How to tie Xero Shoes Barefoot Running Sandals

You can tie Xero Shoes in lots of different ways, from ultra-minimalist to totally bling-ed out!

Whether you’re using your sandals for barefoot running, hiking, walking, stand-up paddle boarding, or a night on the town, there’s a tying style for you (and, yes, there are 4 guys’ feet and 4 girls’ feet in the picture below ;-) ).

Many ways to tie barefoot sandals

On this page, we’ll show you our favorite tying styles, along with some great ideas from our customers.

We hope you come up with your own variations and send us pictures and videos so we can add them to this page and share them with the world!

The basic tying options:

There are a few variations in tying that you’ll discover on this page. None of these are inherently better or worse than others. It’s really a personal preference, and a style choice, that you’re making when you pick a way to tie your Xero Shoes barefoot sandals. Each tying style uses a combination of the following attributes:

  • Thong — Many tying styles have a “thong” or a toe strap, a section of lace that comes up between your first and second toe. This is NOTHING like a flip-flop, though, for a number of reasons. Even people who say, “I don’t like things between my toes” typically don’t mind the thong styles.
  • Strap – Some barefoot sandal tying styles mimic other sandals, like the Chaco sandal. These styles require punching a few extra holes in your Xero Shoes, and may require a bit of Shoe Goo to protect the lace that’s exposed to the ground.
  • Toe Knot – Some of the toe straps in the thong styles are held to the sole with a knot that’s placed in between the first and second toe, under the sole. Sometimes people worry that this will be uncomfortable. But you almost never feel it: it’s in between your toes, it’s small, and it’s covered by the rubber outsole.
  • No-knot – For various reasons, some people prefer a tying style without a knot under the toes. Again, the knot is rarely a problem, but these styles eliminate it.
  • Slip-on/off – Some tying styles let you slip the sandal on your foot by just sliding in your toes and flipping the strap over your heel. It takes about a second.
  • Lace Up – Other styles require you to wrap the lace around your foot (and sometimes your ankle), each time you put on your sandals.

I’ve listed these as if they’re separate, but they overlap. For example one style below could be a Thong style, Slip on/off, with a Toe Knot, while another Thong style could be a Lace Up with No-knot.

After you lace up your Xero Shoes, there are fun options for decorative tying, as well as adding pendants, charms, beads and other decorations. We’ll show you how to do those, too.

Now let’s take a look at the different tying styles. Click on the images for instructions for each tying style.


Xero Basic
(Thong / Toe Knot / Slip on)

This is the style we use for our Custom-Made Xero Shoes.

barefoot sandal tying -- Xero Basic


Xero Loop
(Thong/ Toe Knot / Slip on)

This is very similar to the Xero Basic, but the loop at the top knot gives you some different decorative options

How to tie running sandals - Xero Loop method


Ultra-Minimalist Hitch
(Thong / Toe Knot / Slip on)

The simplified version of our Xero Basic, with only one lace going around the foot and ankle and a “double half hitch” to secure it (and an optional half hitch to point the lace toward the toe).

Minimalist Sandal Tying Style - Xero Hitch


Ultra-Minimalist Fisherman
(Thong / Toe Knot / Slip-on)

Using a “fisherman’s knot” we have another ultra-minimalist tying style.  Like the Hitch, there’s only one lace going around your  foot.

Ultra-minimal barefoot sandle tying style


Uber-Ultra Minimal to the Max
(Thong / Toe Knot / Slip-on)

Using a “Crow Bead” to replace the knot above you’re foot, this may be as minimalist as it gets. Just one lace around your foot, but secure enough for almost anything.

Min-to-Max-600x600


Randy’s Marathon Lacing
(Thong / Toe Knot / Lace Up)

Randy Kreill is one of the Invisible Shoe ultra-runners (he does 30+mile races), and he came up with a modified toga-style that he wears on those long, long runs:

Randy Kriell's huaraches running sandal tying


Ande’s No-Toe Bling (#1)
(Strap / No Knot / Slip On)

Ande has some fun no-toe, no-knot ideas… here’s her first.

No toe tying huaraches by Ande


Sonja’s No-Toe
(Strap / No Knot / Slip On)

No toe strap, no knot, and plenty of fun (and, no you don’t need all the extra sole in front of your toes… that’s just what she’s showing in the video).

No toe tying huaraches by Sonja


Erika’s Knot-less Multi-Styles
(Strap / No Knot / Lace Up)

Erika has a BUNCH of great tying ideas in her videos. While you see a strap coming between the toes, it’s not like the normal thong styles.

How to tie huaraches running sandals - Erika's methods


Kelly’s No-Knot
(Strap / No Knot / Slip On)

You can move the knot to the back of the sandal for a different look, BTW.

Barefoot sandal tying method -- Kelly


Raymond’s Double-Thong
(Thong / No Knot / Slip On)

A double-strap tying style that has no toe knot and is quite comfy.

Raymond ties his huaraches with the thong style


Amanda’s Chaco Style
(Thong / No Knot / Slip On)

A double-strap tying style that has no toe knot and is quite comfy.

Tie huarache running sandals Amanda's way


Dan Mozell’s Alternate Toga
(Thong / No Knot / Slip On)

A double-strap tying style that has no toe knot and is quite comfy.

Tie huaraches running sandals - Dan Mozell's way


Lee Chase’s “Extra Comfy”
(Strap / Knot / Slip On)

A variation of the style in the photo at the top of this page (3rd from the right).

Lee Chase's Barefoot Sandal Tying Method


Kit Raymond’s No-Toes
(Strap / No Knot / Slip On)

A double-strap tying style that has no toe knot and is quite comfy.

Bare foot tying sandals by Kit Raymond


Barefoot Pat’s Xero Loop Variation
(Strap / Knot / Slip On)

Pat made this variation in the Xero Loop to better fit his foot shape. He tweaked the angles, locked in the knot, plus there’s a decorative “looper” element, too.

Pat's Xero Loop Barefoot Sandal tying style


Here are some fun lacing options, basically things to do with the “extra” lace.

Half-ankle

Really this was just something we did at trade shows to get the extra lace out of the way when someone was testing out a pair of sandals. But then we saw others using it full-time! It’s our Xero Basic, with a couple of loops around the ankle. So, loop it around, tie it off (this picture is from the Outdoor Retailer show).

Xero Shoes tying style: Half Ankle


The Looper

Loop the lace around the ankle strap. I do the outside ankle strap.

(Video and instructions coming soon)

Barefoot running sandals tying - Xero Shoes


Ah, knots

Just make a bunch o’ double-half hitches (like the Hitch style, above) down the toe strap. Then take the end and wedge it into the knot so it won’t slip.

Fancy tying for huaraches sandals


The Phoenix Flower

Our first decorative tying style, developed by the lovely Lena Phoenix, using the Xero Loop as the base.

Huarache tying pattern - Phoenix Flower


Tracy’s Rossette

Starting with a Phoenix Flower and adding a twist to make what Tracy calls “Cute Shoes.”

Tracy's Rosette Cute Shoes


Sylvie’s Petals

I know it’s hard to see this image. I shot it with my camera phone at a barefoot running lecture. Instead of making ONE loop through the slip-knot in the Xero Loop, Sylvie makes 4 of them… and then uses the leftover lace to wrap through and under the loops. The video will help you figure it out.

sylviepetals


 

LOTS more tying styles will be posted in the next few days! And, remember, you can send us your own videos/instructions of whatever you come up with!

Now, decorate your Xero Shoes with pendants, charms, and beads (videos for these coming soon)

Pendants and Charms

Just tie a pendant into the knot on the top of your foot… or put them anywhere else you can think of.

I’ve run with pendants on my shoes and not noticed them.


Bead Basics

In short, if you can fit a bead over the lace, go for it.

Put them on the toe strap, one of the ankle straps, on the “extra” lace… wherever you can fit one. And then combine knots and beads.

Here are some examples, including our Bead Kits to get you started.

barefoot sandal decorations

Decorate your Xero Shoes with pendants, charms and beads.

Come up with your own ideas and send them to us so we can put you on this page!

 

 

  • Angela

    Hallo Steven,

    today I made my first huaraches, all things I needed, I found on your wonderfoul website. First I red the book “Born to run”, then I wanted to try to run a little bit barefoot, so I found you. Thank you so much!!!

    Have a good time, greetings from Germany

    Angela

  • CJ

    Hi Steven,

    Thanks for putting all this great info up on the web. I made a pair of huaraches using an old pair of Chacos that I no longer wore. With a sharp knife I cut the soles off, then sanded them with a belt sander to smooth them out. I then resized them according to my foot templates (I used tin snips to cut them) and then used the slip on lacing style you show in your vids. I must say they are by far the best footwear I’ve ever worn and I wish I could wear them year round.

    Best to you,
    CJ

  • Cory

    I don’t use a knot as a stopper under the toes. My solution is to double my cord, putting one end through each hole from a tab off of an aluminum soda/beer can. I then run the doubled cord through the hole toes. The can tab is already flat, and there is no knot to add bulk. I also use flip flops that have been de-thonged as the footbeds. I’m too cheap to send away for rubber soles, flip flops are everywhere and are most of the way to being complete.

  • Cam

    cory using a flipflop as the footbed defeats the purpose of these shoes while they are fashionable the point is to have a thin sole to be a barefoot alternative

  • David Bundrick

    After weeks of frustrating trial and error I found a way of tying that works for me. Tie an individual loop through each of the holes you have made under the ankles, just long enough so that the top of the loop comes just below the ankle. You can use smaller diameter cord, as these loops don’t bear much stress. Lace the main cord through the front hole as normal and through the ankle loops, around your foot and back to the front. Tie the cord off on top of your foot (although I think any of the other methods of tying would work here). The magic is you don’t have the complicated lacing through the ankle holes, just one simple main cord that goes around your foot and is easy to adjust and, if necessary, to readjust on a run. Three feet of cord per foot left me with enough of a loop at the final knot to allow for repairs in the field if necessary.

    • Steven

      Sounds cool, David… care to send us some pictures to post?

  • David Bundrick

    I have some pictures showing this tying method on invisible shoes. Unfortunately, I can’t figure out how to attache the pics here. If you’ll give me a hint, I’ll try.

  • David Bundrick
  • randicoot

    Here’s another way to thread the cord through the holes. Take a 2 inch length of scotch tape and wrap a 1/2 inch of it lengthwise around the end of the cord. Don’t worry about the 1 1/2 inches of tape not on the lace; when you’re done wrapping just flatten that part, but wrap that first 1/2 inch snugly. Then cut the flattened part to a point or just roll it into a point. It is then easy to push and pull through the holes.
    I just made my first pair and one cord melted enough to roll into a point but the other I used this method and it worked well.

  • Bulldog

    If you want to run during the winter and it’s cold outside, the Injinji toe socks are very warm and comfortable. I’m sure other toe socks would work, but I just have Injinji ones.

  • Tim

    I’ve enjoyed my Invisible Shoes as I’ve searched for a way to get through the winter before going back to totally barefoot running when it warms up. However, the between the toe tying method was causing some issues cutting into my foot (even after experimenting with lace tightness. I just wanted to recommend Sonjabean’s tying method. They’ve stayed on well, eliminated my toe issues, and, more importantly, they’ve allowed me to experiment with other ways to keep my feet warm on really cold days while wearing my huaraches (socks, etc.). I’m a fan of these huaraches, and this alternative tying method made them all the better. Thanks for helping create a community of people here rather than just being a company that gives its customers a one-size-fits-all solution.

  • Eric

    I wear the huaraches to go running, but I face a couple of problems, — Going downhill too much blisters my tees and ball of my foot, and the rope between the toes, eventually hurts. And in order to avoid the constant ‘slapping’
    of the front half of the shoe I modified the tie to go over the five toes as well, and now they blister on the sides.

    Help me improve my huaraches. Or tell me what I was doing wrong.

    • Steven

      Hi Eric,

      I’m sure this won’t be news to you: Blisters are always a sign of friction.

      What may be news is that when it comes to barefoot running: Friction is always a sign of a form issue.

      Or, a better way to say it is: friction, blisters and pain are SIGNS… if you read the signs (which means “adjust for your form until those issues go away”) you’ll be simultaneously improving your running form and will run lighter, easier and, usually, faster. Problems are our teachers. We can work around them, or we learn from them.

      In short, if you lift/place your feet, rather than reach/pull/push, you don’t create friction and don’t get the issues you’re describing.

      See http://www.InvisibleShoe.com/slap for a longer post about “slapping.”

  • Sabastian

    when I run in my huaraches my left foot feels great the whole time but my right foot slides to the right. This sliding causes my foot to blister. Do you know how i can change my form so my foot doesn’t slide?

    • Steven

      A bit hard to give specific advice from a 3 sentence post without seeing you run. If you’re sliding on the BACK (heel) side, then tighten up the heel strap. If you’re sliding on the front… I know this’ll sound like a joke, but it’s not: Make your right foot do what your left is doing. Or, another way to say it is: go for a short run and see if you can feel what’s different (once you can feel it, you can change it).

      I had a similar issue, but the blister was on my left foot. I went out for a run, when the blister wasn’t totally healed, and thought “if I can’t find a way to run, pain-free, in 10 minutes, I’ll just stop.” As I ran, I kept experimenting with my gait until, just as I was about to give up, *something* changed and suddenly I was running pain-free and lighter and faster. What changed? I stopped overstriding. I started PLACING/LIFTING my foot, instead of… whatever I was doing instead.

  • http://www.pjgh.co.uk pjgh

    I have high and long feet. I find this method really comfortable and keeps the sole close to my foot without any strings having to be too tight:

  • Peter

    In Sonya’s video, she mentions she added ultra suede to her Huaraches. Do you know where she got the material and how she attached it? I’ve seen a glue product called Shoe-Goo, but it looks kinda toxic for something that could be absorbed into the skin through the suede, esp. when it gets hot/moist.
    Thanks

    • Steven

      I don’t know where *she* got it, but I know you can get ultrasuede at any fabric store. Regarding the glue… not a clue.

  • Wendy

    I just got mine yesterday. I tied them in the “Cute Shoes” style. I’ve already gotten one “cute shoes!” compliment.

    And they’re so comfortable! I haven’t ran in them yet because I have bronchitis, but I’m enjoying walking around in them.

  • paul

    I used the slip on tying method…worked so well that I decided to try running in them….ten miles later my only complaint was about the little stones getting trapped between my foot and the sole. Not that bad. I’ll avoid the cinder stuff on the trails next time and stick to a regular trail. Just bought a pair for my son. Thanks so much for the great product.

  • http://flatfooty.blogspot.com Ty

    I was having knot issues and wasn’t satisfied even after removing the chords from the center of the laces. What I ended up doing was melting the end of the lace and smashing it flat so that was like a little mushroom head at the end of the lace. I also originally made the holes a little smaller in the sandals to help keep the lace from pulling out and it seems pretty secure. For pictures and detailed info go to http://flatfooty.blogspot.com/2011/06/i-figured-out-how-to-make-huarache.html

  • http://thecxrx.wordpress.com Amanda Wingard-Phillips

    I used Kelly’s No-Knot style on my new Invisible Shoes and they look and feel awesome! Thank you, Kelly, for such clear, easy to follow instructions and extra tips. And thank you, Invisible Shoes, for helping me get my Grok on.

  • Jeff

    I have medical problems which mean the fewer part of the laces touching my feet, the better. I thought they’d be great to use at school (I’m an elementary school classroom teacher and I have a very understanding prinicipal — and a doctor’s note ), but I’m really uncoordinated with things like this. Any easy suggestions?

    • Steven

      The minimalist styles at the top of the page are going to have the fewest parts touching your feet. And if those look too complicated, ask someone for help (I haven’t found a simpler style than those).

  • Roy A. Gilmore

    As both a former Boy Scout and sailor I can tell you the most common English name for the knot used in the minimalist huarache tying style #1 video is “cow hitch”. As is the case for most knots, depending on the culture and occupation of the knot tyer, what the knot is tied around or to, and the knot’s intended use or purpose, this knot has many names. Some other common English names are “lark’s head”, “lanyard hitch”, “deadeye hitch”, “stake hitch”, “strap hitch” and “bale sling hitch”. Probably a lot more.

    —TRIVIA WARNING—

    While I used the common but technically incorrect term “knot”, this is actually a “hitch”. What are commonly called “knots” can in general be broken down into three main ways to tie rope:

    1) “knot” – a true “knot” is usually a lump formed in a rope by tying it to itself, typically to prevent the end of the rope from going through a block, bull’s-eye, deadeye, or other hole (e.g. “overhand knot”, “figure-eight knot”).

    2) “hitch” – a hitch is usually used to fasten a rope to an object such as a spar, ring, pole, stake, etc. (e.g. “cow hitch”, “clove hitch”).

    3) “bend” – a “bend” is usually used to fasten a rope to itself or to another rope or sometimes to a sail (e.g. “reef bend”, “carrick bend”, “sheet bend”).

    There are thousands of ways to tie rope, and, many exceptions to these “rules”. Your mileage may vary.

    While somewhat off topic, I hope that a least a few readers find this interesting and/or informative.

    • Steven

      I LOVE all this info/trivia! ;-)

    • Tommi Morgan

      You just made a fellow-sailor happy! Sailing trivia is always welcome!

  • Santiago

    Steven, I would like to recommend having some sort of rating maybe based on a poll by people that have used the different tying methods, to get a general idea of what the general voice of the customer is regarding tying. With this, newcomers like me and others, will have a faster browsing through the tying methods :)

    • Steven

      Great idea, Santiago… I don’t have the technology to do that yet, but I’ll look into it!

  • Adam Swan

    I take that first “ultra-minimalist” method and then double back through the ankle hole, around the ankle, through the other ankle hole and back to the top for one one half-hitch. Feels nice and secure and never needs to be untied. I am up to 4 miles on pretty rough trails – love em.

  • http://N?A ward wellons

    Steve, will you be making a video on how to rap the excess cord down the side of the sandal soon?

    • Steven

      In fact, I will be, Ward. (I have it shot… just need to edit it)

  • hood

    http://blog.cucullus.com/2011/09/my-huaraches.html

    Tying thus way prevents the front of the foot from sliding sideways under wet condition.

    Works pretty well for me…

  • http://www.sidewayshalo.com Kelly

    It’s been a while since I visited the site, but I’m glad I came back. I just ordered a pair of the Connect style (really like the improvements – I can’t cut straight to save my life and my existing pair looks a bit ragged).

    Also, the 1st minimalist style of tying is perfect. Honestly, I had quit wearing mine because the original tying style wasn’t working for me. However, the minimalist style seems like a much better fit for my needs. I may actually take them for a run tonight if the rain stops for a bit.

    I’ve been working up to longer distances completely barefoot, but this will give me something to carry along and use to lengthen my runs for just a bit longer after my feet have thrown in the towel.

    Can’t wait to get my new pair!

    Kelly

  • http://www.thepeaceartist.com Peace Artist

    It might be a good idea to offer the suggestion to people at the top of the page in bold letters, that they experiment on a piece of cardboard first. With all the tying configurations and hole placements, they might prefer producing a template that works for them before they punch holes all willy-nilly in their Vibram. If not and the holes turn out to be a 1/4 of an inch in the wrong place, moving them could really ruin the integrity or the holding power. Just an idea.

    • Steven

      Fine idea (we’re redesigning this page to make it easier to work with).

      • AnnC

        Wish I had read this recommendation before punching my xeros. I’ve just realised I got the hole in my left sandal about 5mm wrong. Is there any good way to fix this?.

        • http://www.xeroshoes.com/ Steven Sashen

          Hi Ann,

          You can punch a second hole, about 5mm away, and it shouldn’t be a problem.

          • AnnC

            Hi Steven.
            Thank’s for the answer. One more question. How much sole/distance is needed between the two holes to avoid them becoming one big one?

          • http://www.xeroshoes.com/ Steven Sashen

            If the edges of the holes are 3/16″ apart, that’s usually enough. On the 6mm, you can go down to about 1/8″. But, obviously, further is safer.

          • AnnC

            Thank’s! Seems like I have to live with a not so perfect placed lace until my next pair of sandals then.:(.

          • http://www.xeroshoes.com/ Steven Sashen

            “Perfect” isn’t necessary. In fact, as you get comfy in huaraches, you’ll find that you can handle “way off” without a hitch.

            If you have some issue/question about your sandals that you *think* is hole-position-ish, give a call. We can help, I’m sure — 303.447.3100.

  • Frank

    I have just finished lacing my invisible shoes to my feet– Perfect! They feel exactly like I hoped they would but didn’t really expect them to. I have never liked flip-flops things between my toes so I measured and re-measured using masking tape on the sole blanks to get that toe hole right. After days of rechecking I finally punched a hole. It was about 1/4 inch from where I had marked the blank for the other foot. But it felt right so lined up the other one and punched the hole to match.

    I watched Steven’s vid on starting lacing, then after taking a hitch over the toe cord I wrapped again behind the heel before returning to the instep then the ankle points. There is enough lacing supplied for at least two circuits of the lacing points.
    I see that the lacing I have done on each foot is different although similar but both feet feel the same. I’ll have to take pictures before I untie them. Maybe the lacing technique would matter for running or other performance activities but the basic feel of these un-shoes is something I wish that I had first experienced years ago. There may be many paths to enlightenment but these should be serious contenders for the shoes to get you there…

  • Keith

    http://www.invisibleshoe.com/store/product_images/k/872/lacedpair-grass500__02825_zoom.png

    I just bought a pair of DIY shoes, and i was wondering how i can tie them like this picture.

    • Steven

      I’m going to post a video that shows this… but it’s pretty simple: Start with the basic “slip-on/slip-off” style (or the ultra-minimalist) and then take the leftover lace and loop it around the outside ankle cord (tie it off in any way you can think of).

  • Keith

    sounds great ill give it a try

  • Mark

    I just finished my huaraches, using the ultra minimal method. I have had them on for 10 minutes now and I already love them. I had new surgery in Sept. and my therapist recommended Born to run. After reading it I went to the park and ran in the grass, barefoot. I bought VFFs and I like them, but they wore a couple of toes. I then found these and cannot wait to get out on the road tomorrow.

  • Mark

    That post should say knee surgery. Thanks Mark

  • Natalie

    anyone have an easy way to get the laces through the holes? This is my second pair and I am finding it impossible – about to give up!!!

    • Steven

      Take a look at the video on http://www.invisibleshoe.com/kit under Step 7 — preparing the lace ends (I’ll move that video over here at some point!)

    • Jason Michael Wynn

      I have a hard time getting the lace through sometimes. I cut a piece of a coat hanger off and folded it over itself. I stick the two ends through together, and then put the lace through the loop the V part of the coat hanger makes, then pull it through. You can use needle and thread too, i just found the coat hanger a lot more durable.

      • http://www.xeroshoes.com/ Steven Sashen

        OR… you use the “lacing tool” that we include with every kit ;-)

  • Igor

    Just got my first pair, and they’re great! I love them. I’m going to go for a run in them tomorrow morning.

    Thanks!

  • Ray

    A hemostat works well for lacing. It is the type of clamp used for getting fish hooks out. Can buy them a local sporting goods store.

  • Roderick Roche

    Feet and legs killing me for months. All shoes hurt. Orthotics did not help. Running barefoot on the beach felt fantastic, however I overdid this to the extent that even walking barefoot was sore. With the arrival of my Hurraches yesterday I can already walk pain free as well as run on both the beach and road. My kids are convinced I have lost the plot. I however am thrilled. Thank you

  • Jen

    well my poor tender feet could not take the one string between the toes so I needed two! when I scrolled down I saw a comment by Cory suggesting using a pop tab to make the string double between the toes and I must say this is brilliant! so much more gentle on my feet ^.^

  • http://Barefootkevin.wordpress.com Kevin

    Got my 4mm Connect kit yesterday, had to do some extra trimming because it was one size larger than I had ordered, but that was no problem. Tried the minimalist slip on style, but just couldn’t get it right and the toe knot was bugging me, so today I punched an extra toe hole and tied it in the thong style. This is perfect, and more easily adjustable than the previous style.

    I really love these shoes! Being a hardcore barefooter, I thought I’d never say such a thing. But these really are the next best thing to barefoot.

  • Ellie

    My 4mm Connect Kit literally arrived three days after I ordered them (and I selected the standard shipping), and after watching the instructional videos I had them trimmed, laced, and ready to go in about 20 minutes. I am so happy with my huaraches because of the ease and convenience I got with the kit. The “new” ultra-minimalist tying style is amazing! Thanks invisibleshoe.com :)

  • Josh

    Are there any tricks to getting tightness just right? I love my huaraches, but I’m super OCD when it comes to how tight each shoe is. Any pointers will be very much appreciated.

    • Steven

      It’s a personal preference comfort-thing, so the only trick to tying is trying.

      That is, some people like them tighter than others, some people like the toe strap to go straighter than others, etc. So, given that, the only thing you can do is be a bit OCD until you find what works for you.

  • Randy Kreill., Beavercreek OH

    Here’s what works for me… it took a few months of experimenting to get the right feel, fit, tension, and maintenance free, problem free marathon and beyond distance in the 4MM huaraches:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e9-QJLoxch4&feature=g-upl&context=G2b5b95dAUAAAAAAAAAA

    I started from the technique here on Steve and Lena’s site taht most resembled the Tarahumara style and tweaked it until all weaknesses were gone. I suspect some of the weakenesses are/were imperfections in my run technique and biomechanical issues that may take years to “fix”. After decades of poor posture, weak diet, etc etc…it might take more than a couple years to repair that!

    Randy

  • http://creekside-it.com Bill J

    Threading is so much easier with a method I learned way back on nylon. First: cut off the factory melt. Then melt about 1.5 inch and then use a pliers or other device to flatten the total melt. There is plenty of lace so don’t be afraid to learn as you will do it twice. Once you have a flattenened length, cut a long diagonal, to the end, the end being the narrowest part of the diagonal. When done, reheat using a light flame. This creates a simple threading tool. You don’t need to overly work or use your teeth. Then do the other end.

    The laces could come out of the factory ptapered vs. blunt cut just as easily?./??

    • Steven

      Thanks for the suggestion, Bill.
      FWIW, having the factory do what you suggested isn’t as simple as it seems. The straight “hot-cut” end is easy, but to make a tapered, heat-treated end requires some expensive special tooling.

  • Dave Akin

    Have tried almost every style, but no matter what I did the shoes were awesome!, but the string in between my toes always bugged me. It never hurt it just didn’t fit my foot shape I guess. I love my Chaco z1s so I found the video where you can lace them like chacos. Found the right fit! They feel so awesome now! Thank you for making such great shoes! The only thing I am concerned about is the lace that is on the bottom. Which I read you can put some shoe goo on which I have. I hope they last many miles as I am training for my first marathon! Thank you to who came up with that style! Genius!

    • Kelly

      Can you link to the video?

      • http://www.xeroshoes.com/ Steven Sashen

        Scroll up the page and look at Erika’s and Amanda’s tying styles.

  • Henk Kemper

    Thanks for all the nice tips & instructions. I bought a pair in the Netherlands, Europe. Tried them today, it felt good. Slow steps, and after that I will do some serious work. Probably on these Huaraches.
    Grtz, Henk

  • JayDPiii

    I just received and tied my Xero shoes. I used the Xero Basic. I normally NEVER like a thong style, something between my toes, but trying this style, and it seems to be OK. However, with this tying style, at the end, you slide the lace through the two half-hitches at the front. I noticed, after wearing them for one evening (cold, New England winter, by-the-way!) that the perfect tension I set, tends to loosen. So I added one small modification, After tying the Xero basic, add one more half-hitch across the inside cross two straps so the end of the lacing is pointing down towards the front (instead of up towards the front). This secures the entire lacing and prevents the lacing from loosening up when wearing/walking/running.

    • http://www.xeroshoes.com/ Steven Sashen

      Great idea, Jay. I haven’t had a loosening issue, but that’s a perfect solution. Amazing how those half hitches come in handy ;-)

  • tim

    No instructions on how to use the hole punch, or where to place the toe hole???

    • http://www.xeroshoes.com/ Steven Sashen

      Tim, you should have received an instruction card that points you to http://www.xeroshoes.com/make … where all the instructions you’re asking for are located. If, somehow, that card didn’t come with your kit, our apologies (that would be the first time in 5,000 orders).

  • Dustin

    Hey Steve I am considering purchasing a pair of your awesome barefoot sandals. However I was considering the tying options and really like the picture you had above with 8 different styles shown. In that picture there is a girl that is using webbing instead of your string and I really like that idea but there is no instructions anywhere that I can find on how to do this. Could you please let me know as it will concrete my decision to purchase them. Thanks and BTW I love your slogan!

    • http://www.xeroshoes.com/ Steven Sashen

      That’s Sonja’s style, but with a flat lace and with the knot rotated to behind the heel.

      • Dustin

        Thanks for the quick reply. However I am still a bit confused. You said it was Sonja’s style yet when I look at the video above it has nothing between the toes. The one I am looking to tie is the rainbow colored strap one. It has lacing between the toes and an x over the top of the foot, which appears different than all of the videos. The reason I am so interested is because I am looking to do some long distance hiking in them and need them extremely secure on my feet. I have hiked the AT in 2009 and would like to do it again only ‘barefoot’. It wouldn’t be until 2015 but I feel it would be good to start training barefoot before I start.

        • http://www.xeroshoes.com/ Steven Sashen

          Sorry… it might be one of Erika’s styles (I’m in China right now and can’t check the videos).

          But, more to the point:

          a) That style is on here somewhere ;-)

          b) More importantly, we’ve hand many Xero Shoes customers do extremely long hikes and runs with ALL the tying styles on this page.

          Bill, our Customer Service Manager, does 100+ miles/week with the Hitch

  • Max Walters

    I’m a high school cross-country/recreation runner, and up where I live, it rains a lot and makes a wet mess everywhere. But in the summer, it can get really hot, which makes my feet really hot and my shoes smelly. How easy are these to clean, and can I run on practically any surface, or are there some that aren’t advisable to run on. (P.S. I usually run on: concrete, grass, track (probably synthetic, although may be recycled tires), and gravel/sand.)

    • http://www.xeroshoes.com/ Steven Sashen

      People in all of those situations and on all of those surfaces in Xero Shoes, Max

  • Cindy Allen

    I am seeing a pair above, with the 8 people’s feet, with multi-color, what looks to be elastic straps. What are those called?? So cute.

    • http://www.xeroshoes.com/ Steven Sashen

      It’s not elastic… just a rainbow webbing that one of our customers found at a craft store.

    • http://www.xeroshoes.com/ Steven Sashen

      It’s not elastic, Cindy. It’s a rainbow flat lace (cotton) that one of our customers found. They don’t last that long (add some Shoe Goo to the bottom), but they look fun ;-)

  • Luke

    I love the look of the light blue laces you show on a lot of your huaraches; however, your laces don’t come in that color. Any idea wear i could get some that have the same quality that yours provide?

    • http://www.xeroshoes.com/ Steven Sashen

      Those were sample laces — Sky Blue with a reflective tracer. We *may* have a pair of those, but without the reflective tracer part. Call Bill at 303.447.3100 and tell him I told you to ask about them ;-) – Steven

  • Paul

    Do you have to use “marathon style” or an ankle wrap for running? Or will the basic slip on style hold the shoe on when you run?

  • El

    Does anyone have a tying method that will stop the soling rubber bending back when a child scuffs their feet? I love my minimalist sandles but my son and his cousins (ages 6 – 11) do not get on with them. I tried talking to him about changing his walking style and he quickly decided to wear other footwear.

    • http://www.xeroshoes.com/ Steven Sashen

      Pardon the minor clarification… but scuffing (which is dragging the ball of the foot) doesn’t lead to making the sole bend. Dragging your toes, on the other hand can… in the same way that dragging your toes in shoes makes you catch the front of the shoe (I saw 5 people do this at the airport 2 weeks ago).

      For some people, when they take off their shoes, they relax their foot so much that they drag their toes… but usually only for a day or so and then their body “gets the hint” and naturally adjusts by lifting the toes a tiny bit or dorsiflexing the ankle a tiny bit (the difference between catching your toes and NOT catching them is usually a matter of millimeters).

      One thing to check is how far in front of their toes the soles extend. Trim them down for a tighter fit.

      • 11genealogist11

        I have a similar issue to the one she described and it is not because I drag my toes. I use the shoes for walking and everyday rather than running…because I have issues with my right knee and hip, there are times when I don’t bring up my right foot quite as high as I mean to. (This is not something I can control.) If there is any “flap” at all, sometimes it will catch. Consequently I use a tying style that minimizes the amount of flap on the outer side of the sole and toe and that is usually sufficient. Just as a little kid will get used to flip flops, they can get used to huaraches like these if they give them time.

        • http://www.xeroshoes.com/ Steven Sashen

          That’s actually what I mean by “dragging your toes” ;-)

          • 11genealogist11

            My mistake then–because it isn’t what I thought you described. To me there is a difference between dragging one’s toes and simply not being able to clear the ground high enough to avoid catching the flap. Depending on the tying style, sometimes this would be quite high to completely avoid catching it. If it is any consolation, the one major fall I have taken in the past 5 years has been wearing regular trainers :P It took me one flying faceplant to the pavement and a nearly broken nose to learn that I hate having to wear ordinary shoes. Regardless, I still say the kids can get used to it…and if they whine just tell them they’re being one-upped by a disabled old person who can’t run.

  • http://www.facebook.com/andeg Ande Glasmacher

    I have a tying style I’d be glad to share — it started as Sonja’s no-toe, but I made some changes that keep our feet from slipping too much toward the front. Is there a way I can submit it?

    • http://www.xeroshoes.com/ Steven Sashen

      For now the easiest thing is to email it to us at support@xeroshoes.com. Can’t wait to see it!

    • Valerie Mortensen

      Ande, I am eager to see how you made your no-toe shoes that hold the foot well (my toes are irritated by the toe styles). Can you make a drawing or a video to show us? (send to Steven) I’m ready to repunch my shoes and start lacing so I can go out for a walk. I am looking forward to your instructions. Thank you!

  • Dane

    could you please post the link of how to do the “Ah Knot” style!
    thanks

    • http://www.xeroshoes.com/ Steven Sashen

      JUST added it. Click on the picture and you’ll be taken to the page with the video instructions.

  • Oop

    Got my 6mm xeros yesterday. At first I thought I had made a mistake in getting the thicker sole as I am used to my five fingers which feel quite a bit thinner. But, I tied them up (double looper) and wore them the whole day. I walk 50+ miles a week and can already tell that I am in love with these. The thicker sole will be great for all my city walking (on pavement). Got the tan laces ’cause I wanted it to look as much like I have no “shoes” on at all! LOVE!

    PS Those crazy things at the end of laces are AGLETS. (I learned that word as a kid and that trivia has served me many times over the years!)

  • Lauri Palokangas

    Hello, thanks for the great pieces of advice!

    My daughter got interested in one of the lacing techniques in the group portrait on top of the page. It’s the third foot from the right that is a no-toe lacing with brown laces. I didn’t seem to be able to find the instructions from the page.

    Would anyone have a reference for that? Thanks!

    • http://www.xeroshoes.com/ Steven Sashen

      I’ll be posting something similar very soon. Until then, your challenge, should you decide to accept it, is experiment and see what you come up with ;-)

      (hint: it’s not that hard: a hole on the outside of the big toe and the pinkie toe…put the middle of the lace on top of your foot, thread the ends through opposite toe holes, bring them back and tie a knot… take both ends towards the ankle, tie a knot, then thread the ends through the opposite ankle holes, and tie them together behind the heel.)

  • Molly Traynor

    I live in Panama and I live in my Xero Shoes. I wear them for everyday activities as well as for running and hiking. I’ve always used the Xero Basic tying style, but I’d like to try something new. I’m interested in the 3rd and forth style from the right in the very top picture, but I don’t see any instructions for these two. Can you tell me how to tie those? Thanks.

    • http://www.xeroshoes.com/ Steven Sashen

      We haven’t published those yet, but here’s something similar: http://youtu.be/G1HS0YDGBfA

  • koffeekev

    Hi. I can’t seem to walk comfortably without the front of the sole folding under my foot. it happens enough to be a real nuisance. I’m a long term barefooter so the style of walk is not something new. It seems like I have to change my walk and lift my foot higher. Any thoughts? Also, has anyone tied these with a toe loop similar to the old fashioned Indian buffalo sandals? and if so do you have instructions? Thank you in advance

    • http://www.xeroshoes.com/ Steven Sashen

      In the same way that if you were wearing cowboy boots you lift your foot a bit higher to avoid catching your toe, you’ll do the same with Xero Shoes. And, if you’re having this issue (it is rare) it usually clears up naturally.

      The irony is that the only reason your catching the front of the sole is that with LESS feedback, we tend to relax more, so you may have gotten used to having your toes REALLY close to the ground, just enough to “catch an edge.”

      To make a more specific recommendation, I’d need to see a video of you walking.

      Regarding the “toe loop” that you mention… I don’t know it, so I don’t know if anyone has done it. Picture anywhere?
      I’m curious, though, does this happen more often with one foot than the other? If so, that’s an interesting bit of information about your gait.

      • koffeekev

        Thanks. I do pride myself on walking very efficiently and manage to cover a lot of distance without a lot of movement so I’m sure that has a lot to do with it. I have several youtube videos so maybe you can see my style of walking. If posting this is against rules please just remove it.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TzpL4-fRPZk

        I only run a little and always barefoot so I probably would never run in the sandals. I like them for a more casual look when something is needed. The video is from sept 2010 about 10 months after I lost my wife so this is a bare bones version of me.

        Thanks. Kevin

        • http://www.xeroshoes.com/ Steven Sashen

          Yeah, I can see that you’ve gotten used to having your toes BARELY off the ground when you’re walking… which isn’t inherently a problem if you do that with more “front side mechanics” (imagine that your foot never goes behind you as you walk and your toes lift off the ground when your heel has barely gotten off the groud). With a bit more “back side mechanics” (where your heel lifts off the ground more before your toes lift, and it’s further behind you when that happens), that could make it easier to catch an edge.

          Again, even if you only use Xeros as-needed, you’ll probably adjust to that. You may also want to trim the front edge tighter to your toes.

          • koffeekev

            Thanks Steven. I’ll mess around with them for a while. I wore a pair of Teva Zilch yesterday to see how they felt and sure enough my toe dragged every now and then.

          • http://www.xeroshoes.com/ Steven Sashen

            TOE DRAGGER!
            ;-)

          • koffeekev

            That’s funny. Do you remember MAD magazine and the guy who’s feet flopped as he walked? That’s probably what I look like. lol.
            I want to send a photo of my wifes old buffalo sandals so maybe someone can figure out a toe loop style. I think it would add to the asthetics. I’m no crafts person so I worry about ruining my soles if I try and do it without guidance.

          • http://www.xeroshoes.com/ Steven Sashen

            LOL! I *do* remember him.

            Send a photo when you can — support@xeroshoes.com

        • kevin

          Wow! A city slicker doing that. I’m inspired!

          I am SUCH a wimp. I’d been doing the VFF thing for a year and a half, and while my years’n'years of plantar fasciitis/fasciosis went away, I was still getting some other kinds of pain, probably from residual over-striding and heel-strike. So just before ordering my new Xero shoes, I started some timid, nekkid barefooting outside my front door. I take our fat old dog around a block or two, on the street or sidewalk. Concrete is easy, with the occasional pinch from small gravel. I’ve gotten to like the asphalt of our little-traveled side street, since it has prominent aggregate and pits, so my feet really feel the variations. Asphalt out on the more traveled street seems to have had the aggregate worn down, and the pits partially filled with powdered, greased tire rubber, so it’s less of a challenge for my tootsies. But I’ve only been doing this a couple of times per day for a few weeks.

          How long did it take you to develop the toughness and unconscious agility to walk with confidence and get your distance up?

          The 6mm Xeros are less insulative than the various model Vibrams I’ve got, so I’ll probably need to try a pair of 4mm Xeros….. but I see that there’s just no substitute for real barefooting. You can’t really toughen your soles and develop that all-important last bit of proprioception if there’s any kind of protection between you and the gnarly stuff. Maybe I’ll end up setting out barefoot for walks (eventually runs) with a pair of Xeros tucked into my waistband or pocket, just in case.

          If anybody’d told me, ten or thirty years ago, that I’d be “getting back to urban nature” by going literally barefoot and nearly barefoot, shortly before turning 60, I’d have thought they were nuts.

          My wife – she of the orthotics and foot pain – doesn’t get it, and is heavily influenced by the “ick factor”. I hope I’m not negating any of the toughening of my feet by all the washing I have to do when I come in the house…. :-)

          Again, really, really impressive, what you do, and a real inspiration.

          Long may you.

          • koffeekev

            :) My feet aren’t clean too often but it’s been almost three years since I made that video and they are ridiculously tough

        • Patrick

          Seeing you walking and running barefoot brought back childhood memories. When summer came around and the shoes came off, the first few days were “tender” but once my (and my friends) feet toughened up we were running on gravel without a problem. We had to wash our feet outside with a garden hose before we were allowed inside. I always hated it when summer was over and school started and I had to wear shoes again…

  • abear

    I want the rainbow ones in the picture. How do I make those? Do you sell that “lace?”

    • http://www.xeroshoes.com/ Steven Sashen

      We don’t have that yet. That’s a lace someone found at a crafts store.

  • Elliot

    I don’t care too much about look, and am very much enjoying being as close to barefoot as possible with the 4mm sole and ultra minimal tie. After a week, however, I’m tired of guys telling me that they look like girls sandals. Any ideas of making a more “rugged” strap? I don’t want leather or hemp. I’m almost thinking of trying 3/8″ rope or flat strap material.

    • http://www.xeroshoes.com/ Steven Sashen

      We’re looking into a few of those options… notice in the pics at the top of the page that you can find almost any lace/strap and use it with the soles you have.

      BTW, the most “manly” strap we’ve played with is a camouflage pattern… and more women wanted to wear it than men! ;-)

      • Elliot

        Yes, and from what I have seen, most men who go this route, prefer the minimal slip on method… So far, my reply is this is the “manliest” a shoe can get, it doesn’t get any simpler.
        I’ve tied this pair and it is staying as is. My next pair, I will add a thick black or brown strap for wearing around town.

  • Jeff Taylor

    I just put my shoes together and I LOVE THEM! Thanks for a great product!

  • thatguy324

    i just got my classic diy kit beside trying to decide how i should tie my shoes the one issue is my foot keeps slipping forward is my heel strap to tight or are my ankle holes to far forward or is my toe hole to far up

    • http://www.xeroshoes.com/ Steven Sashen

      I need more information to give you a meaningful suggestion. Pics or video would be a big help.

    • Jason Michael Wynn

      I think the heel could be too tight, but the strap that goes over your foot could have it’s side hole too close to the front. That side hole being well placed makes a huge difference. It’s like a seat belt over your ear instead of your shoulder when it’s too far forward.

      • http://www.xeroshoes.com/ Steven Sashen

        It’s actually rarely the case of WHERE the side hole is as much as it can be an issue about the tension of that section of lace.

        But if you follow the instructions for our Classic Kit, the holes will be in a good spot, just barely in front of the ankle bone.

        More, if someone’s foot is sliding, it can also be (and usually is) a form issue not a lacing issue. That is, no matter how tight you make the laces, that won’t stop the foot from sliding forward if you overstride (and your foot is still moving forward after the sole touches down on the ground).

        • Jason Michael Wynn

          I don’t own the kit, I am planning on buying one very soon though. I am glad to hear it comes with thorough directions and a lacing tool!

  • Suriyah

    Just got my DIY kit and made my shoes – they are great! Thank you for a great product!

  • SS

    For anyone who finds the toe knot uncomfortable (in the xero basic style) just make a second toe hole in front (toward your toes, not your heel) of your original toe hole. Then, instead of making the knot, just pull the lace up through the 2nd toe hole and tuck it into the hitch knot. It’s similar to how Amanda did her toe strap in Amanda’s Chaco Style (see video above).

    I haven’t been wearing these long but so far I’m enjoying them. I’m really impressed with how flexible but sturdy the soles are.

    • http://www.xeroshoes.com/ Steven Sashen

      Great idea.

      You can also replace the knot with a “Lace Bead” (video showing how to do that on the individual pages for each tying style).

      And, there are some other similar tying ideas where you have 2 holes in front of your toe here at http://www.xeroshoes.com/tying

  • Adrienne

    Thanks!

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