Barefoot Runners


Home-made minimalist shoes! (Read 2363 times)

Certifiably Insane

    Well, here they are! Not the prettiest things I've ever made, but they've done the job so far.


    To start,  I just took one of my worn-out pairs of Asics, and shaved the midsole off of them. I used a box knife at first, and yes, that took a long time... On the second one, I started things off with hacksaw. Much faster! Once I had all of the midsole off, I picked up two pieces of sole material from a shoe repair place and glued them to the bottoms with Shoe Goo. It also helped that I found a pair of wooded shoe forms at the consignment store for $0.50. I glued the sole on in one piece in 3 phases. I attached most of it in the first phase, without worrying too much about the edges. I just sat something heavy on them for a day or two until the Goo cured. Then, I trimmed the sole down to the shape I wanted, glued it around the curves of the sides, and put rubber bands around them to keep things in place. The final stage was filling in any gaps and loose spots. I had to trim it down a little here and there to even them out, make it look decent enough, and so I didn't cut my shins up with them when I ran.


    So far, they've been pretty good. The first run I did in them was my long run, a 15-miler. My feet were a bit sore after that, but I did like the feel of them. I did put an arch support in for that run. (I have very old, flat feet. I'm working on it, though!)  My next two runs were 8 and 10 miles, and I liked them even more. They were a bit harsh at first, maybe just because I'm used to running in something with at least a little bit of padding. Even the beach shoes I've done most of my miles in since Dec had a little give to them. The problem with those is that I have very narrow feet, so they are too wide. Nobody carries beach shoes that lace up around here, so I made my own, more or less. I can tighten these up as much as I need to.


    I admit, I'm a little disappointed with the sole material I got. It's kind of stiff, like for boots, and it doesn't seem to wear very well. I had noticeable wear on the bottoms after that first 15-miler, but I admit the chip-and-seal roads out here will tear just about anything up. I have plenty of leftover sole, so I can make repairs as I wear them out.


    For the next version, I'll probably shop around and see what selection the other shoe repair places have. This was about the only thing that would work from the place I went to. I will probably do a much smaller sole, too, maybe something closer to what a spike or racing flat would have. So what do you all think? Yeah, I know, it's a lot of work, and maybe borderline nuts, but this is what I wanted in a pair of shoes. Nobody makes anything like this, at least not anything available here, or at a price I could justify spending for a shoe that's basically nothing.





    On the road since 1978! "To be good is not enough when you dream of being great." I am not obsessed! I'm just INTENSE! "Nothing is foolproof to a talented fool." Why? Because race results stay on Google forever! (Reasonably recent) PR's: 5K - 16:40 10K - 35:04 HM - 1:18:30

    Barefoot and happy

      Looks pretty nice.  I think finding a soft enough sole material that's still durable is the most difficult part of a minimalist shoe design.  It's not surprising that a company specializing in sole material (Vibram) offers the leading minimalist shoes right now.


      I definitely agree with you that it's silly to pay high prices for minimalist shoes.  People are accustomed to paying a lot for running shoes, but going minimalist turns that on its head.  I think that's why there have been so few offerings from the major shoes companies in the minimalist category.  They must know that there's no way to keep their margins up on shoes like that. 


      BTW, there's an earlier thread with pics of my homemade shoes.  They're on the opposite end of the spectrum: nice and soft, but not really as durable or waterproof.


      Curious about running barefoot? Visit the new barefoot running group.

        Those are fantastic.  It's funny, but I just did a similar thing to my work/office shoes.  I needed something minimal for at work and didn't want to spend much... so I ripped the bottoms off my current shoes and dipped them in Plasti-Dip!  It holds up surprisingly well and remains flexible.








          You could actually just dip your whole feet in Plasti-Dip...

          See this vid at about 4:10+ minutes in:


            Nice work!


            My buddy just cuts the heels of his shoes.

            Run to Win
            25 Marathons, 17 Ultras, 16 States (Full List)

            Certifiably Insane

              Ed4, I do remember seeing those. I was intrigued, and almost made a pair. But, I still like the feel of a good lace-up shoe. Especially if I'm running fast on the track, or on hilly, curvy trails. I'll get blisters if I can't get something tight on my feet so they don't slide around inside. That may be a problem with my form. I'm working on that, but after 32 years of running the same way, it's a slow process.


              MojoJojo, that's nice! Not a bad idea! Believe it or not, I did think about dipping my feet. Not all the way up, just like up an inch or so. Peel it off and change it every few days, and I'm good to go! Of course, I'd be living by myself, because the foot fungus I'd probably develop would smell so bad, it would drive everyone else out of the house...


              Run To Win, I have seen that, too. But, I wanted to remove all of the padding, not just make it the same height front and back. However, after todays 12-miler on a very rough road in them, I'm starting to wonder if that was a mistake...

              On the road since 1978! "To be good is not enough when you dream of being great." I am not obsessed! I'm just INTENSE! "Nothing is foolproof to a talented fool." Why? Because race results stay on Google forever! (Reasonably recent) PR's: 5K - 16:40 10K - 35:04 HM - 1:18:30

              Petco Run/Walk/Wag 5k

                I don't have pictures but I have an old pair of canvas crocs that I cut a slit in around the toe line to provide more room in them. Have gone as far as 3 1/2 mi in them so far (when DW is not looking). Am hoping to come with something cheaper than minimalist running shoe that get close minimal. My left big toe/ball of foot has gotten numb after 3-4 mi with every running shoe I've tried so far (5 brands). I haven't extended bf or croc's to that distance to see if there is a difference. As it warms up in North Tx will be giving it a try soon.

                bob e v
                2014 goals: keep on running! Is there anything more than that?

                Complete the last 3 races in the Austin Distance Challenge, Rogue 30k, 3M Half, Austin Full

                Break the 1000 mi barrier!

                History: blessed heart attack 3/15/2008; c25k july 2008 first 5k 10/26/2008 on 62nd birthday.