Does knowing how to make huaraches running sandals give you super powers?

Having now made hundreds of pairs of huarache barefoot running sandals, and having spoken with many others who’ve done the same, I’m here to report a startling fact.

Knowing how to make your own shoes — even making minimalist running shoes like Tarahumara-style huaraches — definitely gives you super powers.

Oh, I don’t mean the ability to leap tall buildings in a single bound (or even two or three bounds), or the power to fly, or the fun of invisibility… instead, I’m talking about something much super-er:

The knowledge that you can make your own shoes!

If you haven’t yet made your own running sandals, you probably don’t know what I mean. You probably don’t get why I would say that being able to make some running sandals is a super power.

But, I assure you, that’s only because you haven’t done it yet.

After I made my first pair of huaraches, and was walking around in shoes that I MADE with my own 2 hands, I was overcome by a profound sense of self-reliance, a comforting knowledge, a feeling of value… just knowing that, if things get bad, I can make shoes for myself and others.

And in a way that I can’t explain, that knowledge felt like having a super power.

I don’t have to explain it to other people who’ve made their own barefoot running shoes; they’ve told me they have had a similar experience.

It’s like growing your own food… there’s something really comforting about knowing you can take care of one of your basic needs.

So, if you haven’t yet, I highly encourage you to see what I mean and develop the super power of making your own huaraches running sandals. And, honestly, I’m not just saying that because I’m in the biz… it’s such a fun feeling, I want you to have it yourself. (But, hey, if you just want me to increase my super powers and order custom-made huaraches, that’s okay with me 😉 )

Anyone else want to chime in about what it was like when you developed your super power?

  • Jedi is to lightsaber what barefooter is to his huarache.

    Yep. Geek.

  • Zach Bergen

    What happened with me is mostly a mental switch when I made my sandals. The switch was realizing how we have created a belief based on fear of needing to distance ourselves from experience and not trusting our bodies. It was also organic in the sense that everything unnecessary has been removed and I realize that I felt empowered and less dependent in some way.

    Also given modalities such as reflexology and acupuncture we know that the body has a wholistic holographic nature so when we open our foot to experience, we necessarily activate the whole system through the waking up of the foot, and I don’t mean when we step on a small pebble although that happens! This can create a healing “crisis” since opening the foot is a metaphor for opening up the mind and we may have stored some fears hear and there. The opportunity is there for everyone, and given my previous statement, the super powers are very real and a lot of them are in the mind and moving through old patterns.

    On a more basic level, it just feels good…

  • Steven

    Rich, the only thing you need is something to make a clean hole in the sole. I recommend a leather punch (I got mine at a hobby store for $6), and some Invisible Shoe makers have reported success using a 1/8″ drill bit.

  • Rich

    Thanks Steven, but I think I’ll use the 10% and let you make my 1st pair 🙂

  • Steven Sashen

    Rich, you’ll still end up with the super-power of being almost-barefoot! 😉

  • Steven

    You can make Invisible Shoes huaraches with just a pair of scissors and something to punch the holes (1/8″ drill bit, leather punch, hot nail, etc.)

  • gary

    I do intend to make myself a pair sometime, but until then it’s pretty super to have spoken on the phone to the guy who made my shoes. Also a rarity.

  • Jon Ford

    It’s true. Actually just started making my own shampoo too. There’s something about DIY work that’s very cool.

    What’s really interesting is that there’s no “this product isn’t made well” type judgment to pass, unless you are into self-flagellation. Instead, you stick with it and you end up with a totally unique, custom product that’s perfect for you. Nice.

  • It really is super, no kidding.

    I had my little realization moment when I was fretting about trying the slip-on method of tying… I’d tried it, but didn’t like fussing with the excess cord and wasn’t sure I was getting the full experience. I didn’t want to chop that excess off only to find that I prefer the high-top approach.

    Ack, fret, worry… until I remembered that I’ll be shortening a $0.50 piece of rope that can be replaced faster than you can say “I should put a new lace on my shoe.” Out came the scissors. That was fun.

    And I can still do the high-top, even with the shorter cord. No sweat at all.

  • Mike

    Most def! I feel the urge to get creative for my next pair. Trying new materials, knots, and styles is something I want to explore.

  • Steve made mine, but they feel better than any running shoe that I have ever owned (and I have gone through many). Just up to about a mile, but will increase slowly. Thanks for a new way of life.

  • Dan Bright

    Absolutely! And it’s addictive. I’ve made two pair for myself in the last few weeks (black cord for formal wear, neon green for sport, right?) and am about to lead a “huarache making extravaganza” with about 25 of my high school acting students. They are thrilled and I’m sure many more huarache converts will be–wait for it–following in their footsteps.

    The Invisible Shoe is a truly perfect companion to barefoot training ala Michael Sandler’s techniques. Super light weight and easy to carry, even with running beads. Then before your developing “skin treads” get beat up, just slip on the IS’s and you’re on your way for more nearly bare bliss.

  • Jojo

    I had the exact same thought as Steven. Wow if things get really bad I can help my friends and family to make shoes. I didn’t repeat this to anyone till now. It is so funny that you brought this up.

    Just summit-ed three mountains on three consecutive Mondays, and did one to two five milers in between. I have never been able to run this much without pain. So stoked.

  • lextek

    It is a neat feeling wearing a pair of shoes you made. Primitive-cool.

  • I felt pretty cool after making my huaraches too. There is something satisfying about making things.

    A few minutes ago, I performed a rescue operation on my dishwasher. A Lego toy was stuck in the water pump assembly. I called a repair man and it was $85 to show up. A new pump assembly was about that much and the motor was $200. A new dishwasher was less than $300. I opted to do the repair myself for free!

    So how does this relate to huaraches? Well, for $25, you make a pair of shoes that will last for years. Your body will not break down either.

    How much do running shoes cost? Big 5 sells the el cheapo for about $30. Probably better than new Nike or Montrail’s which will set you back over a $100

    Barefoot is even cheaper. Sometimes I take the huaraches off and just run bare. Feels even better.

  • I had my first pair made for me. Then went out and purchased some leather from Tandy and made a couple of pairs using hemp cord for lacing.

    Then both my primal play partners wanted a pair (and then two) and now I am about to teach a class on making your own huaraches.

    I have to say that it is great fun to make a pair of huaraches for myself and my friends. And each person I teach gets a thrill too.

    People ask me which I like better…the vibram or the leather huaraches. Personally I like ’em all. When it is wet I tend to wear the vibram huaraches simply because they don’t have to dry out. When it is dry I just cycle through the 3 different pairs I have now. 1 invisible shoe, 2 leather huaraches.

    These days it is hard to find me with any other kind of shoe on. I am either barefoot or huarache clad.

    The little bit of extra sole provided by the invisible’s vibram or my thin leather makes enough difference so that I can run/trek farther and still feel great.

    Thanks Steven for sharing so much great information on you website. I refer people to you guys all the time now.

    • Steven

      My pleasure, Rocannon… keep up the good work and Feel The World™!

  • OK, I’m ready for some IS now. My flip flop blew out and I’m having to wear a canvas flat, and I hate the feeling of dirt in my closed shoe. Sometimes I can’t be barefoot where I am, as I’m a newbie to it yet.

    Way back in high school, my boyfriend made me a pair of leather sandals. I treasured those things because I watched him make them. Can I get a kit in Europe cheaply? I’m traveling the world this year and am in rural France right now.

    • Steven

      Hi Erica… we ship Invisible Shoes all around the world. First Class shipping to Europe for a Standard kit is about $11-12. Imagine how much you’ll cherish sandals that you’ve made for yourself! 😉 (I like to say that making Invisible Shoes is like discovering you have a super-power)

  • Kristian

    Yes, I”d always wanted to make my own sandals ever since I had a family friend who would make Maasai sandals from tires and leather, and I”ve done it! And in some ways, I like these better (not quite as thick)

  • Is it true that the shoe size becomes smaller as the muscle begin working using IS? And does the brain work better as the foot is being used properly – as above so below?

    • Steven

      Some people find that their feet change shape when they start USING the muscles by being barefoot. For me, because I had life-long flat feet, as my arches strengthened my feet got about 1/2-1 size smaller and thinner around the arch. But they also got wider at the forefoot.

      Regarding brain changes, it’s possible that wearing shoes causes the brain-map of the foot to “de-differentiate” (essentially, your brain thinks you have one big “thing” called a foot, instead of something that has separate-but-interconnected parts that can work together or apart). And when the brain-map for something as important, evolutionarily, as the foot de-differentiates, it seems to take down other functions with it. So, starting to give the foot novel sensations and new opportunities to move can allow the brain-map to re-differentiate… and the fun begins 😉