DIY Soles for my Birks

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I think I’ve used my Manfrotto Justin clamps more for non-photography projects than anything.

For the longest time back in college, whenever a pair of my Birkenstocks wore out (and I mean, nothing between my big toe and the pavement) I’d just hang ’em on a nail (through said toe hole, much to mom’s dismay) and eventually throw them out. Seems I could always find a pair somewhere (in some giant bin at Sam’s Club or something) for $35 or so.

I forgot to take a "before" photo before I slathered the glue on the old soles.

I forgot to take a “before” photo before I slathered the glue on the old soles.

Around the time they suddenly started costing $120 a pair I happened to find out that you could have them repaired for a good bit less, so I started doing that. Still, by the time I got around to it, with the cork mostly gone, it would still set me back $80 to replace everything but the straps and buckles.

TechShop's laser cuts out the new soles for my worn out Birks.

TechShop’s laser cuts out the new soles for my worn out Birks.

This time around, though, I am newly-empowered DIY Man. Cutting my own hair, making my own iPhone stand, building my own photography gear, etc. Why send them off for weeks, and spend $80, when some rubber from the scrap bin at TechShop and a few minutes on the laser will do the trick?

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I etched my initials into the soles in order to leave custom tracks when I walk in the sand.

I had just re-sealed the seams in my camping tent (after a slightly damp night in a thunderstorm in the mountains above Flagstaff) with some amazingly sticky Seam Grip. I’d read stories of people repairing hiking boots on the trail with this stuff, and since I had some left over from my tent I gave it a try. A week and a road trip later and my new soles are still holding up!

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