How to hand-make protective footwear while off the grid

This story was originally published by OFFGRID. Words by Patrick McCarthy.

If you can’t move, you can’t survive on your own; it’s that simple. Mobility is essential, especially during intense survival scenarios. Most of us are well aware that a broken leg, dislocated hip or even a twisted ankle can be disastrous in an emergency situation. But there’s one part of our anatomy that we often overlook: the soles of our feet.

You need to take care of your feet while off the grid. Photo: Primitive Technology/OFFGRID

Anyone who has walked barefoot on hot asphalt or stepped on a sharp object knows how an injury to the bottom of the foot can be crippling. Suffering one of these painful injuries while attempting to survive in the forest is far worse. It’s important to prepare yourself by selecting appropriate footwear, but you should also have a backup plan in case your boots are lost or damaged.

You need to start by building the sole. Photo: Primitive Technology/OFFGRID

In the following video, the host of Primitive Technology shows how to make sandals from natural materials he found in the forest. The soles are made from a type of flexible cane found in his home country of Australia, but he says that these sandals can be woven from almost any type of natural cordage — leaves, bark, grass, vines or roots. He states in the video description that the material was cut to six times the length of his foot, or about 5 feet (1.5 meters).

As a diehard primitive survivalist, the host of the Primitive Technology channel writes, “I personally don’t like wearing footwear in the forest, as bare feet give better grip, especially on inclines. But for heavy work or when my feet are injured, I’ll wear these.” While we respect his commitment, we’ll stick to wearing some form of shoes, boots or sandals whenever we can. We’d recommend you do the same.

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