HELP! Seeking Advice: Custom Leather Sandals


Sr Member
Greetings, RPF!

I'm interested in replicating these vintage tire tread sandals. The soles are made from old tires, and the remaining bits are leather and brass.

I haven't worked with leather much, but I'm fairly confident that I could learn enough to tackle these, if anyone here is interested in sharing a bit of advice regarding what tools would be necessary to create the leather bits, what kind of leather I'm looking for, etc... any advice would be greatly appreciated! Also, if there's anyone on this forum that's particularly experienced in sandal/shoemaking, leather working, etc. I could be open to the idea of commissioning these (or at least having the leather bits produced). I have a bit more photo reference of these particular sandals, and countless variations of these can still be found on the web (they were made by hand in the 60's / 70's, so every pair is a bit different).

I know this is a long shot, just thought I'd reach out to the talented community here before going in blind!


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I did not respond because I thought there are plenty of resources for this craft. As you say each product is unique so you are not trying to recreate any specific look. If you do an online search for anything like "how to make sandals" you will find a large number resources - books, videos, instructions. This type of footwear started as survival skills since the beginning of time. Using rubber tire tread for the sole is only a recent "improvement". The equipment was minimal and the material recycled. Broken glass or flint to cut and bore holes, old tires for soles, old belts for straps and buckles. If you are new to crafting I would suggest using the same materials to gain some skills. A modern knife of any type and an awl will make the work easier. If you do not have any old leather belts you can probably find them in thrift stores. Old harness or strap leather was also a common resource. Modern adhesive, such as Barge cement, is a great advantage but again proper and strong sewing did the job for centuries. Strong thread can come from unravelling woven fabric or webbing or from the strings of old tennis rackets. If you get in the right mindset you will start to see possibilities everywhere.
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