Randy Kreill’s Marathon Huarache Tying Technique

Invisible Shoe customer Randy Kreill the opposite of me.

I’m a “short sprinter”. The 100m and the 60m (indoor) are my races of choice. I run a 200m under protest. And, yes, I’m also a “short sprinter” in that I’m 5’5″ 😉

Randy, on the other hand, is a tall, ultra-runner.

Here’s a picture of him finishing up his first 50k in his 4mm Connect barefoot sandals.

Randy Kreill in his Invisible Shoes barefoot sandals

Personally, I don’t even like to DRIVE 50k. 😉

Randy is also one of those guys who likes to experiment. He started with the basic huarache tying pattern, but tweaked it to something he uses for his long-distance runs. It’s not a slip-on/slip off style, but you can lace it up pretty quickly. It has a bit of a toga-style look about it. And one thing it does nicely is pull the ankle holes up around your foot.

If I were going to use this style (just the tying style…trust me, I won’t ever consider running ultra-distances), there are two things I’d consider changing.

  1. Add another knot under the outside ankle hole once you’re confident that you have the various lace lengths correct. If you do this, you’ll have to adjust the lengths, since adding a knot will shorten the toe strap or heel strap, depending on how you tie it. What this will do is further “lock in” the lacing.
  2. Coat those ankle knots with a layer of epoxy or Shoe Goo. While this style pulls the ankle holes off the ground nicely, the knots add a bit of extra material that’s closer to the ground. Add this to the fact that when people are just starting out with long-distance barefoot-style running, they tend to lose their form when they get tired. If you really lose it, you could end up heel-striking or scraping your feet a bit. If you do either of those, you could put some friction on those knots under the ankle holes. The Shoe Goo or epoxy will add some extra protection to the laces in those spots.

One of my favorite things about the barefoot running / minimalist footwear movement is that people are experimenting and coming up with more ideas and improvements to 15,000 year old ideas (like barefoot sandals) in the last 2 years than there have been in the last 14,998 years.

Keep it up everyone.

And good luck, Randy, on those amazing runs!

  • Randy Kreill., Beavercreek OH

    Hello Steve.

    I tend to not relax and get to where a run feels really good until 2 to 8 miles into it, but I do love to go all out sometimes too. Speed is a blast, so I can appreciate your focus on going fast.

    Being opposites in some ways probably means you win races! I’m slow. I prefer dogs, maybe you are a cat lover!

    Additionally, you may not be a morning guy? I’m up at about 4AM today, eating and getting ready to be up at 4AM tomorrow for a first “baretoed” attempt at a 32 mile trail “race” called the John Bryan Tie Dye 32 miler in Yellow Springs OH. Hilly and technical … so the idea of going that far with bare feet is intimidating. Just going that far with all the elevation changes will be a big challenge.

    Why do this?


    Nobody explains it better than Christopher McDougall. I’ve tried to live out as many of the good habits of the Tarahumaran runners as possible.

    Luckily, during multiple cover to cover readings of Born To Run, I contacted Ruth Heidrich after learning about her amazing story and application of a vegan diet to put her metastized stage 4 breast cancer into remission for 30 years without chemo/radiation and still going strong at 77 years young. Ruth got me on what I think is an optimal diet for ultra runners. Most folks are focused on pro athletes in the NBA, NFL, etc. I’m amazed by the folks who perform at peak levels for decades into senior years.

    Danny Dryer, of Chi Running comes to mind as well.

    Anyhow, I’m hoping some huarache ultra runners might have tips to share. After a couple 50K trail events this spring, I’m going to attempt a 50 mile trail run on June 30th, prior to my 50th birthday.

    Any suggestions from those who have already done this stuff would be appreciated.

    Are there any 50 mile, 100K or 100 mile huarache ultra distance runners around?

  • sarah

    great tip!
    Where can i buy some nice leather laces like you have?
    Is there anything special about them or just regular leather laces.

    cheers, sarah 😉

  • Randy Kreill., Beavercreek OH

    Sarah, those are the brown fabric laces that Steve and Lena sell here that you see in my video.

    Round leather laces, if available at the needed length, might feel great. For the full length I use, leather would probably be very expensive and I’m not sure how well the knot under the toe hole would hold up vs the synthetic laces? Thinking back to my suit n tie days, ughh…. leather shoe souls I wore out much more quickly than synthetic.

    I’ve been burning thru laces pretty fast on my right sandal, probably for two reasons…one biomechanical issues with my stride/muscle imbalances and two, the hole I punched on the right side has rough edges from a tear that I think slowly chews away at the fabric. Steve recommended Shoe Goo applied to where the lace tends to wear out above the knot, so I’ll try that.

    General wear on the right side is greater to the outsole and the knot. Hopefully as I run more barefoot and baretoed miles, those imbalances will go away and the sandals will wear more evenly…I’ve seen vast improvement from two years ago, so at this pace….maybe by 2013? Like a car out of alignment, uneven wear on the tires!


  • Steven Sashen

    Leather laces wear out more quickly, they stretch when wet and tighten when dry, if they’re rectangular (most are) then the edges can be abrasive and, yes, they’re more expensive.