These instructions will help you make you your own huaraches from scratch using our 4mm Connect or 6mm Contact Xero Shoe Kits. If you purchased a Vibram Classic Kit, or want to learn to make running sandals using any other material, check out our How To Make Huaraches page.
If you’re just making a tracing of your foot for our Custom Xero Shoes, click here.
And, at the end of the instructions you’ll learn how to tie huaraches.
Making your sandals with our FeelTrue® rubber kits is easy. But if it seems like it’ll be too much — or if you just want some professionals to do the “heavy lifting,” you can order our Custom-made Xero Shoe huaraches and we’ll do the tricky parts for you.
What you’ll need to make your Xero shoes:
- Hammer — to use with our included hole punch, to make the toe hole for your shoes
- Magazine or newspaper — to put under your outsoles when you use the hammer and punch (so you don’t punch through your floor or table)
- Lighter or match — to seal the ends of the lace
- OPTIONAL — Ballpoint pen — to trace your foot if you want to trim your Xero Shoes
- OPTIONAL — Sturdy scissors if you decide to trim your outsoles
Step-by-step instructions for making FeelTrue™ Xero Shoes:
Step 1 – Decide whether you want to trim your outsoles
Step on the Xero Shoe outsole with the back of your heel in line with, or slightly in front of, the back of the outsole.
How well does it fit your foot?
If your foot “fills” the outsole, you’ll probably want to leave it as-is.
If there’s a LITTLE bit of extra space around your foot, you may want to leave that, too… you can try out your Xero Shoes without trimming them and then, later, if you want to, trim them.
If your foot is especially narrow or curved, or there’s a lot of room in front of your toes, decide whether you want to retain the inside edge, the outside edge, or trim both edges.
If you want to trim your Xero Shoes, continue with Step 2.
If you’re NOT trimming your Xero Shoes, go to Step 5.
Step 2 – Trace around your foot
Holding a ballpoint pen (or Sharpie marker) vertically, trace around the outside of your foot.
You don’t need to get every tiny nook and cranny, and you’re not trying to get an EXACT measurement of the sole of your foot… in fact, by holding the pen vertically, you’re making a trace that’s slightly bigger than your foot, like getting the shadow of your foot… and that’s exactly what you want.
Step 3 – Even out the tracing
You want to smooth out the curves. For example, you want to make the toe area into a curve, rather than bumps for each toe.
Also, I extend the area on the inside of the big toe and the ball of the foot a little bit (sometimes when you run, your foot slips to the inside, so you want to add a bit of extra space here)
Step 4 – Cut out the soles
You can use a good pair of kitchen scissors for this. Or if you have them, use tin snips, or a pair of “EMT Shears” (also called “EMS Shears”).
Cut around the tracing. That is, cut on the outside of the line you’ve drawn, rather than ON the line. Again, that little extra bit can help. Plus, you can always cut your huaraches and make them smaller, but you can’t make them bigger, so err on the side of too big.
If you have our 6mm Contact sole, you may have to put some “elbow grease” into it — they’re a bit harder to cut through.
Also, if you are right handed, it’s easier to cut in a counter-clockwise direction.
Then, when you’re done, if there are some jagged corners you want to clean up, do that by cutting in a clockwise direction.
Step 5 – Mark the toe hole
Step on your soles and, using a marker (I use the Sharpie from Step 2), put a dot between your 1st and 2nd toe, about 1/8″ in front of the webbing between your toes.
If there’s a gap between your 1st two toes, put the mark slightly closer to the 2nd toe than right in the middle of the space between the toes.
The reason for this is, as you run, your foot will want to shift toward the inside. By putting the hole closer to the 2nd toe, your foot stays in place better.
NOTE: It’s sometimes easier to have someone else do this.
Step 6 – Punch the toe hole
SPECIAL: We now include a hollow punch, like the one pictured to the right, with every Xero Shoe kit, absolutely free of charge. (if you want to buy an additional punch, click here)
Punch out the toe hole using the included hollow punch or, if you happen to have one handy, you can use a rotary hole punch (if you don’t have one of these, you can find them at any craft store, or on eBay, or you can usually borrow one at a leather or shoe repair shop).
To use the hollow punch: Place a magazine, or folded newspaper, or piece of scrap wood on the floor or table (some hard surface). This is to protect the surface when you use the hollow punch.
Place the outsole on top of that.
Position the hollow punch on the toe hole mark you made in the previous step. Hold it perpendicular to the ground/sole (not at an angle).
Give it a good whack with a hammer.
Rotary Hole Punch
How to use the Hollow Punch
Step 7 – Prepare your lace ends
Check out the video to the right… if you use the “bobby pin method”, there’s nothing to prepare.
If you use the first two methods, be careful with the heated ends… the nylon stays HOT when you heat it (no surprise there, I hope 😉 )
Step 8 – Thread and knot the toe hole
Push one end of the lace through the toe hole, from the top to the bottom.
Make a knot in the lace, on the bottom side.
I use a “Figure 8 knot”, pictured here.
After you’ve made the knot, run the flame from a lighter (or match) under the knot, to melt the nylon slightly, then press the knot together to seal it and flatten it a a bit.
If you want, squeeze the knot flatter with a pliers.
NOTE:If you’re making huaraches for a child, or if you have really small feet, you can make the knot smaller by removing about 1.5″ of the core material from the end of the nylon/polypro lace before you make the knot.
This might make the knot wear out a bit faster (because there’s less material to wear through), but you should have enough extra lace that you can just pull some more through and make another knot.
Click below to see Steps 8 and 9
Figure 8 knot
Step 9 – Thread the ankle holes
Pass the lace through the outside ankle hole first, from top to bottom.
Then pass the lace through the inside ankle hole, also from top to bottom.
Follow the pictures to get it correct… you want the lace to “lock in” around the holes.
Step 10 – Select one of the fun tying styles
There’s been more creativity in the “how to tie huaraches” arena since we started selling Xero Shoes than there has been in the 10,000 years since someone first came up with sandals like these.
And there’s no way to have written instructions for them all (well, there is, but it would be miserable to go through them.
Instead, check out the different cool, decorative, and stylish ideas — with video instructions — about how to tie huaraches and what to do with “leftover lace”
Step 11 – Most importantly… Go out and ENJOY your new Xero Shoes and Feel The World!™
Remember, though, to take it easy at first. If you’re not used to going barefoot, especially running barefoot, you’ll be putting more stress on your muscles and skin than you’re used to. Work your way into your huaraches slowly.
Share your experiences, questions, comments, pictures, and more in our Huaraches and Barefoot/Minimalist Running Forum
And if you come up with cool, new tying ideas, let us know so we can put them on our Tying Page