How to make your own tyre tread shoe soles

Written by cynthia myers
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How to make your own tyre tread shoe soles
Recycle part of an old tyre into a shoe sole. (tire image by timur1970 from

The same tough tread that makes tyres long-lasting can make durable soles for shoes. Making your own tyre tread shoe soles is one way to recycle material that might otherwise end up in the landfill. You can glue the tyre tread shoe soles to conventional soles that are wearing out, or you can make sandals by adding tabs to the sides of the sole and using nylon webbing for the sandal straps.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Old tyre
  • Chalk
  • Stanley knife or bandsaw

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  1. 1

    Stand on the paper and draw around your foot to make a pattern. Do this for each foot. Cut out these paper patterns.

  2. 2

    Lay the paper pattern on the back of the section of tyre tread. This side is smoother. Trace around the pattern with the chalk.

  3. 3

    Cut out the shoe sole from the tyre tread with a utility knife or bandsaw. Thomas Elpel, author of Participating in Nature, says a chisel and hammer also works for cutting the tyre.

Tips and warnings

  • Elpel suggests using truck tyres instead of car tyres. Truck tyres will give you more flat surface to work with.
  • Attach the soles to existing shoes with Shoe Goo.
  • Use tyres without steel belts. The steel belts are very difficult to cut through and won't give the tyre tread the flexibility you need for shoe soles.

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