WHERE, WHEN AND WHO
I live in Coreno Ausonio, in the province of Frosinone, better known as “Ciociaria“. Is the only place named from the shoes typical of the place: the “ciocie“ (in Italian) or better “cioci” (in Corenese). It is a kind of sandals made of a rectangular piece of leather, tied to the foot and the leg by long ribbons of leather. You should have seen them at the foot of Sophia Loren in the film “Two Women” (in fact the original title was “The Ciociara”), which won the Oscar.
The cioci 1.0, that had probably been the same from the age of the ancient Romans, after the war had suddenly a significant technological innovation: the addition of soles made of recycled tires. They were cioci 2.0, but did not last long, because the economic boom spread the industrial shoes.
When I bought at the Decathlon of Frosinone (of course) these soles for sandals with interchangeable straps, I thought here is the Cioci 3.0! In fact they have rubber soles (= tire …) and a comfortable insole soft microfiber insert with shock absorber (= comfortable leather …). These soles are the Quechua Switch 50 and if you are lucky you can still find in the shops (about € 15,00, official video here).
Although there are in the net several ways to build sandals and soles of various materials, for a typical consumer is easier to obtain a thing ready and that guarantees of work, and let off steam with the creation of straps for all occasions.
Probably the best material for the straps is the one that, not surprisingly, has been used for thousands of years: the leather. However I wanted to try to create straps with materials accessible and that improve comfort. That is because I jumped on crochet, which is a technique that I know well (as opposed to leather goods) and that allows little time and expense to model the straps on your foot (crochet = grandmother‘s 3d printing , I always say).
In fact, now you can crochet any whiskers, including the leather (the strings used for jewelery is also sold in rolls), the leatherette (there is a “dainette” which is a yarn faux suede), string, raffia etc. All of which would give a more traditional and natural air. However I wanted to comfort, because the straps interchangeable sale are assembled with seams and buttons that in the long run are annoying. Then you need a yarn: soft, foldable, washable, available everywhere in endless colors and patterns.
Discarded the not-estival wool, you can use the common cotton or other yarns summer (flax, bamboo …). The problem is resistance: it must be a very solid and twisted yarn, used maybe two strand togheter, that resists abrasion and tensile strength but not too thick (by the way the rubber eyelets to thread the straps have an opening limited to 1.5 cm / 0.60 in wide X 2 mm / 0.08 in height).
Eventually I found in the house a kind of mini–tape acrylic that was right for me: the beauty of this thing is that you can use scraps of balls at no cost. Now you need to do a strip: what technique to use? I discarded the normal row work, the foundation sigle crochet (too weak) and the “Romanian braid“ (too thick). I opted for oval work, which is often used for the handles of the bags and, contrary to other techniques, is thin but roll less on itself.
In fact, theoretically we could skip all these considerations and go to the Chinese to buy an elegant polyester tape, but after a few steps we would get with a shapeless heap, a snare (and not a strap) that will torture our poor feet. If you want to use the tape, you can do but choose the narrowest and crochet it (ditto for the shoelaces, but they are too short to be worked).
CIOCI 3.0 – INSTRUCTIONS FOR SIMPLE SANDAL STRAPS CROCHET
Materials: pair of soles with holes, half ball of summer yarn (thick or two strands worked), crochet 5 mm / n. 8 / H, tape measure, scissors, knitting needle
2 Start a chain length of about 80% of the measured length (thet will stretch after).
3 Skip the first chain, put the hook in the second chain and work in single crochet (US)/ double crochet (UK) until the penultimate chain.
4 Work three single crochet in the last chain, to form a curve.
5 Continue working single crochet, putting the hook at the the back of the chains (already worked on the opposite side), until the penultimate chain.
6 Work two low points in the last chain, so as to form a curve.
7 To end the round do a slip stitch (US)/ single crochet (UK) on the first chain jumped in step 3.
8 Cut the thread and hide the remaining in the work by the knitting needle.
9 Make another equal strap.
CIOCI 3.1 – INSTRUCTIONS FOR ADVANCED SANDAL STRAPS CROCHET
Now let’s exploit the advantages of the crochet and build something more powerful, suitable for foot and seamless stinging (because without knots and made with the same soft yarn used for crochet).
Materials: pair of soles with holes, half ball of summer yarn (thick or two strands worked), crochet 5 mm / n. 8 / H, tape 40 cm of Velcro (or 14 snaps), sewing thread, sewing needle, tape measure, scissors, knitting needle, pins
1 Measure with the tape the length of the band that covers the sole of the foot (from the sole, not by the eyelet for the strap, which is located higher up).
2 Start a chain length of about 80% of the measured length (will stretch after).
3 Work in rows (that is, at the end of each row you do a chain, turn the work and start another row working on the previous row) to form a band wide at least 5 cm / 1.97 in .
4 Make 4 small strap 5 cm/ 1.97 in long, with the technique of simple strap crochet (see above).
5 Cut two pieces of 4 cm / 1.57 in length of Velcro (both the soft and the rough part) and cut them in half lengthwise.
6 Sew with the needle and thread 4 pieces of Velcro soft on the 4 straps, fixing them with pins in order to leave empty one of the short sides of the strap.
7 Attach on the large bend two straps on each side (at the twoeyelets of the sole), sewing them on the side free from Velcro. The stitching can be done either with single crochet or with wool needle, using the same yarn of the crochet work.
8 Secure with pins and then sew with needle and thread 4 pieces of Velcro rough on the large band, matching the Velcro sooft of the straps (care to match the smooth edge of the Velcro that is both in soft and in the rough one).
Back (ankle and heel)
1 Measure the ankle and start a long chain a few cm/ about 1 in more (so there will be additional space to overlap the two ends of the strap).
2 Work with the technique of simple strap crochet (see above).
3 Wrap the strap to the ankle and with a pin mark the highest point where the top strap overlaps the lower.
4 Cut a piece of 4 cm / 1.57 in of Velcro and cut the edges smooth to obtain a width of a few mm / about 0.10 in smaller than the strap.
5 Sew the soft part on the belt, from the point marked with the pin, in the direction of the end of the strap (the lower part).
6 Sew the rough on the other end (top) of the strap.
7 Put on the strap thus obtained, with the Velcro on the front (instep) and mark with a pin the points in the eyelets of the sole, at the sides of the heel.
8 Measure the distance between the pins and the eyelets and multiply by two, then work two simple straps (from a chain long 80% of the measurement obtained).
9 Cut a piece of 4 cm / 1.57 in of Velcro and cut it half lengthwise.
10 Sew two parts corresponding of Velcro (soft and hooked) each aligned with a short side of the strap. Repeat for the other strap.
11 Fasten the two straps to the ankle strap at the points marked with pins, the side with Velcro rough (to be out).
NB: make two backs and two fronts!