Make Your Own Summer Sandals

Summer Sandals Tutorial

For this idea, the spiral scarf pattern had to wait a few more days. SHOES. I’ve always wanted to make shoes. Any shoes. The closest I’ve come are some knitted and felted Mary Janes. They’re nice, but they’re house shoes and that put them in the same category as socks.  My fantasy has been to walk in town in my very own handmade shoes. It seemed so exciting and yet impossible at the same time.
Until today.

Summer shoes are a challenge for me. I don’t own flip flops, because I can’t find anything to like about them except maybe their price tag. My toes hate to be separated by a rubber thingy and I’m neither a fan of the sound they make nor the name. How can anyone trust a shoe called a “flip flop”. Needless to say, you can’t run in them. Admitted there are some nice designs out there and some people can really pull them off, but the toe issue has forever prevented me from getting the “number one” summer shoe. That is until last week.

Why have I converted? Well, I haven’t, but I thought the soles were quite useful and maybe, just maybe I could figure a way to attach something somehow to make them into wearable footwear. When you look at the construction of shoes, the concept is quite simple. There’s the sole and an upper part glued to it. I don’t like glue that much in any of my work, but I understand its necessity in many applications. Shoes are one of them. And then I tried a few short cuts and used an existing flip flop sole (because every once in a while I try things) and……..IT WORKED. Look at this. You can make your own pair of summer sandals in no time. And you can be very creative in customizing – just what I like. And here’s how:

- flip flops (preferably used)
- scissors
- piece of chalk or marker
- craft knife
- heavy duty waterproof glue
- recycled t-shirts
- screw driver
- flat butter knife or thin plastic ruler to stuff fabric into the soles. (Not shown)
- clamps (or heavy books)

Summer Sandals Tutorial 1

Cut the rubber bits at the point where they come through the sole. Leave just the “plug” between your toes in place (the one that hold the foot down. Glue that in place) Remove the other two in the rear.

Summer Sandals Tutorial 2

These holes will be used for the ties around your ankles.

Summer Sandals Tutorial 3

Take a long strip (2in wide and long enough to wrap around you ankle) and knot one end. Thread it through the hole with a screwdriver and glue in place. The knot will nestle nicely into the hole from the plug you’ve removed, so you’re not walking on it.

Summer Sandals Tutorial 6
Summer Sandals Tutorial 7

Make 2 horizontal slits on each side of the the foam sole of your flip flop.

Summer Sandals Tutorial 5

Cut 2 strips of t-shirts 3″ wide and approx. 8″ long. You will need to experiment a bit. Every foot is different and the t-shirt material has a different stretch.

Summer Sandals Tutorial 8

Stuff the strips into the incision you’ve made crossing them over the foot. I used a protractor because that was the only thing I could find in my creative frenzy.

Summer Sandals Tutorial 9

When you are happy with the look, glue the strips in place, following the direction for the glue you are using. Be sure to use a waterproof glue.

Summer Sandals Tutorial 1

Clamp together and wait an hour or two, until the glue is really dry. You’ve done it.

Summer Sandals Tutorial

There are a million variations on this theme:
Instead of 2 incisions at each side, you can also make a longer incision and squeeze a wider strip into the gap. Or squeeze 1 separate strip into each gap and tie them into a bow across your foot.
You could decorate the shoe. Flowers, buttons, brooches.
Use different colors for the two strips, maybe really bold primary ones.

My idea was to make many pairs to show different ideas, but I got so excited and wanted to share this before everyone runs off to the beach for the month of August (well, at least the French do)  and I trust that you are perfectly able to experiment yourselves. I’m already thinking of some fun winter shoes.

What is not very cool is that flip flops are not environmental friendly. They’re made from petroleum and travel all the way from China to be sold for USD2.99. That sounds awfully wrong, doesn’t it?

I wonder if yoga mats will work as well? They would have even more fun colors…….maybe they could be stacked, to make plateau shoes. That’ll give my 5’3″ some boost…So I don’t have to stand on my tip toes like Nicolas Sarkozy.

If you make these sandals, will you please show me some of your ideas and results?

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106 Responses to “Make Your Own Summer Sandals”

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  1. Mary H says:

    What a clever idea!

  2. Mary H says:

    What a clever idea!

  3. Mary H says:

    What a clever idea!

  4. Mary H says:

    What a clever idea!

  5. Cindy Caraway says:

    Fantastic tutorial – Thank you soooo much!
    I am also a hater of flip-flops – having them on for a nanosecond causes severe pain between my toes, literally. These are sweet and look very comfy – and can be made to match any outfit :)

  6. Sharon says:

    well now….just when i thought you had reached a creative crescendo you manage to add something else to the symphony! i am yet again amazed at your ingenuity…shoes! who would have thought it! now, i must put down my needle and take up my flip flops (and i have several pairs) and dig into my stash of tees….this could get interesting….can't wait to see what you are planning for winter! well done you!

  7. Lisa at Lil Fish Studios says:

    This is just awesome. I can't wear flip-flops either. I've been working on a pair of leather moccasins for myself, but I'd really rather wear sandals in the summer. This is the perfect solution.

  8. boatx2 says:

    One of my really good friends was asking me how to make a grosgrain flip flop and I honestly had no idea. But I said I'd keep my ear to the ground of the creative commons.

    They look great! What a tutorial.
    I'm sending this to her immediately!

    Kathrin! Always saving the day!!


  9. suschna says:

    Super! sagt eine, die ebenfalls mit jeder Art von FlipFlops und Pantöffelchen nicht klarkommt. Bei mir ist es eher so, dass ich ständig die Zehen festkrallen muss, um die Sohlen nicht zu verlieren. Das hasse ich. Deine Sandalen würde ich vielleicht mit festem Baumwollstoff versuchen. Vielleicht bietet der mehr Halt als ein T-Shirtstoff?
    Als ich noch zur Schule ging, habe ich mir mal Stiefel selbstgemacht, auch unter Verwendung eines alten Sohlenpaares. Die Stiefel sahen ein bisschen nach Indianer aus. Für mich war es damals die ultimative Herausforderung (ist es eigentlich heute auch noch, ich teile deine Begeisterung).

  10. mayaluna says:

    Even though I'm one of those crazy flip floppers who LOVES those little straps between my toes, I adore this entire concept!!! Ingenious and fabulous, Kathrin! Can't wait to experiment with some of my own, and I'm looking forward to seeing your next pair!

  11. JCB Design Studio says:

    That is an amazing post, I totally LOVE this idea! I am not able to wear "flip flops" myself because I get WICKED blisters and those are NO fun at all. This is a great idea and I think I just might try it, being a girl who loves shoes and especially sandals! Thanks! This is great!

  12. Anonymous says:

    Outstanding! You are truly amazing! I may have to try this one….to match the skirt and scarfs.
    Can't wait to see more ideas for these.

    Looking forward to the patterns for the scarf. And where do I find the skirt? Is that yours or Maya's?


  13. annekata says:

    Thank you all for you great comments and support!

    @suschna: Ich dachte auch erst, ich muesste Denim oder festeren Baumwollstoff nehmen, aber Jersey haelt wirklich gut. Man muss nur aufpassen, dass man die Streifen nicht zu lose in die Schlitze reinklebt. Jersey ist naemlich sehr "forgiving" (und auch so bequem.) Man kann die Schuhe bestimmt auch in den Trockner zu werfen, wenn sie ein bischen "lommelig" (sagt man "lommelig" in Berlin?) werden. Deine Stiefel wuerde ich uebrigens auch mal gerne sehen…….

    @Donna: The skirt is Maya's and is truly amazing! I can't wait myself for her pattern. Scarf is coming next week.

    @boatx2: I have my eyes on you girl. Your blog is offering some fabulous food for thought. I'm still thinking about your bombs and bracelets post.

    @Sharon: You went to a concert last night, didn't you? :) Thanks for the encouragement.

    @Maya: Hope you're working on the skirts!

  14. Sorka says:

    That is a great idea! Especially since I HATE flip flops and wouldn't mind one bit chopping a pair up!

  15. Kathy Floen says:

    OK, seriously love this idea! :) I think I may have to run out and get some stuff to create my own! :) WOW! :)Thanks for sharing and I can't wait to see what other designs you come up with….please share more.:D

  16. suschna says:

    Also, das Wort lommelig habe ich in meinem ganzen Leben noch nicht gehört. Aber ich kann mit schon vorstellen, dass man in der Waschmaschine entlommeln kann.
    Die Stiefel sind seit mindestens 30 Jahren in die ewigen Jagdgründe verschwunden.

  17. CraftCrave says:

    Just a quick note to let you know that a link to this post will be placed on CraftCrave today [30 Jul 12:00pm GMT]. Thanks, Maria

  18. Marley says:

    Great idea. I hate that thing in between my toes too. My mind is reeling with possibilities. Thanks.

  19. Gwen says:

    Wow I was just looking at a pair of these today but they were wedge heels and my mom wouldn't let me get them. I'm psyched to start my pair!

    Gwen's daughter,

  20. Anonymous says:

    Brilliant! I am so happy that I've discovered your blog. I had an idea last fall about making crocheted "boots," but I didn't really know where to start. I'm going to experiment with your idea first and then maybe I'll get some good direction — maybe crocheted flip-flops!

  21. Anonymous says:

    I'm a lover of flip flops and ALL shoes. My problem is that I have wide feet and have a terrible time finding cute shoes, especially sandals!
    I'm going to give these a shot next week! Thank you!!!

  22. Clare K. R. Miller says:

    Whoa, I LOVE these! They're just beautiful and they look easy to make too! I have the same problems as you with flip-flops. I don't understand how they can be comfortable! Next time I'm near a dollar store, or if one of my sister's pairs breaks, I'm definitely going to make these. Good way to use that extra T-shirt material too.

    I've always been interested in making my own shoes without all the effort that goes into making, well, real shoes ;) I had a paper shoe kit/instruction book when I was a kid. It was really cool, but I never managed to make shoes that fit.

    I like the yoga mats idea. I suspect they're made from petroleum, too, but I'm envisioning a sole made from seven yoga mats in the colors of the rainbow… You could also use pieces of craft leather for the sole, I imagine. Or worn out rubber tires.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Oh! And I live in Southern TX, so I wear sandals year round!

  24. Monika @ Home says:

    Es sieht super aus!!!!Great Idea!!!
    LG from Ireland:D

  25. Debra says:

    Oh, the LOVE. Like you I cannot stand to wear flip flops and have been so unhappy that they appear to be the only summer sandals available at the moment.

    Shall be trying to make a pair of these this weekend- the embellishment possibilities are endless.

  26. alittleladyand3men says:

    I love this!! My husband runs a shoe resoling company so I'm going to mooch his skills and tools to make some of these lovelies!!

  27. Little Treasures says:

    Oh my!! These are just gorgeous! Although I like wearing flip-flops I am willing to try this lovely and intelligible tutorial myself. Have a spare pair of flip flops for that matter. Thank you for sharing!!

  28. Ruby Taylor says:

    Love your idea!! And, like you said, there are so many different possibilities for variations and decorations! Can't wait to try this!!! Do you think , If I go to Home Depot or WalMart I would be able to find a waterproof glue that will work with both the flip flop rubber and the fabric? May I ask what kind of glue you used? Many thanks! Ruby

  29. Julie says:

    What a great idea and blog! I'm a new follower! Can't wait to see more great ideas.

  30. Emily says:

    Great idea!

  31. annekata says:

    Thanks for all your lovely comments!

    @RubyTailor: The glue I'm using is Gorilla Glue and it works really well. Don't use too much though, because it's like a foam and expands while it dries.

  32. cucicucicoo says:

    wow! amazing!

  33. Anonymous says:

    It's not nice to laugh about Sarkozy, you should offer him your first plateau shoes as a punishment!

  34. Cath says:

    Such a great idea =D I've to do this seriously! Just need to find an old pair somewhere :D

  35. Rani says:

    these are awesome! Can't wait to make mine! Thanks so much!

  36. ÖRGÜÇANTAM says:

    mükemmel, süpeeeerrrr.
    çok begendim.

  37. Jen Ell says:

    This is quite nifty! You could even sandwich two soles together!

  38. Melody says:

    Clever idea! I'm going to show this to a close friend who also hates flip-flops!

  39. saffiertje says:

    I am sure I am gonna make some of these beauties!!!! Thanx for the great tutorial!!!!
    my girls will also love these I think….

    Love miranda

  40. ArtTrekker says:

    I just finished a pair today. I didn't have an old t-shirt, so I used some scrapes of linen I had. I liked the result but next time I'll try it with a fabric with more give to it.

  41. annekata says:

    @ArtTrekker: If you use linen, it's best to cut it on a bias (which means diagonal to the grain). That'll give the fabric some flexibility. I'll try some with some broad elastic strips I think……

    Thanks again for all your great encouraging comments.

  42. kelly says:

    this is great!

    I have two pairs of flip flops that i was going to toss, and now i have a great upcycle project to experiment with instead!! what a great morning :)

  43. crocs says:

    Wow.. This is great! I can say that this is the first time I visited this blog and I found out that this blog was interesting to read. Anyway, thanks for sharing your wonderful idea in making a summer sandals and I definitely try this at home!

  44. Sandra says:

    Te felicito! Esta idea que tuviste es increíble, quedan hermosas esas sandalias!

  45. Weatherbee ;) says:

    These are adorable! I can't wait to try it out.

  46. ducky says:

    Love this idea! I also dislike wearing flip flops and need shoes that will stick on if you want to run up the stairs. Thanks for the tutorial!

  47. Gray says:

    What a fantastic idea! I have been looking for summer sandles just like this- found a dreamy pair but it was a joke what they were charging- I love this idea so much, thankyou for sharing!! Now I need to run to the sales and buy a cheepo pair. Thanks again! =)

  48. Srithasan says:

    Easy & Comfortable Summer Sandals.

  49. tere says:

    Amei….parabens terê

  50. blatherfrombrooklyn says:

    This is just BRILLIANT! I have trouble finding comfortable footwear (due to an old foot injury), and I always thought making my own would be too difficult and complicated. But this I can do! I can't wait to make a pair. Thanks for the inspiration!

  51. CrochetDad says:

    These are GREAT! I can't stand that thing between my toes. I'm going to do this – I've got plenty of old tee shirts and at least one pair of flip flops. Thanks so much for the great tutorial.

  52. Anonymous says:

    I have some old SAS sandals, the tops of which are looking pretty pathetic. I think I'll have a look at doing something with them.

  53. Anonymous says:

    I forgot to tell you…. wonderful idea!

  54. Chirley Maria. says:

    que tal fazer as sandálias em crochê?
    fiz algumas! veja em

  55. Anonymous says:

    Yoga mats DO work! I have flip flops (unfortunately I bought them, didn't make them) where the sole is made from a thick yoga mat. They are so so comfortable, every step was so soft and floaty. I'm sure gluing together several thinner mats would work too.

  56. pounce! says:

    Great Tutorial, really nicely put together. It gave me timely inspiration to have a go -

    see my results here:

  57. gaia in love says:

    This is an amazing idea. I used it in my post and linked back to Storque (I saw it there) and your home page.

  58. Claudia says:

    No hablo ingles, pero quería decirte que estas sandalias estan hermosas, y el tutorial excelente!

  59. Jane says:

    This is sooooo clever :)

  60. Slipstitches says:

    Who can't run in flip-flops? no just kidding, I like them a lot but they are not for running…I loved this tutorial and I have also thought about making some shoes but I was going to make my soles out of thick foam board but your way is much better and easier. I cannot wait to try this tutorial, thanks so much! When I do I will link back for my readers :)

  61. Jess says:

    Oh my goodness! I love this.
    I have also always wanted to make my own shoes, and I now have the tools to do so.
    Thank you so much!

  62. Heelys Shoes says:

    The craze for high heel shoes will never decline. Women love to wear high heels. It gives them a lot of confidence and they feel great. Men too love to watch women with heels on. The picture of a lady wearing heels and swaying her hips when she walks is a sight that men love to watch.

  63. childrens footwear says:

    It's one great activity to add up on your summer vacation. I love designing clothes and footwear. And it actually gave me the idea to have a business with my own design for kids.

  64. Anonymous says:

    You are so clever :) Thanks for this!

  65. Sandals says:

    Great post. Ozthongs gives you the best deals on Exclusive collections of high quality Sandals.

  66. Alisa says:

    Oh, the LOVE. Like you I cannot stand to wear flip flops and have been so unhappy that they appear to be the only summer sandals available at the moment.

    Funny Teeshirts

  67. Michelle York says:

    Try gluing the flipflop bottom to a pair of socks..I'll be that will be really comfortable.

  68. Michelle York says:

    I'm making a vow now not to throw anything away unless it's synthetic fabric and really ugly. I am a thrift store addict. I'm thinking a a gray pure wool skirt and some black lace I have in a box..So inspiring you are! I have hand sewn all my life. My grandfather was a tailor in Russia and sat cross-legged on his work table and sewed by hand. My grandmother would take a skirt off one dress and sew it onto a top on another, by hand. Nothing more satisfying than stitching by hand. My machine (another gift) sits under stuff and probably will never be used. I'll donate it..

  69. plumbing says:

    It is so much fun for me, using simple and common material we can come up with great and fashionable sandals. I think i can do that. Thanks!

  70. Hallie says:

    Hi lady! I just came across your blog – love this post! Can't believe you made those, I just paid $80 for a similar-looking pair!!!

    I just did a post on summer sandals, too! Hope you'll stop by to check it out:

    Following you, excited for your posts to come! :)


  71. Anonymous says:

    about alternative soles, rather than flip flops-
    personally, i think that cork sheets would work very well. you could just cut the sole shape out, and punch in the two holes for the ankle straps. i would suggest layering the cork in two or three layers and then only punching the hole in the top layer, the putting in the strap and other two strips that go in the incision, and then gluing all the layers together. you can buy cork sheets at

    an all natural, vegan, eco-friendly sole for the fabulous shoe idea!

    also, thanks for the tutorial. the shoes are beautiful. keep on craftin'!


  72. Gwen Mertz says:

    The shoes are super pretty! And, Linda, I think that the cork shoe sole is a great idea. It cuts out the "non eco-friendly" component of these beautiful shoes. Super-duper job, annekata!!!


  73. pexpipe says:

    This is an amazing idea … few minutes and you get nice things!

  74. EmmaPeel says:

    OKIBASHI sandals are made in the USA — in the state of georgia — and ARE environmentally friendly as well as recyclable. as well as the BEST and longest-hardest-best-wearing shoe you'll ever have. they come in all kinds of colors, look great and feel great. they have a money-back guarantee and will be replaced free if one breaks within two years.

    flip flops as well as over-the-arch type. they are way better than anything you can make or otherwise buy.

  75. -- anya -- says:

    Woow … very creative
    I asked permission to post this tutorial in my blog …

    thank you annekata..

  76. Make handmade says:

    Great tutorial. Love it, thanks for sharing.

  77. Sadie says:

    You are one talented lady. Thank you for sharing this, it’s given me ideas.

    I also love the idea of using eco-friendly cork. There’s so many directions you can go in with the basic idea to make it suit yourself.

    Keep ‘em coming.

  78. Millie says:

    Thanks for the great idea & tutorial! I’m going to make some of these to take hiking with me in May, as I need something light and easy to stuff in a rucksack, but still comfortable to wear after a day in the hills. These look perfect!

  79. Jess says:

    Why not use a pair of sandals as a template and cut pieces out from a flexible floor may? Like those interlocking tiles used in playrooms? There are LEED suppliers for them in the US, they’re cheap, and you can easily get 2 (or 3 small ones) pair out of one regular sized tile.
    Just a thought for a greener material

  80. Samantha says:

    I have a question. What kind of glue did you use for these? I have an idea I wanted to try after spotting this on one of esty’s How-Tuesday column.

  81. kathrin says:

    Hi Samantha, I used gorilla glue for my sandals and they are holding up great after a lot of use. The jersey stretches a bit, but immersing them in hot water helps to tighten them again. Hope you’re having fun making them!

  82. Hailey says:

    made IDENTICAL shoes just now. I reccoment shoe goo for the adhesive(what I used:) LOVE LOVE LOVE

  83. dyana elkins says:

    I am going to the dollar store today! I am going to get two pairs of flip flops and glue them together and put the top straps between them. Wow! New pair of shoes for less than $5!!

  84. Teresa says:

    I understand where to cut the straps but I’m confused about the part that is between your toes.

    You said “Leave just the “plug” between your toes in place (the one that hold the foot down. Glue that in place) Remove the other two in the rear.”

    Do you mean that you cut the straps off near the front “plug” close to the rubber? And then put glue into the hole in order to keep the “plug” in place?


  85. Kathrin says:

    Hi Teresa,
    Yes, that’s essentially what I mean. You glue the “plug” back into place (Once you cut the piece between the toes, it is not connected any longer and will leave a hole unless you glue it back)
    Hope that helps.

  86. Mona-Petra says:

    Finally I gave it a try and I finished my sandals yesterday.
    I love them!!! My feet never fit into sandals (except trekking sandals). But now I have this nice ones. :-)
    Your tutorial is just wonderful. Thanks a lot for sharing.

    Here’s the result of my first pair:

  87. Randy-Sue says:

    How about using old mouse pads?

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