If you read the book "Born to Run", you know about huaraches....the traditional Mexican sandal worn by the Tarahumaran.
(I read this book and found it a very interesting read, but I'll talk about that another time)
Anyway, the other day as I was closing in on the last couple of miles of my run, I saw a guy cross my path going the same way. Right away I noticed that he was wearing these sandals that were dead ringers for a pair of homemade huaraches. Curious, I sped up a bit and struck up a conversation with him.
I found out his name was Richard Baugh, and a former HP engineer. He made the sandals himself ..riffing off of the design on the invisible shoes website. He runs about 3 days a week in them...not bad for 73 years eh?
We exchanged emails and today I went over to his house (he lives really close to me it turns out) and he "walked me through" how to make a pair myself.
They have soles made from 4mm vibram (which he bought at Mid-Town Shoe Repair, very nearby), and the laces are made from very stylish blue polypropylene cord.
Tools used: foot, marking pen, leather punch and mallet, scissors, lighter (for melting-sealing end of cut cordage), brain.
I walked home from his house in them and found them quite comfortable. The bottom has a textured pattern that makes for pretty good traction on pavement. I wore them in the kitchen while preparing food and promptly forgot I had them on.
I'm not sure if I'll try running in them just yet...I'm happy to use them as a zero drop sandal at home and work to help keep the calves stretched out. If/when I do try them you can bet it will be for a very short fraction of a mile to start!
I took a few video clips of the construction process, although alas I was too busy during some of it to get any shots. I will post the links to the videos I have at some point and perhaps make some better ones when I make another pair ;)
My right calf muscle feels a lot better today..I did 3.1 miles at an easy pace just to sample the waters...no cramping. Tomorrow I'll try a bit more..perhaps 8-10?
UPDATE: I actually ran 12 miles at a 10:04 pace today.....the first 7-8 miles at about 10:20 pace then some fast running on the Paly Track until mile 10 ...with one mile at 7:50....that felt really good...then an easy jog 2 miles home.
I did feel a bit crampy near the end of the run, but I tried lengthening out my stride to stretch out that muscle and that seemed to help. Sometimes the fast compact stride is a bad idea!