Anyone make their own moccasins

What to wear? What not to wear? Come here to find and how to make anything you'd wear on your body - from goggles and playawear to bodypainting and adornments.
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TeresaJones
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Anyone make their own moccasins

Post by TeresaJones » Sun Jun 05, 2016 6:19 pm

I've been thinking a lot about footwear on the playa. I want something that will protect my feet and shins from the dust, but I really hate wearing heavy, stiff shoes of any sort.

So right now I'm thinking of making my own moccassins using this pattern and leather jackets from the thrift store, sewn on a sewing machine not by hand because I have neither the equipment nor the time.

There's only a single sole, so it will basically be like wearing thick leather socks with a seam around one side. I really like the idea of something so flexible, but I do worry that it won't hold up to use on the playa. How rough is the surface? Are there rocks? Will a single layer of leather get ripped to shreds?

Anyone ever attempted something like this?

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Captain Goddammit
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Re: Anyone make their own moccasins

Post by Captain Goddammit » Sun Jun 05, 2016 7:20 pm

I think it's a really bad idea and here's why.
Footwear questions are one of the most common, and the absolute playa-proven solid answer is DO NOT show up with ANY shoes you don't normally wear and haven't been wearing for a while. Don't even bring new shoes that are similar to what you normally wear that aren't broken in.

You'll walk a lot. The surface is pretty much flat level dusty dirt. No special shoes are required. Doing something different with your shoes and having to walk a whole lot usually ends badly.
Style doesn't really matter much, everyone's shows are covered in playa dust.

Go ahead and bring whatever shoe ideas you have but make them AN OPTION. Don't fail to bring whatever you normally wear and already know you're comfortable walking around in.
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Re: Anyone make their own moccasins

Post by Sham » Sun Jun 05, 2016 7:35 pm

Listen to the Captain. you'll be miserable. Make the moccasins and wear them around your house--but not on the playa.

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TeresaJones
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Re: Anyone make their own moccasins

Post by TeresaJones » Sun Jun 05, 2016 7:37 pm

Bringing my go-to shoes as well as experimental shoes sounds very smart. Thank you for saving me from potential disaster. :)

Now I have another question. I only have one pair of shoes I wear regularly that are playa suitable. Will the playa ruin my favorite shoes? :(

Image

^ Replaced link with image. Still worried about my shoes.
Last edited by TeresaJones on Sun Jun 05, 2016 7:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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TeresaJones
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Re: Anyone make their own moccasins

Post by TeresaJones » Sun Jun 05, 2016 7:59 pm

Answering my own question...

Damn.

I guess I need to go ahead and buy some ruinable shoes.

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Captain Goddammit
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Re: Anyone make their own moccasins

Post by Captain Goddammit » Sun Jun 05, 2016 8:19 pm

Shoes clean up. It's just dirt.
If you go buy a new pair of ruinable shoes, start wearing them before going to BRC. You don't want untested shoes.
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Re: Anyone make their own moccasins

Post by gaminwench » Sun Jun 05, 2016 8:46 pm

I've been wearing my dependable Dingo boots for many years.

Leather does fine out there.

A couple of weeks prior, treat with mink oil or Doc Marten's or similar.

Post playa, do a once over with a vinegar/water spritz, then reapply said oil (using a toothbrush for the difficult to reach parts).

Embrace the dusty remnants.
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AntiM
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Re: Anyone make their own moccasins

Post by AntiM » Mon Jun 06, 2016 5:29 am

I've only had playa dust ruin one pair of boots, old desert Bates I bought on ebay, boots which had done a tour in Iraq. They were great for three years, but I didn't clean the playa off the soles when I tossed them in the boot bin. When we took them out the last year, the soles were disintegrating. However, I don't know where they'd been before I got them, so I think it was a fluke.

Leather does fine, but the soles and stitching may always have a fine white patina forever after.

Bring something to slip on for around camp and potty runs. Have something sturdy and comfortable for walking around. Have a back up pair of something forgiving and broken in. Be able to give your feet a change.

When I'm not in boots, I have slip on mesh river shoes with good support, and I wear them with cotton socks. MyLarry like side-zip boots because lacing tall boots sucks. He usually wears ugly ass loafers around camp, his old worn out slip on safety toe shoes from work. We also carry a clean pair of shoes for travel. We have the luxury of a large vehicle and utility trailer so we can haul all our crap, so yes, we have a bin of footwear for the two of us.

I have brought moccasins. I put them away almost immediately, no support and the suede would never come clean.

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Re: Anyone make their own moccasins

Post by Drawingablank » Mon Jun 06, 2016 10:32 am

All of the above is great advice.

I have made my own mocs several times, but unless you put a heavy sole on them they would be killer on your feet on the playa.

I've had many shoe disasters on the playa including a brand new pair of hiking shoes that the soles delaminated after 4 hours on the playa. I now bring 4 well broken in pairs. I also find that changing off between my different footwear regularly helps reduce foot pain, callousing, blistering, etc...

Good Boots.
Good sneakers (I like the ones with memory foam insoles).
Cheap rubber sole mocs for around camp.
Cheap sneakers for last ditch emergency use.

Edit: Having footwear problems and / or painful feet will definitely hinder your fun at a burn.
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Re: Anyone make their own moccasins

Post by Ann_Vader » Mon Jun 06, 2016 12:07 pm

All Drawingablank's advice is solid!

I have some foot and ankle issues, so good supportive footwear is critical for me if I'm on my feet a lot. Space for orthotic inserts is a must.

I've had really good luck with tactical boots. They hold up pretty well, come in sand color (for the desert, yo!) or black and seem to occupy that place between heavy duty hiking boots and high top sneakers. They also aren't expensive - the last pair I bought on sale was less than 50.00.

The Rothcos are pretty flimsy, the Bates seem to hold up better and the Under Armour ones have nice ratings, but are $pendy! Considering that the playa may be their last ride, I went with the Bates.



Drawingablank wrote:All of the above is great advice.

I have made my own mocs several times, but unless you put a heavy sole on them they would be killer on your feet on the playa.

I've had many shoe disasters on the playa including a brand new pair of hiking shoes that the soles delaminated after 4 hours on the playa. I now bring 4 well broken in pairs. I also find that changing off between my different footwear regularly helps reduce foot pain, callousing, blistering, etc...

Good Boots.
Good sneakers (I like the ones with memory foam insoles).
Cheap rubber sole mocs for around camp.
Cheap sneakers for last ditch emergency use.

Edit: Having footwear problems and / or painful feet will definitely hinder your fun at a burn.

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Re: Anyone make their own moccasins

Post by mudpuppy000 » Mon Jun 06, 2016 4:48 pm

Drawingablank wrote:All of the above is great advice.

I have made my own mocs several times, but unless you put a heavy sole on them they would be killer on your feet on the playa.
Yeah it's sort of like walking around on concrete floors for a week. It's not going to be fun if you don't have something with cushioning in them, or are used to that sort of thing.

My docs do well out there, but it's rough on the laces. They end up sounding like squealing styrofoam every time I lace them up. :D Their beeswax treatment will pretty much clean everything up after I get home.

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Re: Anyone make their own moccasins

Post by Papa Bear » Fri Jun 10, 2016 11:24 pm

mudpuppy000 wrote:Yeah it's sort of like walking around on concrete floors for a week.
That's a very good point, and it brings up a detail or two I learned the hard way. It's not enough to just wear new footwear around for a while pre-playa - you need to wear it while doing a lot of walking on hard surfaces, and you want to make sure you have another fallback option just in case anyway.

A couple of years ago, I bought a pair of lightweight desert boots on sale, with the intent of wearing them on playa. I wore them around outside the house for a couple of months solid beforehand, so I thought I was easily in the clear. But in less than a day of doing setup in those boots on-playa I had blisters the size of half-dollars on both heels.

I was fortunate to also have brought familiar tennis shoes I could switch over to, but I still wound up nursing those blisters for the entire two weeks I was out there and a good while afterward.

Looking back, I've realized my break-in period would mostly have been on grass or soft dirt, with just the occasional foray into a store. I can still put those boots on and do all kinds of work around here without the least bit of trouble, but they just don't work for me out there.

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Re: Anyone make their own moccasins

Post by Captain Goddammit » Sat Jun 11, 2016 6:31 am

I've never understood why people wear hiking boots at Burning Man.
I wear sneakers. They're light and comfortable. This is hard, flat ground, not the mountain jungles of Appalachistan.

(But don't listen to me too much, I never walk anywhere at Burning Man)
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Re: Anyone make their own moccasins

Post by Meat Hunter » Sat Jun 11, 2016 1:13 pm

I am with Sham & the Captain on this one.

I bring two pair of very old leather-topped and rubber-soled deck shoes, Since (like most other Burners) I bike around and do not walk for miles on end, they have proven to be the perfect foot ware for me.

They are easy to slip on in the morning & easy slip off at night, easy to change socks and with no lacing up. Mine were already 5 and 6 years old when they made their first trip to the playa and after 3 burns they are holding up just fine.

I suspect that they will still be playa ready when I am no longer able to attend and Sham and the Ol' Captain throw the last clods of dirt on me.
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Re: Anyone make their own moccasins

Post by Meat Hunter » Sat Jun 11, 2016 1:20 pm

I am with Sham & the Captain on this one.

I bring two pair of very old leather-topped and rubber-soled deck shoes. They have proven to be the perfect foot ware for me.

They are easy to slip on in the morning & easy slip off at night, easy to change socks and with no lacing up. Mine were already 5 and 6 years old when they made their first trip to the playa and after 3 burns they are holding up just fine.

I suspect that they will still be playa ready when I am no longer able to attend and Sham and the Ol' Captain throw the last clods of dirt on me.
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Re: Anyone make their own moccasins

Post by Papa Bear » Sat Jun 11, 2016 10:39 pm

Captain Goddammit wrote:I've never understood why people wear hiking boots at Burning Man.
In this particular case, my intent was just to wear them for setup and tear down, where they'd provide a little more ankle protection vs. the varied bits and pieces of out-of-place camp infrastructure. Also figured having more than one pair of good footwear so I could switch up here and there might be nice. I like the feel of higher ankle support, but I can rarely find such boots in my size.

In retrospect, it wasn't worth it, and I've since gone back to my good tennis shoes. Though my wife thinks the boots look hot on me, so they have turned out to have other side benefits...

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Re: Anyone make their own moccasins

Post by AntiM » Sun Jun 12, 2016 5:30 am

I wear really good mesh river shoes with socks most of the time. But sometimes I need the ankle support, and a closed boot keeps the dust out better. I think it is something to do with being ex-Navy and wearing the old chukka boots so much. Boots=work.

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Re: Anyone make their own moccasins

Post by Ugly Dougly » Mon Oct 09, 2017 2:32 pm

I've made my own moccasins and turnshoes for years. Can't remember exactly what I wore to the last burn. But I assure you I was comfortable and sorta safe.

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Re: Anyone make their own moccasins

Post by BBadger » Mon Oct 09, 2017 6:00 pm

I wore hiking boots the first three years, and it was pretty comfy, though I didn't tie my laces correctly and wrecked a few laces.

Still, they were a pain to put on and take off and one year I just put on some sandals and had no problem with "playa foot" or whatever. They're nicer sandals with good support and a good sole that I use in daily life for everything, so I was super confident in their comfort. Hell, despite having my feet in dust all the time they never cracked or had any problems as compared to my hands. I've never looked back.
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Re: Anyone make their own moccasins

Post by atomosk » Mon Jun 18, 2018 1:00 pm

I've made moccasins before but haven't worn them on the playa. I think they'd stand up well to the surface but don't provide any cushion, and probably don't hold an insert very well. I'd be concerned they'd transfer too much heat from the playa to your foot, that you'd sweat too much anyway, and then you might have muddy, sweaty, hot feet.

On the other hand, I once walked from camp to the trash fence, then over and beyond the trash fence, completely barefoot. It hurt, but moccasins are better than barefoot and you can get by with them as long as it's not an everyday thing.

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