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I ordered 3 different unit soles from Cobbler Supplies because I wanted to see what they were like. I ordered Vibram Sierra soles, which are hard-core hiking boot soles like military boots, Vibram #127 Athletic soles and Vibram Newporter soles.

I resoled my homemade hiking moccasins with the Sierra soles.

These soles are really heavy and the lugs are really deep. I don't think they would work very well for a pair of huaraches, but you might be able to make it work if you used the heavy-duty Luna Leadville laces, but they would be heavy. They make the shoes feel heavy but I think I could get used to it in a few minutes and then I would never slip on any of the ball-bearing trails I hike on ever again!

I decided to make a pair of huaraches out of the Newporters. I find my Invisible shoes great for running in town, and thicker huaraches are great for running on trails and rocky stuff, but sometimes when I'm hiking, that Newflex just doesn't have enough traction. I was curious if the Newporter soles would be better than Newflex. It's heavy and fairly thick. No ground feel. But it's very flexible. Maybe not so good for running but for hiking, possibly ideal. I haven't tested them yet though.

When I was shopping at Tandy I found this leather spacer stuff that has holes already punched in it. I thought maybe I could make sandals from it. Tandy also sold buckles the same size. I threaded the lacing similar to Chacos. I wore these all day today. They feel great. I used the Vibram #127 sole on these.

I think if I was going to make a pair of huaraches for regular running, these Vibram #127 soles would work great. They are thin, flexible, the rubber feels durable and it has a non-aggressive sole pattern, it's not super heavy like the other two. If you were ever thinking of just ordering a unit sole to make one pair of huaraches rather than a whole huge sheet, these would work great.

(I think the 127 soling itself is about 4mm thick. I've added 1/4" of foam to these sandals in the middle, so that's why it looks pretty thick. If you aren't going to have a toe hole, your sandal can't be too floppy.)

Sorry I just have links to pictures instead of pictures. I was too lazy to upload 5 images.


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Those unit soles are a very good deal if you only want to make one pair of shoes, or if you want to play with shoe making but are not serious about it yet.

Newporter soles - $12.50 Cherry sheet - 37.75

When I got a pair of newporters for my mother's shoes, I got a larger size so I could trim them down to make a correct length sole a bit wider than the standard shape.


I hiked in the Newporter huaraches yesterday. Yes, stuff does get stuck in the tread, like dog poo. Eww! But otherwise the tread sticks well to wet rocks and seemed to do well on dry trail. I never once slipped not even a little.

But at the end of an 8 mile hike, my feet were terribly sore. There is a lot more ground feel than I expected. I found the sandals to feel "hard". I don't know a better word to describe it. I think the trail itself feels less hard but put these soles between me and the trail and it feels harder than concrete.

Also, the sole is heavy and floppy and thus it slaps a lot on downhills because the sandal sort of hangs. It doesn't conform to the shape of your foot except by tying the laces tight. Other kinds of soles will take on a slight curve from your foot after a while.

If I can, I will try to figure out a way to add some (gasp) cushioning. The cushioning may help the sandal conform better to my foot, give it some body in other words, and feel less hard. I may also try a totally different lacing pattern, perhaps without the toe thong. I want a good hiking sandal. I already have good running sandals. I seem to like different things for running vs. hiking.


Check out soles that are made from crepe or gumlite, they tend to be more cushioned and conforming but don't last as long as the more rubber compounds.

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