Ho Chi Minh Sandals

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.

6 Comments on “Ho Chi Minh Sandals”

  1. Jon says:

    Great site! I enjoy your your pics, especially the ones featuring tire soles. As someone who has made and worn Ho Chi Minh sandals for many years and I thought you might like to see this clip of a true artist making sandals in Cambodia.

    P.S. If anyone knows what kind of tool he’s using let me know as that thing rocks!!!!

    • huaracheblog says:

      Hi Jon, thanks very much, I’m glad you enjoy the Huarache Blog. Thanks also for the great video link, I’ll insert it into main the Ho Chi Minh sandals post so everyone will see it. As you mentioned wearing Ho Chi Minh sandals for many years; do the straps ever come loose walking when they get wet?

      • Jon says:

        Yes I do most of my hiking, at least in the summer, in Ho Chi Minh’s. Actually I avoid getting the sandals wet, at least the top of the sole that contacts your foot. I’ve found once that part gets wet the sandal has a strog tendancy to slid on your foot. Many times I’ve slipped and found the entire sandal has slid onto the side of my foot, or worse my foots slipped unexpectedly while climbing. Don’t misunderstand, it’s the foot that generally slips in the sandal, the sandal usually stays put. If the bottom of the sandal is wet but the top is at least somewhat dry no worries!

        The inner tube straps will loosen up with time wet or dry. I managed to get two summers of use out of the last pair I dedicated to hiking before two of the front straps pulled through, and they were wet, with the ends of the starps worn off. Once the ends of the straps sticking out on the bottom wear off the problem of pulling through becomes more of an issue. But it depends too on how thick the tire tread or sidewall one uses to make the soles. The thicker the sole the more surface area the inner tube straps have to grip. Of course the thicker the sole the thicker the strap needs to be, at least in my experience.

        As water is a natural lubricant I would say yes, water is likely to spped up the pull through process. But as I said in my experience getting the whole sandal wet is, at least for me, not something I want to do. Jon

      • huaracheblog says:

        Thanks for the valuable insight.

  2. Ken says:

    I had a pair for many years until they wore out. where can I purchase another pair?

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