Super sandals

Hacked sandals for running fast & long.

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Human shoes are an utter disaster for lions. After many Hokas & ASICs, the next step was sandals. They have since allowed personal record breaking speeds, but not as much distances.

Human shoes are an utter disaster for lions.  The single greatest idea for making human shoes fit lion paws came from

This is the only way we can run reasonable distances without blisters, pantar fasciitis, & black clawnails.  Over the years, as lion fitness improved, distances & speeds increased, & even this has run into limitations.  Barepaw running is unacceptable, because of the dog manure, human waste, & rocks.  Humans are nasty animals.

Another problem which has arisen is shoes are now being discontinued after only 1 production run.  Like books, programming languages & blockbuster movies, they're sold more for publicity & thrown away.  Finding another shoe which works as well as last year's blockbuster can take years, if ever.  The only long term solution is making shoes from scratch, from easily obtainable materials.

After extreme blistering in a 19 hour race, lions experimented with slow quarter miles in $8 Walmart sandals.  In the 19 hour race, shoes trapped sand & moisture from the beach track.  If they just had more ventilation, the problems might have been avoided. Sandals could actually hit decent speeds, with a bit more upswing.  It became clear the best chance lions have of reaching the next level is  modified sandals.  Sandals won't allow the maximum speeds, but they should allow the maximum distances.

Humans have since created

extremely expensive versions of $8 Walmart sandals, with more straps.  $40 for the Xeroshoes Genesis would be reasonable if it wasn't for another problem.  The last pair of shoes wore down in only 3 months.  Most of a lion's life is spent running on inner foam rather than rubber.  

The Goog may actually embargo all but adsense paying commercial links, since it reveals no hacks.  Of course, lions don't sew & don't want to be like the male humans who do sew.

A nugget of info escaped the Alphabet corporation's embargo.

Sandals & how to tie them.  All these guys have pretty beat up feet & watching their videos conjure up foot odors.  Something is a bit off when it's only being done by men.  The dominant search result is, but he's bald.  

1st lion run in sandals

Current bill of materials:

1mm Vibram soling sheet for the bottom, adhered with E6000:

On top of the soles, a polypropylene sheet to reinforce string attachment points & defeat rocks.  Polypropylene squares if not worried about rocks.

For the top, 2x6mm white EVA layers tacked by E6000

or 10mm EVA combined with a 6mm EVA to get 16mm

Maybe a top layer of suede to improve traction in rain.

#18 yellow nylon mason line for the heel strap & toe strap.

White string is a different material that degrades over time, so yellow has been the only useful string.

E-6000 adhesive. 

Hot glue.

Cord fasteners with 8.25mm or bigger holes.

The toe strap uses a bundle of 8 x #18   string, 19" long.

The heel strap uses a bundle of 10 x #18  string, 35" long.

Bundles of parallel strings have proven to be the least abrasive laces.

Cord fasteners have to be ground out to fit the 10 strand + 10 strand strings, but may not have to be ground out to fit the 10...

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  • 2022 edition

    lion mclionhead04/25/2022 at 22:31 0 comments

    They're lasting 800 miles.  The mane changes this year were reducing the rear lace to 10 passes of string & gluing the rear lace to the sole.  The most time consuming part is cutting all the materials.  Gluing 2 pairs takes 4 days because of the number of clamps.  

    The lifespan has been limited by large wear areas in the middle of the sole which would require a completely new sole.

  • Mountain test 1

    lion mclionhead03/27/2022 at 00:55 0 comments

    A long awaited test involved going up & down the mountain in 16mm sandals.

      The uphill segment was all done on trails.

    Only the last part of this section entailed using 4 paws.  The rest of this section was gnarly but doable in the uphill direction.

    Sadly, the sandals didn't have enough traction to attempt these 2 sections in the downhill direction.  The downhill direction was much gnarlier.  The laces weren't the problem, but the smooth soles weren't up to it.  There are no lugged 1mm soles.  Perhaps lugs can be glued on, but they're going to be heavy.  The great challenge continues to be steep sand covered clay.

    Steeper sections with exposed rock were doable.  Rock hits in the downhill direction were painful.  The downhills had to be slower than in shoes.

  • 16mm EVA #2

    lion mclionhead05/29/2021 at 19:55 0 comments

    The 16mm soles proved a decent compromise between speed & durability over 6 months. 

    Right paw compression was down to 6mm while the 12mm sandals compressed to maybe 1-2mm so the compression in both cases was 10-11mm.

    Left paw compression of the 16mm was down to 3mm, so the 12mm sandals may be a case of the foam compressing all the way down to a solid, with still more compression to go.

    Original 12mm compression.

     Despite having more cushioning, the soles still wore out fast.  They might have worn out faster because of the cushioning.  They might have gone 500 miles per pair.

    More proper clamping joined the next EVA sheets.  Because wood clamps are so nose bleed expensive & the pressures on foam aren't very high, there's motivation for 3D printing a jig for gluing the pieces.  Gluing sandals is just a very rare operation for such an investment in gear.  

    The 10mm foam was actually cuttable with ordinary scissors.  Making holes in the full 16mm requires an exacto.

    The 1st investment in cord locks in years.  The orange ones look a lot better, but only fit around the toe straps.

    Square plastic bits appeared to wear away the soles faster, so the they were rounded again.  Extra glue was applied to keep them oriented.

    The soles got a more aggressive clamping.  Another 10 clamps are still required to do it right.

    These are quite good.

    The clamping led to the best edges so far.  

    Black soling ran out with the shortages in 2021.  Extra patches will be glued to the worn areas as they wear out.

    The laces swell over time, making the cord locks tighter.  They're too loose when they're new.

    The last set underwent a lot of patching on the soles to worn areas.  They retained a lot more cushioning than 12mm.  They have a few more miles left before being discarded.

    Wear varied greatly, depending on the lacing variations & paw position.  Right paws are getting beaten up more than left paws.

    What's desperately needed are semi permanent adjustments for the rear & outside of the ankle strap.  They don't have to be adjustable in the field like the existing adjustment points.  Lions continue to dream of a 3D printed cord lock to fuse the 2 existing ones into 1.

  • 16mm EVA

    lion mclionhead12/06/2020 at 04:42 0 comments

    A combination of 10mm & 6mm sheets arrived, along with rounder plastic to try to reduce the wear.   The 10mm sheets can only be cut with an xacto.

    The last 12mm pairs compressed into paper.  Still looking for a denser foam.

  • Luna enhancements 3

    lion mclionhead08/06/2020 at 07:26 0 comments

    Back to the 2 triangle farsteners. A new theory emerged that larger ribbon loops might make the farstener areas more flexible. 2 loops can be enlarged, but a 3rd loop is too close to the pavement. It would have to be sewed instead of hot glued. Also, eliminating the cord locks & fixing the toe strap length might improve the toe strap. The lion paws have to heal from the last experiment before trying these on.

    Rubber cement has done a better job than hot glue at farstening the suede to rubber.  Suede continues to work well at avoiding blisters from the rubber.  Lions wash these after every run.

  • More luna enhancements

    lion mclionhead06/08/2020 at 04:15 0 comments

    The suede pieces from 2 years ago were taken off the xero sandals, after being untouched for 2 years. They looked absolutely ancient. It really was a long time ago when the sandal experiment began.  So much of that time was spent commuting, it felt a lot more recent.

    The suede ended any blistering from the rubber, but with increased running distance came another hot spot from the triangle farstener.  

    This was a total failure.  Hot gluing the straps makes them more abrasive.

    Another shift of the toe strap closer to the center.

    The cord locks from strapworks had strange, unused plastic bits which were ground off.  The lion kingdom suspects a smaller, more round shape is easier on the paws.  

    The toe strap made of 9 strands of white mason line was found to be too aggressively slicing lion paws, so it was popped out.  It held up surprisingly well, but to reduce the amount of pressure on the lion paws, it had to be thicker.

    A 2nd hole was drilled with a 5/16 bit.  It was found that the flexibility of the rubber prevented the hole from growing to the size of the bit.

    The traditional 2nd toe strap was put in.  This strap was made from 9 strands of #18 yellow mason line.  It fit through the holes just like the 9 strands of white mason line, despite fears that yellow mason line was thicker.  Maybe the original hole stretched from being worn.  This was 2 more strands than what the EVA sandals used for their toe strap.  The EVA sandals dropped to only 7 strands of yellow mason line, to allow it to fit through unmodified cord farsteners.

    It came out surprisingly well isolated from the pavement.  

    Another lace design taking out 1 of the plastic triangles went in.

    A slight twisting of the ribbon & protruding section ate lion flesh.  The new toe plug worked quite well, though.

    Ribbon laces have been quite a failure compared to string bundles, but there's no way to make a string bundle big enough to support such a heavy sole & fasten it. The sole has to be lighter or it needs a fabric upper. Lions have started leaning towards designing lighter soles that are better at buffering rocks, rather than trying to enhance the lunas.

  • Replacing toe plugs

    lion mclionhead06/06/2020 at 07:15 0 comments

    So with no need to commute, the lion kingdom washed its sandals after every run & the white toe plugs quickly became frayed.  It was time to replace them with yellow string, which despite being more abrasive, would hopefully not fray.

    Replacing the toe plug in permanently adhered soles was hard.  Your biggest allies in this part of the battle are the AMD knife, tweezers & blade screwdriver.

    To remove the frayed string, cut 1 side of the toe plug near the sole where it isn't frayed.  Wiggle the other side while pulling it & push the cut side with the knife.  The polypropylene protects the foam from pulling.

    Then push the new string in a hole, 1 loop at a time & under the polypropylene with the knife.  Use the tweezers to pull the loops out the other side.  Use the screwdriver to keep the polypropylene in place.  It's helpful to mark the position of the loops on the string. 

    This process passes 4 loops containing 8 strands of string.  Only 7 of the strands are used, since only 7 strands of yellow string fit in the unmodified farsteners for the old toe plug.  For the yellow string, the farsteners should be modified & 8 strands should be passed through, exactly like the white string.

    After trimming the string & CA gluing the ends, the sandals are ready.

  • Luna teardown & enhancements

    lion mclionhead05/11/2020 at 00:11 0 comments

    It was clear that the lacing was useless, so it was time to tear it apart.  The lion kingdom desperately wanted to stick with heal straps for such a heavy sole, while moving to string for the toe plug.

    This led to the strapworks gootube channel

    There actually is a method to fastening straps.  Eventually ordered a pile of random fasteners from them instead of tends to sell only large quantities of 1 type of fastener for a lot more money.  Sometimes the only plan is just to try out random ideas.

    2 weeks later, a bag of farsteners arrived.  

    The biothane was a waste, too stiff for any use besides maybe a strap on a vehicle.  It was all a casualty of not being able to see things in person.

    The best webbing has been 5/8" neon green tubular nylon.  The tracer marking may look ugly, but it's useful for measuring.  The prototypes began, heavily relying on hot snot for temporary bonds.

    The new toe plug was made from  9 19" long strands of #18 white masons line.  This was the maximum thickness which could go through the hole.  All the white string will be replaced by yellow mason line because it frays when it gets wet.

    Since past sandals had no indentation for the toe plug, lions had to make the toe plug loop around 2 holes.  The Lunas have an indentation for the toe plug, allowing a single length to be hot glued in.  This will be replaced by epoxy with some kind of mold release so it can be removed.

    Lions have black toes from wearing shoes.

    A simple cord fastener allowed the toe plug to loop around the side farstener.  There are a few other places to loop it.  The holy grail of sandals was achieved: independently adjustable toe plug, rear heal, & front heal  in a minimally abrasive system.

    The best design thus far achieved independently adjustable toe plugs & front ankle straps, no chafing from the plastic or the straps.  The key is to keep all the farsteners as close to the ankle as possible.

    The ages old strap adjuster, 0.75" - 1", proved to be the best way to make an adjustable front ankle strap.  It could use some extra rounding of the edges to prevent chafing.  The rear ankle strap will eventually be a fixed length, as it was on the EVA sandals.  All suede was eventually replaced with nylon straps.

    The rubber soles eventually proved to be the  mane cause of blisters.  The traditional solution is a layer of suede on the rubber, but these are already super heavy soles.

  • Luna sandal details

    lion mclionhead05/09/2020 at 21:30 0 comments

    The lion kingdom bought the most expensive pair of sandals in lion history to aid its quest for the ultimate trail sandal.

    The heal bumper is some kind of neoprene sewed onto fake leather.

    The sole was the only differentiating factor lions could find between their $80 & $110 sandals.  It's much softer than Vibram's 1mm soling material but thicker.  The lace fasteners go below the sole, so they'll wear out.

    The sole contains Vibram rubber, probably a neoprene cushion, & a harder upper rubber.  Also note the plastic lace attachment is sewed together.

    The lace is a single nylon tube of some kind.  It doesn't use velcro but merely a fabric bungy cord of some kind to squeeze the end together.

    Fastener for toe plug & heal strap.  It adds friction to keep the 3 lace segments the same size.

    Heal to sole fastener.  Plastic to withstand the wear from being exposed under the sole, but sewed instead of glued or riveted.  It adds friction to keep the heel the same size.

    The toe plug has a fabric piece joining 2 nylon lace segments of different diameter.  The fabric piece is the scene of a lot of sharp edges.  The lion kingdom's 1st idea was to wrap it in scotch.

    It was a useful example of how to manage a flat lace.  Lions prefer separate laces for the toe plug & the heal.  No fasteners should be exposed under the sole, since no plastic is as durable as Vibram soling material.

    Obviously the soling material came from Italy & the plastic bits came from China, but there was a lot of sewing that could have been done in Seattle.

    3 miles in those ended badly.  The areas of the nylon lace system which were wrapped in bungy cords &  fabric attacked the lion paws.  The entire toe plug was a knife.  The plastic side fasteners rode up on the sides of the sole, creating a blister causing bowl.   At least the soles were effective at defeating rocks.  There won't be an easy off the shelf trail sandal.

    The nylon lace might be salvageable if it has a less abrasive covering on certain sections.  The side fasteners need to be replaced by suede or something soft.  It might involve sewing.  In the worst case, the entire lace system can be replaced by tried & true multi pass string.

    Rigid plastic fasteners which are fixed to the sole are how they prevent your paws from sliding around on hills.  Shoes trade stiffness for covering your paw in a larger area of fabric, so to get the same stability from a softer material would require turning the soles into shoes.  

  • 2 more pairs

    lion mclionhead05/03/2020 at 06:37 0 comments

    The mane addition with these sandals was extra bits of rubber in the highest wear areas.

    The lace ends were taped together into loops until they fully stretch.  Then, the laces may be cut again & hot glued or left as loops.

    The photo record says the last pairs were built in April & Aug 2019.  The April pair was only used once per week & went at least 400 miles.  The Aug pair was used 5 days per week & went a lot farther.  They finally got replaced, today.  The mane cause of death is the soles wearing down.  While the EVA quickly compresses into cardboard, the compression hasn't been the mane problem.  Alternating sandals for every run may undo some of the compression.

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