Vol. 10: Tire Sandals

Solve multiple global problems at once when you make your own sandals from an old tire.

By Tim Anderson

Photos by Tim Anderson

+ Downloads & Extras:

Vietnamese Tire Sandals

If you prefer sandals, here's the famous tire sandal worn by Viet Cong guerrillas in the "American War" of the 1960s and 70s. It's very similar to a huarache, but the straps are made from strips of rubber inner tube rather than the leather used in Mexico. To make one:

  • Trace your foot onto a chunk of tire.
  • Cut your sandal's sole free from the rest of the tire. That's easy if you use a knife sharpened with a ragged butcher's edge and pull the rubber away while slashing. It's difficult if you do it any other way.
  • Use a chisel to cut slots as shown in this diagram.
  • Sandal Diagram
  • Cut an inner tube into strips.
  • Install the straps into the slots as seen here, using a screwdriver and needlenose pliers. Leave a little bit of each strap hanging out the bottom of each slot — you can adjust the straps by pulling on this.
  • Finished sandal drawing
  • The slots will grip the straps plenty strong to keep them from slipping. No glue, nails, or anything else is needed. If you really love that stuff, though, try contact cement or vulcanizing fluid.
  • Enjoy your new, stylish, globally sustainable footwear!

Samburu Tribesmen in "kilikili" sandals


Tribesman in sandals

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