How to Make Aerator Shoes Yourself at Home

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Why spend money and time on aerator shoes when you can make your own with just a few supplies that you probably already have in the house? Here in this short guide, we’ll highlight the basics on how to make aerator shoes. In the end, you’ll have a pair that is sturdy, reliable, and more importantly, working towards aerating your lawn.

What is aeration?

Before anything else, aeration is the process of perforating the soil with small holes. Lawn aeration allows air, water, and other nutrients to penetrate the grassroots. The aeration process helps to produce a stronger and healthier lawn. It is best to aerate your lawn in the early spring or fall. Now that we’ve covered the basics of lawn aeration let’s jump into the things you will need to make aerator shoes at home.

Materials needed to make aerator shoes

Here are the items you’ll need. If you don’t have them at home, the Amazon links will make your life easier.

  • Plywood or some other form of cheap wood. You can use some old wooden crates or some other cheap stuff you have around your home. The pieces need to be longer than your foot, so they neatly fit the shoes. Or buy some Walnut Hollow essential crates.
  • Ten-penny nails (1 box). Or whatever 1-inch nails you have around the house. Or buy a box of assorted nails.
  • Tough rope. Bungee cord, laundry line, whatever works for you. You need this only if you want to keep using those shoes without the aerator spikes. This 9mm, 50-foot, the multi-purpose rope should do.
  • Wood glue. To stick it all together. Basic Gorilla Wood Glue is pretty cheap.
  • A drill. Hammering the nails won’t work long-term. You need a drill. A basic drill will go about like this Tacklife SDP51DC – cordless AND rechargeable.
  • A pair of shoes. Of course.
  • (Optional) Washer screws. How else are you going to ruin your shoes? These help keep the wood in place. Here are some Washer head screws from Rockler.
  • (Optional) Clamps. Only if you want to be extra thorough. A bit pricey but this QUICK-GRIP set from IRWIN is cool.
  • (Optional) Basic paint. If you’re going to make it all look nice. Choose a color that’ll fit your shoes.

How to Make Aerator Shoes – Step by Step Guide

We’ll go through the process for one shoe. Simply repeat everything for the second one.

Preparing the Wood

First, you need to cut and prepare the wood.

  • Cutting the wood. Make the wood into two pieces: 1×4 and 2×4. They need to be the same length. The 1×4 piece of wood will have the nails in it, and the other one will attach to the shoe.
  • (Optional) Cut the pieces in two. A smaller one for the front of your sole, the other, larger one for the rest. This will prevent the wood from breaking when you step. It will, however, make the whole thing take more time to prepare.
  • Drilling the holes. Using the drill, make small holes for each nail in the 1×4 piece. Be careful to make them small enough for the nails to barely pass through. Hammering them in may break the wood during or after the process.
  • (Optional) Painting the wood. Use your favorite color and paint the wood if you want the finished product to look professional. Or don’t.
  • Planting the nails. Gently squeeze in the nails through the holes you just drilled. Use a hammer if you need to but be careful. The tight fit is the trick to how to make aerator shoes that work.
  • Gluing the wood. Use wood glue and stick the two pieces (1×4 and 2×4) together. Use the clamps to hold them in place. Be generous with the amount of glue you apply (you don’t want the wood to split).

Now there are two ways to proceed depending on whether you still want to use the shoes for other purposes or not.

If You Still Want to Use the Shoes

You’ll need the rope for this part. The advantage of this method is that you’ll be able to stick the aerator soles onto any sneaker. The disadvantage is that you’ll end up with a flimsier build.

  • Drilling two holes for the rope. Do this on the side of the wood – make the hole large enough to fit the rope you plan on using.
  • Tying the rope. Drive the rope through the wood and tie a butterfly knot, so the rope stays firmly in place. Then tie the rest of the rope however you like to your shoe. One method is to use plenty of knots and be imaginative. Test it outside.

If You Want Single-Purpose Aerator Shoes

The best take on how to make aerator shoes at home is to sacrifice a pair of otherwise perfectly fine shoes (sneakers would be best, but any shoe will do).

  • Gluing the wood to the shoe. After you’ve glued the wood pieces together, glue them to the shoe and use the clamps again to hold them firmly.
  • Drilling holes in the shoes. Remove the insoles and then drill from the outside in (so that pick spots where you can attach the nuts without injuring yourself in the nails. Eight holes should be more than enough for any shoe.
  • Attaching the screws. Use washer screws OR simple screws to which you need to attach washers. The washers will make sure that the nails don’t tear through the soles of your shoes. Furthermore, they ensure the wood does not break.

Now you have to do the same steps all over again for the second shoe. Here’s a video of what the finished product should look like:


Now you just have to do the same steps all over again for the second shoe. Here’s a video of what the finished product should look like:

Test Your New Homemade, DIY Aerator Shoes

Take a walk through your lawn. Use this opportunity to aerate it and check for stones in the soil. These baddies escaped you before, and now they don’t stand a chance. If you feel that anything is loose with the shoes, tighten the grip of the rope or the nuts (if you went for the latter option).

If everything checks out alright, congrats! You are now the proud owner of a very sturdy and useful pair of aerator shoes.

Final Thoughts on Making Aerator Shoes at Home

If you have extra tips on how to make aerator shoes, do share! Any experience is welcome here and can help out a friend in need.

If you liked our guide on how to make aerator shoes at home be sure to check out some of our other articles like this one on lawn drainage issues.


Jonathan E. Bass

Graduated from Middle Tennessee State University. I am currently a gardener. I have a small garden behind my house. I love it.

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