled rectangles; these will become your two soles. If you prefer thicker soles, you can add an extra layer of yoga mat – I would not go any thicker than 3 layers but I will leave this to your personal preference.
3. Once the soles are layered to your liking and the glue is completely set (about 10 minutes or so), using the sharpie marker, trace your right foot onto one of your sole rectangles.
4. Even out the outline of your foot in order to make a more even contour for your sandal sole. Cut it using your scissors.
5. Flip over the cut sole over the second sole rectangle and trace it to make the left foot sole. Cut it using your scissors.
6. Flip both soles over, as to have the clean sides on top and the sides with the sharpie markings at the bottom.
7. Place your feet, one by one on the corresponding soles and make the markings for your laces/straps
8. Perforate the lace/strap holes on the soles using your utility knife.
9. Lace your huaraches using your favourite pattern. I personally favour the “slip-on” lacing method as to have my sandals ready to wear whenever I need them.
Note: In order to make this posting a bit more concise, I have omitted lengthy instructions on how to mark and lace the huaraches. There are many videos online which illustrate different methods for that. Here are a couple of sample videos that will help you with those steps in more detail.
- Marking the soles for cutting and strap/lace holes: https://youtu.be/fF6aGK5AhpA
- How to Tie Huaraches: https://youtu.be/1bqkPAWVTLA
That’s it! I hope you enjoyed this quick tutorial and make some huaraches for yourself or your loved ones. Please feel free to ask any questions, I’ll be very happy to hear from you!
Keep ‘em bare, keep ‘em happy