I just successfully finished making my first pair of Huaraches, based off the running sandals used by the Tarahumara Indians. It must have been the native Alaskan in me. (OK, so I don't have native blood but I was born and raised in Alaska...) Anyways, back to the point. These things are really cool! They're pretty much the closest thing you can have to barefoot without the bare feet. Vibram FiveFingers (VFF's) are very similar but some report that they are a little stiffer than these and feel a little more shoe-like because of the encapsulating top. An added benefit to Huaraches is that they don't smell, which is an oft complained of "feature" of the VFF's. (That being said I'm very interested in trying some VFF's and may be purchasing a pair myself in the future.)
On to the build:
The absolute best site for all things DIY Huaraches related is www.InvisibleShoe.com The founder of the site, Steven, has put together an excellent resource if you're interested in making a pair, there are full instructional videos and forums dedicated to the shoes. Also if you are wanting to build or buy one pre-maid pair you can't beat his prices.
For the build I followed Steven's instructions with only a few variations. First is getting the foot shape:
Second, cutting out the material:
Lastly, tying them up:
My only real variation was the knot under the toes and the hole sizes. After I tied it I was completely annoyed by the feeling of a pebble under my shoe. I tried the suggestion of cutting the chord out of the middle of the laces then tying the knot but it was still too big for me. What I came up with was to melt the end of the lace with a lighter then smash it flat so it mushroomed out like a little flange on the end of the lace. Seen in this picture:
As you can see there is very little protrusion from the bottom of the sandal.
I'll also note that there are a TON of different ways to tie these bad boys, most of which can be found at www.invisibleshoe.com/tying/ For this first attempt I'm using Steven's slip-on method and seem to be fairly happy with it. I've got some bungee laces that I'd like to experiment with but that will come later.
The Finished Product
I'm including this one just so you can see the difference in the top and bottom textures of the material. The tops are very smooth while the bottom has a nice grid that seems to be quite grippy.
If you want to build your own stop by www.invisibleshoe.com and for $20 score yourself a pair!