As a barefoot runner I began running on the beach, but later in my transition to running on the road I made myself a pair of ‘Pata de Gallo’ Huaraches using a leather strip, a thin sheet of vibram and some suede purchased from the local cobbler.
However the ‘Pata de Gallo’ Huarache design did not feel stable nor comfortable for running. Not only did the front medial side flap about when my foot was in the air during the recovery phase, but the stiff leather strip put too much pressure over the joint of my 2nd toe.
I recently developed a new ‘Pata de Gallo’ Huarache design which is more stable and is comfortable on my toes while running.
Integrating some of the clever features of ‘Ho Chi Minh’ sandals, my new Running Huarache Sandals are a mixed breed. The Huaraches are made from 3 parts; 5mm thick aircraft inner tube rubber for the outsole, 1.2-1.4mm leather for my sole lining and 25mm wide strips of bicycle inner tube for the straps. I added an extra set of holes in the mid foot for an additional pass of the rubber strap. This provides me with added support and reduced strap pressure between my toes.
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.