Since sandals became our favourite footwear for travel, we’ve been on a long (and expensive) journey to find the best pair to fit our needs – we’re happy to say we’ve finally found our favourite travel sandals with Earth Runners.
Before jumping into the review we want to let you guys know that we reached out to Earth Runners who sent us the sandals to test out. We weren’t paid to write this review and all thoughts in this post are our own.
We think these sandals could benefit a lot of people out there who are looking for their next travel sandals. Right, onto the review…
Disclosure: Some links found in this post are affiliate links. Purchasing via these links comes at no extra cost to you but makes a small contribution towards funding our work.
The aesthetics of Earth Runners was what initially caught our attention. Unlike other travel/hiking/outdoor sandals, Earth Runners have gone for a very minimalistic design which looks good when paired with practically any outfit.
Earth Runners currently stock three different variations of their sandals: Elemental, Circadian and Alpha. Both Circadian and Alpha uses a tan coloured hemp material on the inner sole and differ only in the thickness and grip of the outer sole. Sarah went for the Circadian whilst I went for Alpha (reasons for our choices come later). We’ll only talk about these two variations from here on out.
You’ve heard us talk about it before but weight is a major factor for us when choosing any gear. The thinner Circadian are actually the heavier out of the two, at around 168g (varies depending on size). This is roughly half of what our old Teva sandals weighed. Both sandals also have a very slim profile which makes them incredibly easy to pack.
The sandals have a single nylon strap which wraps around the sole to create support between the toes, around the top of your feet and just above the heels. The strap can be easily adjusted to fit the shape of your feet and fastened using a clip. There are a variety of colours to choose from. Sarah’s gone for the black nylon with brown trim whilst mine is the black nylon with black trim.
That’s it for design. As previously mentioned, these are very minimalistic sandals but there are great benefits to this which we’ll talk about next.
Sarah opted for the Circadian due to the better grip and higher flexibility. This would have been my choice if not for my lack of experience wearing footwear with such thin soles. Also, I often carry around a large backpack with all our camera gear (weighs 15kg when fully loaded). The extra cushioning provided by the Alpha made more sense.
The Circadian and Alpha both have completely flat soles with no support to the feet. Earth Runners were designed to be as close to walking barefoot as possible. As a flat-footed person who was dependent on using insoles to make walking long distances comfortable, it surprises me to say that I now prefer these sandals to a more traditional supportive shoe. By removing the support, it forces my foot to naturally bend, grip and arch my feet as I walk – like they were naturally built to do so. I have to admit, the first few days of wearing the sandals caused my feet to ache but this has all but gone away. For a more in-depth look at the benefits of walking barefoot, check out Harvard Scientist Daniel E. Lieberman’s study.
We tend to do a lot of hiking and both the Alpha and Circadian do great on uneven surfaces. We’ve found that the Circadian grips better on wet surfaces but the Alpha still performs admirably. The only condition we wouldn’t recommend these sandals is when the weather turns cold – for obvious reasons. We’ve climbed rocks, waded through rivers and trudged through mud in these sandals, and minus the slight staining from the mud, they’ve held up very well.
The final point I want to touch on is Earthing or Grounding. I’ve forgotten where and when I first heard of this concept but in recent years it’s been gaining hype. Without going into too much scientific details, the theory is that putting our body in direct contact with the earth can transmit negatively-charged electrons to your body to neutralize the buildup of positive ones. Theorists believe this has huge medical benefits as most people tend to go their entire day, week or even months without once touching the earth with their body. For more information on Earthing read Gaétan Chevalier et al article.
How do Earth Runners provide Earthing then? If you flip them over you’ll find a grounded copper plug – copper being an extremely conductive metal. This connects to the lacing which is also conductive, thus transmitting the electrons to your body. But have we seen a benefit from being Earthed? We’ll let you know in a year’s time…
As you can see there’s so much we love about these simple sandals. They look great, they’re extremely light and easy to pack and have good enough grip to use out on a hike. All this and we’ve yet to mention Earth Runner’s warranty which covers the sandals and straps until the sole material is below 1mm.
There’s not a lot we don’t like about the sandals. I did have to spend a small amount of time adjusting to the minimalist footwear and the hemp inner sole can stain over time (although we think it fits nicely with the seasoned traveller look).
|Beautiful and simplistic design||Not the cheapest|
|Light and easy to pack||May take some time getting used to|
|Great grip||Can stain|
If you would like to purchase a pair of Earth Runners use the links below