Barefoot Runners


Huaraches Report (Read 1239 times)

    I assembled my huaraches kit ($24.95 from I had delayed a few days because I wanted to allow myself enough time to get the job done right. The videos, while helpful and clear enough, made me a little nervous, particularly about the placement of the holes. Turned out that either I got it right, or it's not especially critical. Assembly consists of tracing your feet, copying the tracing to the Vibram material, cutting them out, punching three holes in each, threading the cord through the holes, and tying and heat sealing the knot underneath.


    The Vibram sole material was thicker than I had imagined. I had read that it was 4mm, but I hadn't really thought about it. Not complaining, just noting.  Couldn't find our old leather punch, so bought the hammer-type punch from Hobby Lobby for $6.00, and selected the 2.8mm punch, as the one that was slightly smaller than the cord. DW did the foot tracings for me while I stood in the kitchen. I made the hole marks myself, though. I used two different tracings rather than flopping one upside down to make the other.


    Lacing was simpler than the videos led me to expect. I used the traditional, toga-style system, and got it right the first time, every time. I think.

    Now, I have done two longer, harder runs with the huaraches. I'm beginning to really enjoy them, because they're feeling more natural and I'm gaining more confidence in them.



    • The "shoes" are going to be durable, and they're going to fit, and they won't make my toenails fall off.
    • This is close enough to barefoot running that my feet are working as they should to improve my running form and reduce impact, aka knee and shin pain.
    • No more fear about stepping on gravel or an acorn means I run faster and happier. The bottoms of my feet thank me.


    • This is not barefoot running. Don't have the intimacy with the ground that BF has, and that's too bad.
    • It's more noisy than BF. That's too bad; I liked the very light pat-pat of my feet. The huaraches go flap-flap.
    • The biggest con, and maybe a show-stopper. During the second and third runs, which were longer and harder, the cords wore holes in my feet and ankles, primarily where they cross over tendons. I didn't feel uncomfortable during the runs but noticed when I took the shoes off. I have a half dozen pretty painful raw spots on the tops and insides of my feet.

    I'm using the toga-style tie. Would the slip-on style avoid this? Were they too tight, too loose, too just right? Is it not possible to run hard in huaraches? Any suggestions?

    Well at least someone here is making relevance to the subject. - S.J.

      The painful spots are atypical. I did have a tiny bit of rubbing on my heel, but nothing noteworthy. Right now I am having an issue with the knot on top of my foot, which is why I ran in a pair of shoes yesterday. The knot seems to be causing pain in the top of my foot and it is preventing me from running. I need to fix this issue, because it is a serious problem. It is strange that it was causing any issues until recently. The flip-flop sound could be caused by either form or by not properly lacing the Huarache. I have issues with my left foot flopping, I believe I have figured out that it is a form issue. Which may also explain why all my injuries are on the left.


      No run...need sleepy!

        I'm a bit of a noob runner but I'd like to add my 2 cents and get some feedback.


        Discovering the "barefoot style" has changed everything for me.  Until recently I had been running in some ancient Teva sandals with broken straps and soles that were super glued in place.  I had no issues at all with rubbing straps but they did SLAP SLAP pretty loudly.  I got a lot of funny looks in the handful of 5k's I've run this summer.


        I just bought a new pair



        and I think I'm gonna be pretty happy.  They're a lot quieter too.  Which I attribute to them simply being newer and stiffer.  They don't move around the foot at all.


        I'm curious about the huaraches, but I don't think I could tolerate the strap between the toes.  I have that "thing" about the toes.  I've tried on VFF's but I'm pretty sure they're not gonna work for me either.  Do the huaraches stay in place while running?  They look like they'd be dangling loose which could be distracting.


        I've seen some barefoot/VFF runners out there, but I haven't noticed any other minimalist footwear, specifically sandals.  Any thoughts?

          If laced correctly the lacing between the toe goes almost unnoticed at first, now I don't notice it at all. The stay in place quite well, again, if they are laced correctly. Lacing takes some effort, meaning that the tension can be a bit trick. Having the heal lacing looser than I thought would be required fixed issues with the lacing between the toes. As far as flappiness goes, it is quite tricky and I am still working this out. The idea I have to fix the issue is kinda hard to explain. Maybe, once I have the lacing completely figured out I will post a video.

          As a side note; I went hiking with my wife yesterday. She wore her Tevas (for the first time in a long time), she quickly decided they sole was both too thick and too stiff and is now giving her Tevas away.



            WIth slip on style I haven't had any trouble, although it took 2 or 3 runs to get one of the feet laced correctly (got the other right on the first try.)

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

              Thanks for all your replies.  The flopping sound isn't really that bad; I just prefer the barefoot quietness.  I was surprised how well they stayed on my feet, and how confidently I could run in them.  The cord between the toes was completely unnoticed, but I'm a lifetime flipflops wearer.  I tried the toga style first because I think it looks cool, and once you've gone to slip-on, you can't go back.  Once the sores heal, I'll try the slip-on lacing, though.


              (On a related note, since I have a race coming up next Sunday, and since I won't be able to wear the huaraches, I bought a pair of Vibram KSOs today.)

              Well at least someone here is making relevance to the subject. - S.J.

                [Info: 3 months into running; 3 months into barefoot running; 2.5 months into huraches. Total mileage on huraches: ~70 miles. Longest run in huraches: 8 miles.Height: 6'1", Weight 230 lbs] (Caveat: I've practiced martial arts for 7 years barefoot)


                I've had a lot of success with the huraches. I went with the slip-on style tying. I have only had one blister from the strings, between the toes. The string was too tight and pulling the segment (from the big toe up the arch) at too much of a sideways angle, causing it to rub on the inside of my toe.


                I am suspicious that running in the huraches cause some of the callused skin on the outer ball of my feet to crack a little. It doesn't seem to happen when I go full barefoot. Since reading some of BF-Ken Bob's posts, I'm taking more vitamins and omega-3 supplements to see if I can grow healthier skin.


                I wear my huraches somewhat loose and ignore the flapping. I tried getting them tight enough to stop the flapping, and I had 3-4 blisters appear quickly. I think the strings need to be tight enough to keep the sole more-or-less near your foot, but it's not like a shoe, it doesn't have to be perfect. I think I have an extra inch of sole flapping around the front of my toes and my heel isn't totally covered, but it doesn't affect my running.


                When I made my huraches, I also obsessed over measurements and hole punching; I now think it's not important to be super accurate because the hurache will slide around a little bit.


                If anyone is in Seattle, drop me a line.



                Petco Run/Walk/Wag 5k

                  I'm one that can't wear between the toes flip flops, and the Huaraches lacing hasn't bothered me. I started with slip on lacing, but I had over trimmed one sandal and am testing toga lacing on it. I make a lot of noise no matter which show I am wearing so any Huarache noise doesn't bother me.

                  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.

                  Huaraches Maker

                    Pardon the delay in replying... it's been quite busy in Invisible Shoe-ville and I'm not able to get to the forums as quickly as I'd like.


                    Regarding lace problems, I'd definitely try the slip-on style to see what that does.


                    But with either style, the only reason you would get any rubbing is, well, friction, and friction is caused by motion ... and the motion is either that your foot is TRYING to move and is being restricted by too-tight lacing, or it's moving too much because of too-loose lacing.


                    Some people lace up a pair of huaraches, start running, and never have a problem. Others find that they tweak the tensions a bit for a week or so until they find what works for them. I haven't retied my huaraches in over 9 months.


                    Regarding not being the same as barefoot... well, actually it almost is, but instead of feeling the ground you're feeling the ground if it were covered in 4mm of rubber. Obviously, the only way you would feel the ground the same way that you do when barefoot is, well, if you were barefoot ;-)


                    Regarding "running hard" in huaraches... they're all I wear. And I run on the track -- I wear my huaraches for warm ups and drills and plyometrics and anything slower than a 15 second 100m... when I'm going for personal bests (I run a 12.1 100m at 48 years old), I need my spikes.  I run in the trails around Boulder. I run on the streets. Huaraches are my only shoe. So, "they" can handle any type of running.


                    Now onto my favorite topic: noise.


                    Again, once you put ANYTHING on your feet, it'll sound different than when you have nothing on your feet.


                    But, if you're getting a slapping noise, you're experiencing one of the benefits of wearing huaraches. Not that noise is a benefit, but that the noise is pointing you to something that, when addressed, will not only make the sound go away, but can improve your running form.


                    And the thing that the noise is pointing you to is the way you meet the ground. 


                    I've written a somewhat rambling post about this at but let me give a couple of highlights:


                    I, and hundreds of other huarache-wearers that I know, can run in huaraches and be as close to silent as possible. Barely louder than barefoot and sometimes even quieter.


                    Knowing that it's possible to do that, the question arises: What are the silent-runners doing differently than the non-silent ones?


                    Frankly, if you just wonder that as you run, and play with your stride, using the sound as your guide, you might discover the answer on your own.


                    But that said, slapping almost always comes from some combination of overstriding or meeting the ground with "harder" knees/legs than is necessary.


                    Imagine you were running with the goal of sneaking up on a deer. When your foot would meet the ground, you would flex your ankles, knees and hips to absorb the impact and reduce any sound. That shows you how sound comes less from the material on your feet than how you use your legs (btw, I've heard some freakishly loud barefoot runners... but that's another story).


                    If you start with "deer running" and then do less and less shock absorbing with your legs, you'll eventually find a gait that's quite and efficient... just the right amount of "give" with each step.


                    Unless you're overstriding.


                    Overstriding can leads to slapping noises simply because of the angle of attack when your foot hits the ground. I've watched a lot of overstriding barefoot runners -- most of whom had no idea they were doing it.


                    Without hands-on coaching, the only cure is again to wonder, "What would it be like if I tried putting my foot further back as it landed" and experiment. Guaranteed that if someone has been overstriding, that when the switch to a better foot placement it will feel weird for a while... even if it simultaneously results in an easier, lighter stride, which it does.


                    I hope that helps.



                    No run...need sleepy!

                      "Frankly, if you just wonder that as you run, and play with your stride, using the sound as your guide, you might discover the answer on your own."


                      I'm still a bit of a noob runner but I find I learn something every time I go out.  Any time I run 2-3 miles I find that my second mile is significantly faster and easier than the first.  Coincidentally it's also nearly silent as you describe.  I can't say specifically what changes, other than I simply FEEL that I'm getting in the groove.


                      I generally try to mentally focus on barefoot techniques I've read, and some of the principles of ChiRunning.  It's strange, but the less I think about running while running, the easier it is to run.

                        Thanks Steven, for your thorough answer. I'm sure there's room for improvement in my tying and running skills.  I didn't mean to overemphasize the sound the Hs make; I don't think it's loud or even bad; just different.  The sores, though, must be prevented.  I will definitely keep working with them with your advice in mind.  Keep y'all posted.

                        Well at least someone here is making relevance to the subject. - S.J.

                          I have definitely decided that the Huaraches are causing the pain in my foot, but I don't understand why. This bugs me. I made it to 300 miles in them before I had any issues. I started running in shoes just to keep running. Granted they are cross country flats, but... I am annoyed.


                            I have definitely decided that the Huaraches are causing the pain in my foot, but I don't understand why. This bugs me. I made it to 300 miles in them before I had any issues. I started running in shoes just to keep running. Granted they are cross country flats, but... I am annoyed.


                            Yeah, you're running lots in your huaraches.  Since they don't really do anything, it may be more accurate to say the pain is caused by the lack of shoes, or by minimalist running.


                            When I made the transition, I was plagued with some pain, swelling, and even deep bruising under my left ankle bone.  I was wondering if I had some malformation of my left foot, or was twisting it during my stride, or even if I had a stress fracture.  It was worrisome, but since it tended to be mostly better the next day, I decided to run with it, so to speak - an active recovery approach.  That seems to be working for me.  YMMV.

                            Well at least someone here is making relevance to the subject. - S.J.

                              It's the knot on top of my foot. I guess I should have clarified that.


                                It's the knot on top of my foot. I guess I should have clarified that.


                                Ah, yes, the knot.  Yet you imply that the pain is internal, not an abrasion sore as I am having, right?  (See my next post.)

                                Well at least someone here is making relevance to the subject. - S.J.