Creating Shoe Tread Images

Here is one simple method of getting a print from the soles of your footwear:

  1. Obtain a large piece of paper, food coloring, and a brush.
  2. Clean the bottoms of your soles!
  3. Using a brush, lightly apply food coloring to the treads of one shoe.
  4. Put the shoe on and carefully roll the sole onto the paper from the feel to the toe.
  5. Once you've applied your full weight to the shoe, carefully lift it from the paper. (Wash off the sole once done!)
  6. Repeat these steps with the other shoe.
  7. Allow the paper to dry, then use a marker to add details (e.g. size, model, color).
  8. Keeping your camera parallel to the paper, take a photo of the print. (This is best done by taping the paper to a wall, and ideally using a tripod. Using wide-angle lenses can distort the image shape; a ~50mm lens is optimum. If using a compact camera, it's best to stand farther back and zoom in.)

Note: As tread patterns change as they wear, becoming more individualized over time, it's important to re-do this process after major trips.

Creating Aluminum Foil Sole Imprints

This could be another very important piece of evidence that SAR could use to find you!

  1. Clean the soles of your shoes, boots, and camp shoes.
  2. Fold up a towel, place a sheet of foil over it, then step on it with your shoe or boot.
  3. Place your entire weight onto your foot, then peel the foil off the shoe carefully. Make prints for all your shoes: winter, trail, and camp shoes.
  4. Label each print with a piece of masking tape that has the brand, model,and size written on it.
  5. They should be stored in a plastic container or shoe box so they are not compromised.
  6. Take photos of each pair of shoes, and store a copy with the sole imprint.
  7. Leave a copy of the sole imprints and shoe photos in your car.