Four months walked by in these hemp rope shoes, almost to the date, when on the first calendar day of northern hemisphere fall, my heels finally fell through them. As if they heard my earlier begging: “please last at least as long as it took me to make you!” – a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Since the only damages happened to three out of four distinct pressure points on the sole, namely the heels and a front pivoting part, I decided to apply sort of symmetric bandages to them and not redo the entire sole. Why would I have, when the whole of the rope sole still sounded the same healthy, woody-hard as on day one. Besides, most of the body weight rests on these characteristic pressure points anyway.
I was a little wary how they will feel for my toes and about the overall comfort of walking in these slightly elevated shoes so I was looking forward to the first few test walks (see below).
The double-layer hemp canvas shoe top (including its attachment to the bottom) looked impeccable, too. It lets fine silt and dust through, but it’s really breathable and I have been happy with since I first tailored them.
What I did differently now, following Cheryl’s idea applied to the new shoes she’s making for Csermely, was sewing these compact shaped rope bandages only on one (the upper) side, letting the rope coils be the only surface exposed to the friction of steps. Not exposing any stitches to the ground surface seemed to improve the longevity of these cover-ups.
The repair had a familiar start, coiling the rope right and left, gradually covering up the damage below, providing sufficient support for my heels and allowing for a single line framing to hold the patch nicely together.
Towards the end, a heel patch looked like this from the side:
I would also draw your attention to the damage on the shoe. The dimple you see is negative here, because before the shoes would have dried stiff, I made sure nothing protruded from the plane of the shoe to push the patch outward.
The almost finished patch pressed to the sole with its walking surface up:
For what I call the pivoting part, I conceived a patch with the coils organized in nearly ninety degrees to those of the heel, building it from short segments from the outer to the inner edge of the foot. I was careful to position these front patches to best support the bone structure that forms the base of the toes.
The pointy pliers served me really good again, as I had to apply considerable pressure going through the patch and the sole, often times in awkward angles, especially in the case of the front patches.
So with less than a week’s worth of intermittent mending, seems as though I could continue earthing in these shoes for much more than the next four months to come. Actually, I’m quite certain that they will take me across the globe. Just watch!
We take connecting with the Earth seriously here at Handcraftedtravellers, so nearly all of our writings are at least indirectly related to a nature-bound life philosophy. For a resource of those posts that are more explicitly about earthing (grounding), barefoot walking and earthing footwear, we recommend you to check out our informative core page of the topic: Earthing in Earthing Shoes.