Review of Invisible Shoes Huaraches Part 1

Published by RunningPoint on Wednesday, 23 Feb 2011 13:54 EST

For those who don't know what huaraches are, they are simply one of the most basic forms of footwear. The huaraches consist only of a material that protects the bottom of the foot and a lace to secure them. They have been used specifically by the Tarahumara Indians and have been popularized by Chris McDougall's book Born to Run.

Steven Sashen of Invisible Shoes decided to modernize the huaraches by using a high quality Vibram (yes that Vibram) Cherry sole material which is 4mm thick and has a smooth side for your foot to ride on and a tread side to provide traction. Here's the catch, there are only two ways to get these shoes: a DIY kit or have Steven custom make you a pair. I am a complete and total cheapskate and quite handy so I opted for the DIY kit and will now chronicle the creation of my huaraches from start to finish as part 1 of the review.


First of all, I have to tell you that I have never dealt with nicer people when ordering a product on the internet. Customer service was awesome and everything was 100% as advertised. If you can't tell I am/was very impressed. Second, DO NOT be afraid to make these shoes yourself. Steven has created videos which lead you through the process from start to finish and are extremely straight-forward and simple to understand. Now let's begin.

huaraches feet patternThe package includes a sheet of the Vibram Cherry material in the size you ordered, laces of your color choice, and written instructions to get you started. The first step is to trace your feet and mark a few key points where you will punch holes in the material for the laces. Follow the videos on how to do this and you will end up with something that looks like the image to the right. For reference, I am an average US Men's size 10 and my feet fit on the standard sized kit, a 9"x11" sheet of the Vibram Cherry material. When you have your foot tracings made as shown, the next step is to transfer the outline and the hole locations to the Vibram Cherry material. It is suggested that you use a pencil for this and that is exactly what I did. The lines were perfectly clear enough to see but were not permanently left on the sole material as an ink would be.

huaraches cut outNow it's time to cut out your new shoes. I would suggest using a heavy duty, sharp pair of scissors for this step. When both shoes are cut out, they will look like the image to the left. The next step is to punch the holes for the lacing. Steven suggests in the video that a leather punch be used. I decided he probably knows what he is talking about and hopped in my car for a trip to the local craft store to purchase a leather punch. Twenty minutes later and $10 lighter, I was ready to punch my holes. I decided to start small and punched my first hole. It was immediately obvious that I had started too conservatively. There was no chance that the lace material would squeeze through the hole I made. I dialed up a larger punch and finally found a hole diameter that the lace would fit through, but was still snug so it took some effort to adjust. I personally thought that it would be better this way and have had no issues with the holes at all.huaraches first wear

After all the holes are punched (3 in each shoe), it's time to lace them. To me, this was the most difficult part of the process. First you have to decide how you want to tie the finished product. Steven's website offers a few methods that he has devised and many user submitted methods of tying. I chose the slip-on method and proceeded to watch the video. It took me one complete viewing and then a second viewing where I paused at each step to physically lace and tie the shoe but once you grasp the concept it is super simple. As you can see in the image to the right I was successful.

Final Impressions

The final product turned out great thanks to Steven's videos and his selection of super high quality materials to be included in the kit. The entire process from start to finish was so easy and so fun that I found myself wanting to make more. According to Invisible Shoes no one has worn the soles out so I guess it may be a while until I get to try again. I am so completely in love with my huaraches that it is borderline ridiculous. I wear them at work where I stand for at least 40 hours per week and my feet feel awesome. I seriously don't want to take them off at the end of the day.

Now for the burning question: Yes I have run in them, but will save any talk about running for the second part of the review.

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