Monday, June 18, 2012

Viet-Cong Sandals

Regular readers know I have a fondness for Cold War era Communist memorabilia, uniforms and firearms.

Well I got my latest acquisition in the mail today. Something totally history-geek worthy and practical. A pair of reproduction Ho Chi Minh sandals made of tires and rubber straps from a company called Vietnam-Surplus. Shipping was a bit slow, nearly a month and a half, but the company made it a point to keep me up to date when I emailed them about my concerns.

Opened up the package and there were straps and tire flapping everywhere.  It took me about an hour or so of tugging and trimming to get the straps (actually placed THROUGH the tire sole) sized to fit me comfortably.

The pile of trimmed off rubber.

and on my pasty white feet:
They're actually pretty comfortable and I don't feel ANYTHING underneath them. There is a spot on the outside that is rubbing that will take a while for my feet to toughen up to.  Heavier than most sandals but that's to be expected, they are made out of an old tire, and I'm thinking they're going to last a looong time.

Overall I'm happy. Debating ordering the full uniform.

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Sean said...

Am I understanding correctly, that these were designed to fit Viet Cong personnel?

Unless you have midget sized feet, I can't imagine you actually had to trim down rubber from a sandal designed for a small frame Vietnamese.

Thirdpower said...

Yeah, they'ld be a lot smaller for them. I got them in size 11 since I'm between a 10 1/2 and 11. This is what came.

Keads said...


45er said...

That is really cool. Vietnam is my geek on history time period. I'd always heard of those, didn't know they did reproductions. A friend always used to say "She was uglier than home-made shoes." Funny, those aren't as bad as I thought they'd be.

Sigivald said...

I've been thinkin' about making a pair of those just because, for a long time...

Chase said...

They look MUCH more comfortable than most flip-flops I've tried.

Anonymous said...

The straps are just held into slits in the sole by friction, then cut off flush when you've got the fit right?

I ask because these look like a pretty good deal for some very durable sandals, And at that price I'd buy some in a second, but they don't seem to make any in size Yeti extra-wide. So, worthwhile making up a pair if I can find a suitable tire.

Thirdpower said...

Friction and lots of it.

Robin said...

Great post! Big fan of tire sandals here, always wondered why folks in SE Asia didn't capitalise more on the mystique of them in the West. A bit of possibly-useful trivia: use a split stick (such as a bamboo lathe or similar) to pull the straps through. Make the split end pointy, then poke it through the slit in the sole. Wedge the strap-end in the split, and pull the strap through with it.

That's how they do it in Vietnam. Much easier than trying to force it through with a screwdriver or something. ;-)

Thanks for the pictures, too!


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Anonymous said...

Where did you purchase them?

Thirdpower said...

Vietnam-Surplus. Follow the link.