Many runners who are into the barefoot/minimalist footwear movement like huarache sandals. They can be used for running or just for everyday wear. I'm still a beginning barefoot runner and am not using minimalist shoes for running (preferring to really feel everything under my feet), but I did decide it would be fun to make a pair of huaraches.
I may later buy a kit with Vibram soles from Barefoot Ted or Invisible Shoe, but for now I wanted to take a very cheap route to see how I like this footwear style. I went to a craft store (Hobby Lobby) and bought a three-pound bag of leather scraps for the soles. (These scraps worked for me because my feet are size 7; they might have been too short for anyone whose feet were a couple of inches longer than mine.) I also got some craft cord and a leather punch. Total cost before tax: about $17. Note: I did NOT end up liking the particular craft cord I got. It was scratchy and too thick. I ended up with Deertan Lace from LeatherCord USA (3/16"/5.0mm size) and LOVE it! I needed one package of 2-yard lace for each shoe and think that would be enough for most sizes.)
With those supplies I made sandals for myself and each of my two kids. I have some leather left over and lots of extra cord.
My daughter and me:
My son and me:
The sandals are great, and I think they'd work well on asphalt (though not on surfaces that need a shoe with more grip.) But after I'd worn them around the house awhile (and taken the photos above), I began to be annoyed by something I've heard other huarache-wearers complain about--the knot under the shoe. It only bothered one of my feet--the one with less space between the first and second toes. (My sandals' soles are very thin, perhaps 2 mm--if you have huaraches with 6 mm soles, the knots are probably much less of an issue.)
So here's my solution--a way to make huaraches without a knot underneath!
First, you'll need two holes between your toes. I used the Invisible Shoe instructions to make my huaraches. Make one between-the-toe hole at the normal place, and one about 1/2" (1.5 cm) higher. Make the ankle holes at the normal spots.
Thread your cord through both toe holes, from the bottom. Leave a good amount of cord (8 inches or more) coming out of the top hole, but most of the cord should come out of the bottom hole.
To lace the shoe, I used the fantastic slip-on tying instructions from Barefoot Ted. They can be found on YouTube.
Follow his instructions (using the long end of the cord) until the point where you have two straps behind your ankle, and the long end has been threaded through the loop on your left ankle (4:13 on the video.) Or, if you want to leave some extra cord in case the part threaded through the sole breaks, go ahead and follow his instructions until you have three straps behind the heel (5:21 on the video.) I did it with just two straps behind the heel:
Continue to follow Barefoot Ted's instructions for one more step, threading the long end of the cord through the strap that goes across your foot.
Then take the top part of the cord, the part you threaded through the top hole, and thread it down through that same loop.
Pull both ends snug.
Now do a half knot (or whatever the correct technical term is!) with both ends, like you'd do if you were starting to tie a shoe.
At this point you can either finish with a square knot, or complete the tie as if you were tying a shoe. I like the bow; it looks more feminine to me.
Take off the shoe and cut off extra cord. Finish the ends if necessary. (I used a candle to fuse mine. Be careful!)
Voila! It's a super-comfy minimalist sandal without the annoying knot underneath. This cord may wear out faster without the knot, but cord can always be replaced.
I've used these to jog around the house, and I think they'll be fantastic as a minimalist running shoe if and when I feel the need for one. They'll also fit nicely in my Camlbak hydration backpack's front pocket. That way when I'm ready to do long barefoot runs, I can do my Saturday runs to Starbucks (where my family picks me up) and put these on when I get there, so that I can go inside and get my smoothie or Frappuccino!
I've worn these out and about a bit. They are very casual, but I think they're just fine for wearing in public. If someone is paying attention they may notice that the soles look hand-cut, but overall they're pretty cute.
Enjoy your huaraches! I'm enjoying mine!