I came across these Ho Chi Minh sandals from Vietnam and although a little off topic I though them interesting enough to post about.
Ho Chi Minh sandals are iconic for having been worn by the Vietcong during the Vietnam war. During the war they were considered by many more practical than army boots, because being open they allowed the foot to dry and thus prevented the onset of ‘jungle rot’. But what makes Ho Chi Minh sandals really special in my mind is the simplicity and effectiveness of their design.
The construction and fit of these Vietnamese sandals is fascinating:-
Firstly, none of the straps are glued or nailed, they stay fixed in the sole only because of the tight fit and the rubber grip. This means that with a little effort the length of each strap can also be adjusted to fit the individual users foot width. Although I’m not sure how effective this minimal attachment of the strap to sole is in wet conditions.
Secondly, for all the minimal footwear running enthusiasts out there wearing ‘Pata de Gallo’ Huaraches; the elastic ‘crossed’ ankle straps provide a surprisingly secure fit around the ankle. The secure fit and added support of the ‘crossed’ straps is ideal for running and in my humble opinion a worthy design successor to the original ‘Pata de Gallo’ wrap as worn by the Tarahumara.
Jon who is a reader of Huarache Blog kindly shared a great YouTube video of how Ho Chi Minh sandals are made.