$15 homemade huaraches

Discussion in 'Gear & Footwear' started by trevize1138, Oct 12, 2018 at 9:15 AM.

  1. trevize1138

    trevize1138
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    1. Minnesota

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    Got the materials at the Big Island Rendezvous in Albert Lea, MN last weekend. $5 for each bit of thick, though black leather scrap and $5 for 9ft of leather strap. Took them for a 4.5 mile run last night and they're awesome! Not much wear showing yet at all and I'm curious how much mileage I can get out of these.

    I've wanted to try out a pair of leather huaraches for a while because I've come to believe that one of the big dangers to shod running is excessive traction. Horizontal braking forces have recently been linked to injury which rang true to me for how much "softer" running on paved surfaces feels unshod vs even super thin minimalist footwear. My theory is that leather has about the same traction as bare feet so you get a lot closer to feeling more like real barefoot.

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  2. Jon from PDX

    Jon from PDX
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    1. Oregon

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    Having just relaced my Xero sandals and being reminded of the elegant simplicity of the huarache, I’m definitely interested in how this works out.

    It occurs to me that rough leather might be ideal in snow and ice, too. More grip than rubber, more comfort than those tire-chain like crampons, and more durability than wearing just socks.
     
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  3. Gordon

    Gordon
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    Nice. Thinner is better. Mine wore out pretty quickly and I started adding a layer of Vibram Pro Tania Tequil to the bottom of mine. It's only 1mm thick, but it extends the life by orders of magnitude, 10-100x.
     
  4. Gordon

    Gordon
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    I don't thing the difference in grip will be noticeable. The thinner the sole, the more easily I can feel the changing contour of the ground under my foot when it starts to slide, but nothing beats traction for stopping the slide. Neoprene socks are my favorite footwear for snow, but they wear out quickly. On ice, I use thicker sandals with steel cleats if I go out at all, which is rare, since ice melts pretty quickly around here. The biggest issue I see with the all-leather model is that when they get wet, they go limp. My sandals with the 1mm Vibram on the soles go completely limp when they get saturated. When that happens, it's easy to trip over the front of the sandal as it hangs down. I've found that my face is far less abrasion resistant than the soles of my feet ...
     
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  5. Jon from PDX

    Jon from PDX
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    1. Oregon

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    I’m fascinated by this stuff, and am realizing just how much I’ve previously considered footwear purely from a style/status perspective. Good to learn that wet leather loses its structure; this might explain why moccasins seem more popular than huaraches in wetter climates, though my knowledge of indigenous footwear is ... ehm ... lacking. That’d be fun to research, though.

    Point being: thanks for sharing your experiences. I look forward to learning more.
     
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  6. Gordon

    Gordon
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    It is really interesting. I've also made more than a dozen pairs of moccasins in different styles and materials. They're fun to make, fairly easy but not crazy easy like huaraches. This is a good reference https://www.amazon.com/Native-Ameri...Books&sprefix=mocca,aps,228&sr=1-2&ref=sr_1_2 It's a bit cryptic in places, but if you make a pair(make one, actually) they become fairly clear. They have a different problem when they get wet - they stretch out. They turn into little floppy wet bags on your feet and it can ruin them. I think that leather mocs and sandals both shine when it's dry. That includes cold and snowy conditions so long as no liquid water is around. When it's wet and I need footwear, I wear commercially made Luna or Bedrock sandals or Merrell Vapor Gloves. If it's muddy, I wear some VB trail runners with mongo cleats.
     
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  7. trevize1138

    trevize1138
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    1. Minnesota

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    Thinking and researching ancient/indigenous footwear IS fascinating, yes! A lot of lessons can be learned from what people have done for thousands of years.

    Of course, for those of us in the industrialized world the issue is, well, complicated. Ancient people didn't spend decades in snug-fitting, high-traction shoes like we did. For a lot of us that means we learned some very bad habits through our lives as we learned to leverage that artificially high traction. One reason I wanted to try leather sandals is specifically because they'd be less traction not more. And for winter/ice I've embraced the idea that it's good form practice to run on ice with less traction. You really get encouraged to keep your feet under you moving quick and nimble when you don't have jagged, metal grippers to rely on.

    So we sort of have to walk this line of footwear that helps just enough but not too much. Our expectations for how footwear can improve our performance becomes a lot more complex because we're trying to undo decades of inefficient habits.
     
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  8. Gordon

    Gordon
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    Seems like pushing that reasoning onto snow and ice might be a step too far. We evolved, or were created, to run around in the warmer parts of Africa, not on snow and ice. Snow and ice only became an option once we developed technology. I find it hard to run well on snow and ice with slippery soles and feel that it changes my form for the worse. Tiny steps, hands down and out, body too tense and ready to react to the unexpected. It just doesn't feel smooth and easy. Just sayin' ...
     
  9. trevize1138

    trevize1138
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    What running on ice without good traction can do for you is an exaggeration of tight, stable running form. It's great practice and about as polar opposite to running in high-traction rubber shoes as it gets. I wouldn't want to run miles and miles like that but a hundred meters or less as a quick form check and reminder to keep my feet under me is great practice.

    That's why I say the issue is more complicated. Our ancestors wouldn't have gone out and done form drills on ice with slippery leather footwear because what would be the point for them? But our movements have been heavily influenced by modern athletic footwear so we have to sometimes go to extremes to keep that in check.
     
  10. Jon from PDX

    Jon from PDX
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    1. Oregon

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    Talk about high traction rubber on ice doesn’t make sense to me: the ice I know best is wet and slick, and the rubber I know best gets hard and skates along like a waterski. But I suppose real winter weather doesn’t get up above freezing every day, so your ice probably behaves a bit differently. :) I’ve wintered in Maine and Indiana, and their ice was certainly a different creature from what we get in western Oregon.

    All this makes me look forward to putting my feet to good use all winter long. Heck, I haven’t even gotten into rain and mud yet, which will be far more common than ice and snow for me.
     
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  11. Gordon

    Gordon
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    Gotcha. I'm a big fan of running on varying surfaces during the same run for that reason. Here I can sometimes find everything from warm dry dirt, mud, slush, crusty snow, ice, and powder snow all in the same run. Long distances on ice I find really tiring and slow, especially on hills. Maybe I just need the practice. :) My "worst" ever run was a 2000 foot descent over two miles of single track trail on glare ice covered by 2-3" of powder. Old snow that had got rained on and then covered up. We couldn't see the slippery surface to avoid putting feet wrong. We both fell a half dozen times, but ended up laughing so hard that it somehow seemed fun ... on my first fall I slid 20 feet, leaving a shiny snail-trail behind me. Talk about an "oh crap" moment. The thing that worked best for me was to let my legs go completely limp as soon as I knew that recovery wasn't going to happen. That way I crumple somewhat gracefully to the snow rather than getting to admire my shoes silhouetted against the sky ...
     

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