May 7, 2013 at 10:16 am #1302657
Thanks to a lot of insipiration from BPL members and the need for a lightweight supportive sandal, I finally found a sandal that fits my needs perfectly….I made it!
I searched long and hard for a minimalist sandal that would stay put on my feet on trails, over hills and in the water…everything I found came up short and were just plain heavy. So I did what most BPLers do, bought some material and got to work.
After wearing these around, I realized that they were sorely lacking in function. I don't know how people run in these things. No matter how tight I made the straps, my feet aleays wanted to fall off. And I didn't like the large webbing. So I kept modifying and playing with the strap design until I settled on this:
These were much better and I realized that I was getting closer to what I was looking for except I needed a strap design that would keep my feet in the foot bed. My final design got me where I needed to be:
So glad I made these. I have never worn a shoe or sandal that gave me what these offer up. Since I've made them, I have run/walked a few miles and spent half a day cleaning up our backyard without issues. I love these things:
There a couple of other details in the strapping and the footbed that I think will make these things last quite a long time. And with my strap design + molded footbed, lateral movement is encouraged! I can't wait to get these things into the water and canoe!
Let me know what you think…May 7, 2013 at 12:21 pm #1984131
@bsmith_90Locale: Epping Forest
Beautiful! I'd buy a pair :)May 7, 2013 at 12:47 pm #1984140
@lopezLocale: San Gabriel Valley
Yeah, these look super good. Nice work. Curious how this works out for you in a variety of conditions. post reports!May 7, 2013 at 1:03 pm #1984147
@ben – Thanks! I will let you know ;)
Seriously though, I am considering whether or not to buy materials and get to work. Appreciate the interest.
@Adan – will do! Thanks!May 7, 2013 at 1:50 pm #1984164
@aroth87Locale: Missouri Ozarks
I'd love a lightweight replacement for my Chacos. The closest think I've seen are the Unshoes Pah Tempe but I like the narrower webbing you used. If you decide to sell some I'd probably be interested.
AdamMay 7, 2013 at 4:23 pm #1984202
I'll keep that in mind, Adan. I can tell you that the toe lock is, IMHO, much better than the thong. It really helps keep my foot into the rubber sole/footbed.
I am thinking about putting a kickstarter project together for this but would definitely be willing to make some at a fair price for BPL members.
Let me know.May 7, 2013 at 6:11 pm #1984230
@jumpbackjackLocale: Armpit of California
I'm, not a sandal person, but I like what I see and I'd be down for a pair.
JackMay 7, 2013 at 6:32 pm #1984239
@Jack- thanks man!
Humble beginnings but you guys are really making this an easy decision…I'll keep you posted.
RyanMay 7, 2013 at 9:02 pm #1984283
Keep us posted on your efforts and availability. Great idea for a river crossing/camp wear as well.May 7, 2013 at 9:19 pm #1984294
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Well, you have reinvented flip-flops or thongs (depending on your country. That's fine.
> I can't wait to get these things into the water and canoe!
Ahhh – wait till you do before shouting. I find that a little bit of water makes them super-slippery. A little bit of mud and … oh dear.
So – test in water and river beds, and let us know.
CheersMay 8, 2013 at 5:21 am #1984326
@cameronLocale: Midland, Texas
"I find that a little bit of water makes them super-slippery. A little bit of mud and … oh dear."
Definitely a problem with other sandles I've used but not with Chacos. They aren't that slippery because of the sticky top and good strap system.May 8, 2013 at 5:27 am #1984327
spelt with a tParticipant
@speltLocale: SW/C PA
They do look very like unshoes. If you're looking for beta testers I'd be interested. What's your sole material?May 8, 2013 at 5:31 am #1984329
…May 8, 2013 at 6:02 am #1984338
@butukiLocale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Early Chacos (when they were still Gecko) used a nylon strap system. Nylon stretches when wet and so the straps come loose when in water. Later they changed to polyester strapping. Polyester doesn't stretch when wet, and I've never used another sandal that is as secure and tight, even when walking in hours or soggy conditions. The only thing I don't like about Chacos (I always used the Z2 with the toe strap) is that they are very thick and heavy. But I've hiked in very rough terrain in them in the mountains, on rocks, and they always worked very well.
I, too, would like to know what footbed and sole materials you used. And the straps, did you just bore holes in the sole and thread the strap through. How do you deal with the exposure of the strap material to the ground?May 8, 2013 at 6:17 am #1984339
@randy – thanks for the interest and I will keep you guys posted on the details
@roger – appreciate the feedback, I have not gone sloshing through mud bogs yet but have had them dirty and wet without any issues. Locking in the toe + additional row of straps + molded footbed are helping, for sure. I will definitely take that request, find some mud and report back. Thanks.
@luke – once my feet were wet from spraying them off with the hose, I can definitely say something unexpected happened, they seemed more sticky. But as I told, Roger, I will try to abuse these things and come back with some answers.
@spelt – thanks, will definitely get back to everyone. I will definitely need to order additional materials to accommodate but will figure out the details and report out. The soling material is 6mm Vibram gumlite material. Here is a detailed photo of the sole with the molded details…
@daniel – duh, the $100 question. As shown in the picture above, a size 11.5 men's weighed in at 4.1 oz (8.2 oz for a pair). For most people, this could be reduced to under 4 oz I would suspect by cutting off the excess webbing, but I like the backup.
Thanks again everyone. Will keep the updates coming…May 8, 2013 at 7:21 am #1984354
@spelt – I have a lot of respect for the other companies out there, Unshoes, Luna, Bedrock. They have all done a great job of bringing sandals to market that didn't exist. And I was ready to pull the trigger on buying a pair but wasn't quite satisfied.
My dilemma was that none of their products met my (specific) needs. Unshoes Pah Tempe didn't incorporate the thong but the really large straps are too large for my taste. Also, the footbed is flat which I could not get to work well in my initial prototypes…even when I walked the front ball of my foot wanted to slide inward, off of the sandal, as well as the heel…and this was only walking, not hiking, running, watersporting. Looking at Bedrock, again another great sandal company, but I assumed I would have the same issue. Then, when I molded my sandal, it changed everything. Instantly I felt like my foot would stay put which was a huge bonus for me. After putting on some jeans for a dinner with my family, I didn't like the way the single strap looked. Too much foot and not enough strap. And not enough support for my taste (I am that guy who will wear these things for everything except my day job).So I started fresh on the webbing design you see today which made me one happy outdoorsmen.
More testing and updates to come. Thanks.
RyanMay 8, 2013 at 12:31 pm #1984469
@rustybLocale: Rocky Mountains
Very nice! You have fixed the main issue I have with my minimalist sandals: Foot moving all over the place.May 8, 2013 at 12:34 pm #1984471
@jraiderguyLocale: Puget Sound
How did you go about molding the sole?May 8, 2013 at 3:29 pm #1984538
@cameronLocale: Midland, Texas
Very nice looking project. I loved Chacos but I've always wished they'd put their starp system on a minimalist sole.
My only concern would be whether the straps would wear through, especially at the back. I believe this question was asked about invisible shoes and the response was "If you to strike you won't wear the heal straps out much." Probably true but I wonder about hiking in them?
Does the molded sole keep the heel straps off the ground?
If not I have an idea. Make a pair of these with thin rubber and get the straps adjusted just right. Then glue another piece of rubber to the bottom so that the straps are covered.May 8, 2013 at 5:43 pm #1984603
spelt with a tParticipant
@speltLocale: SW/C PA
Am I the only one who never liked Chacos? Every one I have tried on the soles felt like boards. I never walked out of a store with a pair.
Ryan, thanks for the additional info. I actually had a thread last week about the Wokova Feather and the Pah Tempe. I like the toe strap and thinner straps on the Feather but also the claimed lateral stability of the Pah Tempe. It seems by wrapping the toe you may have found the right combination.May 8, 2013 at 7:24 pm #1984637
@butukiLocale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Am I the only one who never liked Chacos? Every one I have tried on the soles felt like boards.
Prior to the Unaweep soles Chaco soles were not so stiff, nor so immensely thick. I can't wear Chacos anymore because of the board-like feel they have now. They don't bend as easily as they used to. I begin to lose sensation in my toes.May 8, 2013 at 8:55 pm #1984671
@rusty – totally agree…this is the only reason why I didn't end up purchasing a pair and ended up making my own.
@jim – I tried several different methods including baking in the oven, blow dryer and propane torch. I want the best method without destroying the rubber. The method that seems to work the best at the moment is the propane torch, only because the blow dryer takes too long and the oven doesn't allow me to localize the heat. I believe the best answer will likely be a heat gun with a custom mold.
@luke – I have chacos too and stopped wearing them because they are bricks. Loved the concept but ended up wearing the keen waimeas the keen antiguas (both thong/ flip flops with molded toe protection). Only issue here is lateral support and staying on my feet when walking up and down hills and in the forest. Your idea is a good but i am trying to stay away from glue…but it led me to another idea to answer your question. See the image below…
(This totally protects the side straps and really gives the feel of your foot being inside the sandal). Another one…
So thanks again for the feedback…have been thinking about this design above and your comments on the straps reminded me of it. Only problem is I am totally out of material (after making my wife a pair).
@spelt – I'll have to go back and take a look…but what you are saying about the combo is right on! I think if people are still interested in the classic huaraches between the toe, you should check out Bedrock Sandals. They look good.
So I am talking with my wife about possibly getting some material ordered to make some. Also, I am looking to make a couple small adjustments and test them this weekend by the campfire and all week next week through airports and on another continent. This will give me time to get the materials ordered and figure out the details.
Will keep the updates flowing. Thanks guys. This really is a great community with great feedback!
p.s. – I'll add one more photo below of a pair I made for my wife, his & hers :), notice how my pair on the left are molding to my feet after only a week of wearMay 9, 2013 at 6:34 am #1984748
Get a heat gun like this one.
It goes from 120 to 1200 degreesMay 9, 2013 at 6:40 am #1984749
@ Karple – I think that would be perfect! Thanks…May 9, 2013 at 7:26 pm #1984951
These look great! I love my Chacos (and so do a number of my friends – I work for Outward Bound and sometimes I think I'm in a Chaco ad when we're all hanging out between courses) but I think they're way too heavy. Because of that I don't bring them backpacking and I always am so happy when I can get back to base and put them on. I like your thinner straps, too.
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