Treads (footwear of the 70’s)

Treads… who could forget these?

Does anyone remember these shoes of the 70’s? The soles were made from a tyre tread & the tops were interwoven strips of suede. Kids loved them & parents hated them with a vengeance!! Perhaps it was the slovenly look which the older generation took exception to.  They were quite heavy, so you did tend to drag your feet & they definitely gave you that “hippy” look!

The soles never wore out, it was always the strapping that gave way, but a few dangling pieces of suede never stopped anyone.  Treads were a truly unique fashion icon of the 70’s. I loved my hand me downs!

Did you have a pair?

I begged my parents for years for a pair of treads but they never gave in. My mum always referred to them as “slovenly” and she was probably right now I think about it! But I never gave up and one day my wish came true as I  eventually acquired a second hand pair from a friend’s daughter. They were a size too small, but I was determined to wear them anyway even though my toes definitely hung too far out the top!

Fasionable turned up jeans with treads!

Tyre tread soles

108 comments to Treads (footwear of the 70’s)

  • Kerry

    I was helping my mother in law clean up her huge collection of shoes recently and found a pristine, still the bag TREADS! So I very quickly claimed them for myself! I remember when I had my own Treads that the top weave wore out I wore them that much!

  • debra battye

    Hi my name is deb an I have a pair of men’s oridgenal 1970’s size 10 treads. An they have never even been worn at all. In a zip seald plastic bag. Just wundering if ant one knows how much they could be worth please.

  • Susan sedunary
    Look just and feel just like the old ones ????

  • Pippa

    ^^ Mine weren’t open at the front like those in the pics above though – they had a suede piece over the toes, and there was a narrow opening each side of that suede piece.

  • Pippa

    Yes, I had a green pair in the mid 70s which I wore to death. Surfers wore them. The studs tended to rust. There’s a pair similar by a brand called Samvara on eBay at the moment, but it’s ‘pick up only’ and I’m in a different state, otherwise I’d pounce!

  • Billy

    Trying to bye a pair
    Can someone please let me know we’re to go and purchase a psir

  • Viv

    I still have mine they are all black

  • Carmel smith

    There is a lady who has workshops and makes treads price $120 on a site treads bring them back

  • David 'Robbo'

    Hayes Howley, if you have the mens I would be very interested. Let me know please.

    Thanks heaps.


  • Hayes Howsley

    Hello, l stumbled across this site by accident. L have 2 pairs of original treads that l bought from Surf Dive 7 Ski in 1972. One pair is a mens 9 in beige and tan and the other is a ladies 8 in green. Both are in excellent condition as have been in storage for 44 years. If anyone is interested in these please make me an offer. Cheers

  • Debbie

    Where can I buy a pair of treads from they should come back into the shops

  • Monica

    I love treads and slaps, I started of with fake treads and there were many out there but I fiinaly got the real deal. Yay for me. Black on black . I did not care they were the real deal. Now Slaps I had many versions of them some dodgy some not. If you wore them every day in the summer then they were cactus by the end. Oh no

  • Molly

    I still have mine …. they are blue and in good condition …. just one of those crazy things you keep over the years , I got mine second hand in the 70’s but they were in perfect condition then …. we could never afford them so I felt pretty special when I got these lol

  • Peter

    I had two paper rounds so was able to buy my own – I had three pairs and LOVED them almost as much as my blue platform school shoes

  • trish

    i would soo be keen to make a pr if someone could tell me where the work shop is or where to buy want also for them to come back

  • Jane

    I got a second hand pair in the 70s but got herpes from them! We’ll it was a pair from a hippy

  • lee stockdale

    iwould like a pair for my daughter red black for xmas searched for them cant get them

  • Lee

    I am going to a 70’s party tonight and have procured a pair of treads from my girlfriend who has never thrown anything out. I was never allowed to have a pair of treads, my mum was old fashioned and wouldn’t let me. However, my sister was a Sharpie and she had treads.

  • Minnie

    Yes I had some …loved them….want a pair now…..size 9

  • Kerri Kirk

    Yes l remember treads as l have a laddies pair in a size 7 light blue and dark blue suede in very good condition and has hardly been worn, l loved them.

    • Wendy Brown

      Hi Kerrie I have been searching for some years now
      had my first pair in the early 70s stored them and
      misplaced them saw your comment are you interested
      at selling them?


  • Vicki Turner

    I remember in the 70’s wearing roman sandals and white socks with my summer uniform and desert boots with my winter kilt..
    And I loved my treads, puka shells, miller shirts, sharks tooth on leather, beachcombers and my first pair of levi jeans my mum bought me for $8.00. I thought I was just so cool.
    Ahh those were they days 🙂

  • Rosie Posie

    TREADS-BRING THEM BACK on Facebook is Remaking the Original 70’s Treads with the Original Car Tyre Sole. Not like some RIP OFFs We are the real deal. We are a big group with People from everywhere but the majority recall buying their Treads in Mentone, Parkdale, Frankston and Mordi. Prices at $100 per pair or Less for Orders of 2 or more..Check us out

  • Tanya

    With regard to your question on where to purchase the indian toe thongs, I purchased mine online just last year through Amazon for a price of around $42.

  • elle

    @ Kurt.. where could I possibly get my hands on a pattern or a copy? 🙂


    Last week I was having dinner with my neighbour and we started talking about Treads. My neighbour Tracey and her freind Lou used to work in the Treads factory in Parkdale after school everyday. They used to earn about $2 per pair and they would hand thread the leather onto the tread. Tracey and Lou are now about 53.

  • Helena

    I had an awesome pair of treads that I bought in Clarendon street South Melbourne not far from the school I attended. They were aqua and dusky pink suede. Loved them and yes definitely want to see the good ol treads back on our feet Melbournites!! I wore Beachcombers also 🙂

  • Kurt

    As a kid we used to make them with dad and sell them. What an era. We found some old patterns the other day. Might make a pair. Cool memories

    • Emma

      Hi Kurt, I saw this comment while searching for a pair of treads for my dad’s 60th. Not to be too forward BUT would you consider making a pair to sell?? My dad holds onto the memory of his favourite treads form back in the day and would love a pair I think he would be over the moon if I managed to get home a pair. Please contact me if your interested, no pressure at all!! You would make my dads day though haha. Hope this message finds you well. Emma

  • Hi all just letting you know that treads are being made again by myself the only difference is that they have recycled rubbrer sole making them so much lighter than lighter on the feet l can be contacted at Shani’s Hade made Treads on facebook they start at $120 +$15 for postage look forward to seeing you there Happy Treading! 🙂

  • Stephen

    Hello Folks,
    I’m a 52 yo guy who fondly remembers Treads back in the 1970’s. I was never allowed a pair as a teenager, my parents claimed they would “ruin my feet”. I watched with envy all the local kids in their Treads, no matter what color combination, they always looked cool. Caramel and chocolate brown were my favourite color combination, I don’t remember rolled up jeans with them, just Levi 501 jeans worn down to usual length. It was fun seeing them in one colour, two colors, three and possibly more. Treads and Starsky jackets and Miller shirts with the pearl press stud buttons and gold or silver vertical thread in them, oh boy, fashion today is just so sensible!!! Can you imagine what a kid looked like in these, especially if they were smoking as well!!! Society drop outs according to many parents and people on the street at the time. Now, to tell you something VERY interesting. About 20 years ago, somehow, I heard of a place in Brunswick Street Fitzroy who were the original manufacturers of these marvels. In my early 30’s I went there, and met the maker, and I am sure he was Spanish. It was out the back of a shoe /slipper factory. He showed me the cutting blades, and his pile of old tyres, and the suede stockpile. Here I was, with the maker, and back then I ordered two pairs, Caramel and Chocolate Brown, and Red and Black.
    They were ready in two weeks, and I think about $80.00 each. I remember the man telling me he could no longer source the non steel belted tyres that he needed, twenty years down the track I would imagine there would be even less source now available. So, I had made for me out of his limited existing tyres two pairs, both were in pristine condition. I sold the Red and Black pair for $400.00 on Ebay maybe 5 years ago to someone who could not believe his luck to find a “mint” pair of Treads. I still have the other pair, and will wear them on my ascending those stairs to Tread heaven. I am very keen to see any further releases of these, and see how they measure up to the real things.
    P.S. yes Slaps were very rectangular and oriental looking, and those Indian toe thongs sent white feet brown.

  • Sno

    Wherefore art thou my treads….. I lament/rue/regret the loss and demise of you. My life has felt empty since you left my sole. (pardon the pun) I would do anything to get you back in my presence. Can you please help me walk the walk (my followers are hesitant in belief and somewhat lame,(perhaps because of the lack of treads). Only those who follow my belief need reply to this message, as my close followers heed nee.
    p.s. preference will be given to the blue treads but thus I decree the tan or black may prevail.
    Thank You, all heed to thy Sno.

  • steve

    Rosie on the Treads bring them back page on facebook now has purchased the pattern and is holding workshops to make your own. Look at the photos on the website..Done a great job.

  • Kerry I had chocolate Brown slaps and lived in them . Also had Indian toe thongs. Is it just me or are things no where as cool as they used to be? 🙂

  • OMG I absolutely loved my treads. Mine were dusky grey and pink. I was always being sent to the school office and in trouble for wearing them to school. Such comfy and practical (yes practical) footwear. Loved them then, love them now!:)

  • Emma Cargnali

    Treads, slaps, Indian toe thongs, remember them all. A few years ago I brought a couple of pairs of the toe thongs from K-Mart, who would have thought. Something else l thought of was Granny sandals and I also remember the black zip jacket and faux white fur jackets that women used to wear.

  • Sandy

    well the 70s come flooding back. I had 2 pairs of treads, a 2 tone brown and a 2 tone blue with red if I remember correctly. There was a guy at our school named Ian and he was a master tread maker, its so Melbourne…. Bring them back…

  • Ange

    To Colin
    I think your bro should start making them all over again. Imagine how we’ll he could do $$$ plus more. Or could he at least share his expertise amongst us fellow trad lovers.please pretty please!

  • Ange

    Oh my I was only discussing this amongst a bunch of us some 3 weeks away. Oh yeah I so so so loved my treads, I had the buckle up design and the slip ons. I think I went through like 5 pairs…. In amongst his desperate discussions ALL of us want the treads to come back again, big time please.

  • Rosie McKeough

    I would so love another pair of these as mine wore out 🙁 if anyone knows were I may be able to get a pair please email me at 😉

  • paddy

    i used to thread them on contract for a shop in parkdale when i was 15 loved em

  • crystal

    ohh my my mum was talking about these last week so i goggled them found this page i so want a pair so if we can bring them back id have a pair or two or three lol i love shoes

  • Shona

    Yep I own a pair grey & purple with black, cant bend the bloody tyre tread, like rock now!!…just bought them out to show my son & his girlfriend…size 7 & I think I got them in 1974-75?? (I was 14-15 respectivley) Bought back the good ole days of memories wearing them, they were so cool!! Think i should revolutionize them again!!

  • heather Griffiths

    I was too young to wear them ,but I remember going into Injeanious (jean store) in Clayton and convincing my Dad to fork out $2;00 to buy me a pair .. I was not able to wear them for long as they were not the in thing anymore but i would chuck them on whenever i could …I still have them and they are in excellent condition cool hope the dids these days get to know them… as some of these Cyber bullies might do well from a good kicking by a tread wearing victim… Bring on the treads …and connies ..and platforms ..

  • colin

    my elder brother used to make treads.he supplied all the major surf shops

  • Stevie_B

    Hey guys check this out….they are now MUSEUM pieces here in Victoria !!

  • Bee

    Baz, I’d contact the surf brands. I know of a shop in Philip Island that was hoping they’d bring them back. I loved mine too and would love a new pair. 😀

  • Baz

    I am in Vietnam and I intend making treads here for the Aussie Market.
    I’d be interested in hearing from anyone (seriously) interested in a Partnership to Market the Treads in Oz.
    You would need some experience and capital.

    For the record, I bought my first pair of Treads in 1976, the cost me $36 (I think) which was a weeks wages for me, I LOVED my treads. lets bring em back!


    • Neal

      Hiya Baz,

      Making some large size shoes of any size for sale to big footed Westerners in Vietnam would probably be a success. I got sick of wearing dress shoes in the heat and couldn’t find thongs big enough to cover the bottom of my feet.

      Good luck with the Treads venture.


    • Rosie McKeough

      I would sure love to be able to buy them again I would love a pair I so loved Mine .

  • Helen

    Who was the designer of the treads

  • david

    i remember slaps and indian toe thongs i think we called them toe stranglers would love to find a pair of those anyone who has a pair of indian toe stranglers or knows of anyone who has them for slae please let me know im after originals treds as well

  • david

    i remember slaps and indian toe thongs i think we called them toe stranglers would love to find a pair of those

  • david

    i also bought treads in the early 90s after seeing them on display in the newsagent in fiztroy they were making them in a factory at the end of brunswick st and i bought an all black pair which i still have and wear and i love em my original pair were light green yellow brown and fawn 4 colours still have a couple of photos of them i also bought 2 pair from ebay

    • joe

      hey david. would you will be willing to sell ONE of your pairs of TREADS you have.
      You have three!!
      I am based in Melbourne northern suburbs

  • joe

    hey all. i have been looking for treads for years. a newsagent on brunswick st, fitzroy was selling them abt 15 years ago. they were the real deal i bought a pair, but a piece of metal wasnt flush with the tread and kept digging into the soul of my foot.(sorry just arent the same thing, close, but no golden ticket). if there is any updates on where to buy these nationally or internationally i would be very interested? i desperately would like a pair

  • Rob

    I had blue and red treads. I remember I broke my leg and the ambulance guy asked me about them and said they were in better condition than the tyres on his car. Does anyone remember Indian Toe Thongs? They were made from all leather and had a loop that went around your big toe.

  • Brad

    Last Tuesday 13/03/2012 my wife purchased a pair of treads on e-bay for the princely sum of $200. They are blue/grey & green, showing their age, but are still in very good condition. This time she says they’re here to stay.

  • Shags

    Remember them and had a couple of pairs of them! No wonder the shoes themselves are hard to find, its even hard trying to find any info on the internet about them. I stumbled across this website. How great were those shoes? I grew up in Sth Gippsland (teenager through the 70s) where there was a very large surfie culture & treads were HUGE in that culture. I think I remember saving up & paying about $18 for my treads, that was a lot of money for a teenager back then. Takes me back to the days of puka shell necklaces, cheesecloth top, listening to Rodgiguezs and I smell the patchouli oil from here!

    Does anyone remember a style of shoe (womens) that was a timber platform and the foot part was coloured sheepskin, they were laceup and had a braid trim?

  • steve

    Hi all try, they look slightly different, retail for $96.00 they have a more nautical style and a style closer to the original, they appreciate feedback, i have asked for a more original suede tred which they are importing, but may or may not have the photos up. Also log onto facebook for the Treds bring them back page, quite fun.

    • Robbo

      Steve {Feb 12} could you let me know how you go with the more original suede Tred. Have looke at the website and they only have two different colours so far.

  • Stevie_B

    Not only do I remember both treads and slaps I still have a pair of BOTH. If Cindy can attach the photos I sent through you’ll see both my light/chocolate brown coloured treads and my genuine pair of black slaps that Mum bought me when I was 13 but never really wore them as they were a bit small for me. Anyway I kept them and low and behold 36 years later now my wife can’t keep her hands (or should I say feet) off them !!! God knows what she’ll go when they finally wear out.

  • Debra

    I have a pair for sale. Had them for 30years.

  • Carol

    I am absolutely LOVING your website, what a stroll down memory lane. I remember treads, I remember they were really expensive and we couldn’t afford them. But there were five girls that lived across the road and I would get their hand-me-downs. One day the beloved treads came over ready to be passed down to me. They were too small but I made sure I wore them, anything for fashion!!!!!!

    Kerry earlier mentioned Slaps. I remember them, I had burgundy/maroon coloured ones, I think I wore them to death! LOL

  • Scotty

    @Darren. I know at least 3 people, including me who would love to buy some from you. Do a test and get in touch with me. I couldn’t find anything that said I couldn’t post my email address so: Please drop me a line! 🙂

  • Never was a hippy look. It was a skinhead look. Far from being a hippy!

    • Sheree

      They were huge in the surfie culture, The Melbourne Surf Shop sold them… almost hippy….i was a surfie chick, i had a few pairs….dont even recall seeing them on Skinheads…..obviously they were cross-cultural….

  • Kerry

    Does anyone remember ‘slaps’? They were the thongs that had like a basket weave type of bottom and velvet straps. I went scouring through the internet a month or so ago looking for a pic of anything about them and I swear there is nothing there about them! We thought they were sooo cool!

  • I was very lucky I had 2 pairs. purple and mustard colour, and who could forget the dark brown with the light chocolate brown colour, very hard to get most popular colour. very comfortable. bring them back!

  • Maus

    I had 2 pairs 1 x green & pink leather & 1 x two tone brown suede. Think I bought them at Surf,Dive & Ski in Bourke St. I also remember shopping for Jag flared jeans at Merivale & Mr John in Collins St.
    I too look on Ebay for treads!

  • Sherridan

    I had 2 pairs. One light blue and dark blue, the others were beige and chocolate. My Mum had no hesitation in buying them for me as they never wore out. Unfortunately when they moved house she threw them out. Ohh to bring them back again.

  • Anna

    oh yeah! I used to love my red and blue treads, they were sooo cool or at least they were back then 😉

  • Cheryl

    If anybody still interested in getting a pair of treads go to this facebook page
    TREADS – BRING THEM BACK there is more than a good chance they are coming back with enough interest

  • Gail

    does anyone have a spare pair or know where I can get a pair, one of my friends wants some and I would love to get them for her.

  • Mark Condy

    I have been looking to buy a pair on E bay for years,
    But to my saddness thay never come up for bidding.
    I went through 2 pairs when I was 16 and that was all I had on my feet they were the best.
    Some one “bring them back” please make this old guy happy.

  • Graeme Henderson

    I still have mine and also my wife’s (now deceased). I also brought them for my two children at the time. I purchased them from a husband and wife team somewhere in Oakleigh area. I also purchased a pair that had cowhide uppers.

    • Darren

      Where did you get your treads from? I desperatly need a pair. If I can get a pattern or a working pair, I’d make them and sell them. PURE 70’s cool!

    • Rosie McKeough

      hey graame I had a pair that had cowhide uppers and they were very hairy I think called Fudds would I be right Those I loved and would love another pair.

    • Debra Cottrell

      Hi there Graeme Henderson,
      Just reading your post from years ago, our Treads: Bring them back Facebook site group I am a member of has just mentioned the fur covered treads from the 70s and I remember exactly having a friend who had the cow hide covered treads too, but I had three pairs of suede/leather ones and I made a pair just two years ago at our workshop. DEb Cottrell, Quambatook. Victoria. xxx

  • jaynejupp

    I so wish I still had my treads, except I seem to remember they were heavy to walk in. My were cobalt blue and mauve I think.

  • john

    my mothers still got my pair at her house

  • Sue

    Yes, I too owned a pair of hand me down treads. They were cobalt blue & lime green in colour & also at least a size too big for me!. I didn’t care that they were pre loved & too big, I was just proud to be the owner of the sacred shoes at the time!

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