We’ve been listening to your feedback and requests for new sandal developments, which is why we are excited to announce the Chronos Lifestyle sandal to replace our most popular Circadian Lifestyle. And, as a bonus perk, we are able to offer the Chronos at a lower price point than its predecessor.
Walkbase® GumEVA Outsole
Chronos is similar to the Circadian Lifestyle sandal in weight, ground feel, traction, and density, but at a more accessible pricepoint, and with a more primal tread pattern, reminiscent of cave paintings.
Walkbase GumEVA compound, the soles for our Chronos Sandals, is an expanded rubber compound with a weight 30% less than solid rubbers and is engineered to be long-wearing, and provides improved grip–even in wet conditions. Learn more about all of our sandal components here.
Natural Remedies for Plantar Fasciitis: Reduce Plantar Fasciitis Pain Naturally
Plantar fasciitis is a common condition that causes pain in the heel and bottom of the foot. It occurs when the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot, becomes inflamed or injured. This condition can be caused by a variety of factors, including poor foot mechanics, overuse, tight calf muscles, and unnatural footwear. While there are many conventional treatments available for plantar fasciitis, natural remedies for plantar fasciitis can be extremely effective in alleviating plantar fascia pain, promoting healing, as well as for preventing plantar fasciitis in the first place!
Stretching and Strengthening Exercises
Stretching and strengthening exercises can help reduce plantar fasciitis pain naturally and prevent further injury. Stretching exercises can help to loosen the calf muscles and plantar fascia, while strengthening exercises can help to improve foot mechanics and reduce stress on the plantar fascia. Some effective exercises include:
Calf stretches: Stand facing a wall with your hands on the wall at shoulder height. Step one foot back and press the heel into the floor while keeping the knee straight. Hold for 15-30 seconds and repeat on the other foot.
Plantar fascia stretch: Sit with your legs straight out in front of you. Loop a towel or exercise band around the ball of your foot and pull your toes back towards your shin until you feel a stretch in the arch of your foot. Hold for 15-30 seconds and repeat on the other foot.
Toe curls: Place a towel on the floor and use your toes to scrunch it up towards you. Repeat for 10-15 reps on each foot.
Footwear modifications can be helpful in alleviating plantar fasciitis pain naturally and promoting healing. Minimalist footwear, such as Earth Runners sandals, can be a good option for people with plantar fasciitis. Footwear with a zero-drop heel and thin, flexible sole are designed to mimic the feeling of barefoot walking, which provide more biofeedback from the ground and can help to improve foot mechanics and reduce stress on the plantar fascia.
Keep in mind that transitioning to minimalist footwear can take some time and patience. If you're used to wearing shoes with a lot of support and cushioning, it can take several weeks or even months to adjust to minimalist footwear, especially if you use minimalist footwear for running. It's important to start slowly and gradually increase the amount of time you spend wearing them to avoid injury from diving in too fast.Check out our blog post on Transitioning to Minimalist Footwear Safely for more tips.
Massage and Foam Rolling
Massage and foam rolling can help to loosen tight muscles and fascia, improve circulation, and reduce plantar fasciitis pain naturally. You can use a Foot Rub Restoration ball (or other ball you have at home) to massage the bottom of your foot and calf muscles. Roll your foot back and forth over the ball, applying gentle pressure. You can also use your hands to massage the bottom of your foot and heel.
Ice therapy can help to reduce inflammation and alleviate plantar fasciitis pain naturally in the affected area. You can apply an ice pack or bag of frozen peas to your heel for 15-20 minutes at a time, several times a day. Make sure to wrap the ice pack in a towel or cloth to protect your skin from direct contact with the ice. Allow for some time to let your feet warm back up before doing anything too demanding on your feet to prevent shocking and straining your plantar fascia.
Epsom Salt Soaks
Another popular natural remedy for plantar fasciitis is an epsom salt foot soak, which can help to reduce inflammation and pain in the foot. Add 1/2 cup of Epsom salt to a basin of warm water and soak your feet for a 15-20 minute session. You can do this as often as once or twice a day in times of intense inflammation or pain.
Strengthen Your Plantar Fascia with Weighted Carry
Once your plantar fascia is on the mend one of the best things you can do to further your recovery and prevent future relapses is by performing weighted carry exercises in minimalist footwear. This does two things:
Firstly, it forces you to practice optimal barefoot walking form where you bare most of your body weight on the mid of your foot and use your whole body as a shock absorption system, as opposed to wearing over-engineered shoes which promotes heel striking. The added weight you are carrying exaggerates the consequences of bad form with resulting added impact and instability.
Secondly, weighted carry strengthens your feet via the extra load while performing the self correcting form as previously mentioned which trains ideal biomechanics. This can be done with a number of weights (heavily loaded day pack hiking with lots of water, backpacking for short stints, dumbbells, kettlebells, carrying rocks on the trail, etc.). Weighted carry has to be one of the oldest exercises and has so many benefits that don't stop at just your lower body but extend through the entire biomechanical chain.
Rest and Recovery
Rest and recovery are important for promoting healing and preventing further injury. It's also important to re-think any footwear that compromise your feet: a narrow toe box or a raised heel can negatively impact the plantar fascia, so wear minimalist footwear or go barefoot as much as possible.
Avoid activities that exacerbate the pain, and try to give your feet a break by taking time off from exercise or sports. You can also try gentle exercises like swimming or yoga that are low-impact and less likely to aggravate the condition.
Red Light Therapy
Red light therapy is a safe and effective natural remedy for plantar fasciitis that has shown promising results in clinical studies. By promoting collagen production and increasing circulation, red light therapy can help reduce inflammation and pain in the plantar fascia. (*,*)
Toe spacers are a simple and effective remedy for naturally healing plantar fasciitis. By helping to realign the toes, toe spacers can help improve the alignment of the foot and reduce pressure on the plantar fascia.
When the toes are crowded or overlapping, it can cause the foot to pronate (roll inward), which can lead to increased stress and strain on the plantar fascia. Toe spacers can help correct this alignment issue by encouraging the toes to spread out and relax.
In addition to reducing pressure on the plantar fascia, toe spacers can also improve circulation to the affected area and promote healing. Unlike other toe spacers which can become uncomfortable and are mainly worn while sitting at home, our Mobility Toe Spacers are designed to be worn even when you're walking around. Learn more about the benefits of toe spacers here.
Takeaway: Natural Remedies for Plantar Fasciitis & Future Prevention
While plantar fasciitis can be a painful and frustrating condition, we have many options when it comes to natural remedies for plantar fasciitis management, reducing pain, and healing. If you’re currently suffering from plantar fasciitis, try implementing a few of these techniques to avoid further aggravating your feet and to help alleviate plantar fasciitis pain naturally.
And even if you aren’t dealing with this issue– switching to minimalist footwear and exercising your feet are great practices to invest in a long future of happy, healthy feet!
We have started to see the impacts of our 1% for Tarahumara donations to True Messages, an organization which focuses on projects honoring the culture and traditions of the Raramuri peoples and children of the Sierra Tarahumara!
This spring, True Messages held a memorial run for the Caballo Blanco (white horse), Micah True. You may be familiar with Micah, as he was a central character in Christopher McDougall's book Born to Run, and is to this day remembered by many.
True Messages was established as a platform to continue the projects and share the inspirational Messages of our friend Micah True’s words, life and works to create opportunities in support of the indigenous Raramuri (Tarahumara) peoples of the Sierra Tarahumara.
Recently Raramuri runners honored Micah’s life with a run on some of his favorite trails in the majestic Sierra Tarahumara. The race ended in the Raramuri village of Sorichiqui with a festival full of music, dancing, lots of food, tesguino and celebration.
Our partnership with True Messages also supported a trail project with 35 local Raramuri working hard for a full week, which improved the course for the runners and made it more accessible to the community!
We are thrilled to announce the launch of our newest Earth Runners accessory: the Heel Sleeve. We left no stone unturned during the R&D process; we tested every material, design, and crafting method we could think of!
We tested leather, mushroom 'leather,' microfiber, and more. We tried different shapes, binding techniques, sleeve heights and widths, and slot locations & styles.
All of this in the pursuit of designing a sandal accessory that would bring the most comfort, ease of use, & security to soles around the world.
The Heel Sleeve design we landed on, after much testing, features vegan-friendly, wicking & non-slip performance materials to increase comfort and security.
Our 1” wide heel sleeve design diffuses heel strap security over a wider area. Our heel sleeve is best combined with our double wrapped lace routing technique to help maintain higher heel strap altitude.
The best candidates for our heel sleeve are avid adventures who regular variable terrain and seek improved heel comfort going up hills, and is also appreciated by those who experience heel discomfort or are looking to upgrade their adventure sandal performance and ease of taking the sandals on and off!
As foot health advocates it was only a matter of time before we started to experiment with the benefits of toe spacers. It quickly became apparent that our No Toe Box™ Earth Runners sandal design and toe spacers were a fated pairing of foot health technologies! Our ancient huarache running sandal design consists of one continuous lace originating through the bed of the sandal between the first and second toe. This strap binds the foot to the sandal– creating an incredibly effective and elegant design. Due to the natural toe splay stimulation of our sandal thong design, we sought to develop a toe spacer for toes 2-5. Our 4 toes spacer design ensures max compatibility with our sandals and tabi shoes alike.
Our original (1.0) four toe spacer was the product of modifying a conventional 5-toe spacer to our desired specs. After launching our original toe spacer design in 2018, the quick adoption of our 4 toes spacer design by our customer made the demand for a 4-toe spacer apparent! We soon thereafter began work on developing our own custom 4 toe spacer design that incorporated all of the key design elements that we had identified over the years of wearing and modifying toe spacers while integrating feedback from our customers. As a result we have formulated our own philosophy on how to obtain the benefits of toe spacers while maintaining max comfort and aesthetics.
When introducing toe spacers to the uninitiated we explain them as similar to orthodontic braces for the toes. Just like braces for the teeth, their corrective potential is a result of time wearing the corrective device allowing it to slowly spread one's physiology to be less impacted and more naturally spaced.
Drawing inspiration from the trademark barefoot shoe design of the Vibram Five Fingers, we have developed a form fitting active toe spacer design that offers moderate spacing between the toes to allow all day comfort. This is in contrast to other toe spacers on the market, which can be uncomfortable and insecure, limiting their wearability.
Our active ergonomic design allows you to reap the benefits of toe spacers all day long with any (healthy) footwear of your choosing. We believe the benefits of toe spacers are a result of time spent wearing them in combination with active use to help correct all the biomechanical chains of 26 bones, 30 joints and more than 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments of each foot.
Unsatisfied with the durability of our original toe spacer silicone material, we decided to adapt our 2.0 design to be made of superior medical grade silicone. We found the more stable chemistry of medical grade silicone to be firmer than our previous 1.0 spacer silicone, which led to the development of our unique voided holes between toes to ensure a squishy feel between the toes. This was a novel breakthrough in the design that not only allows for a comfortable and durable design– but has many additional benefits including being lighter weight, more fashionable, more secure, more elastic for easy installation, and allows for modification of the toe spacer widths– insert material into the holes to increase spacing effects!
Mobility Toe Spacer Development
Reverse engineering the universal toe spacer design.
Ensuring structural integrity via our computer assisted design (CAD) software.
Fine tuning the ergonomic form of the toe spacers for max comfort and security.
Testing the slot tension of our 5th out of 10 prototypes.
taking measurements on Earth Runners staff for ideal fit on our 3 sizes.
We are happy to contribute to the development of this well needed footwear technology and help s-p-r-e-a-d awareness of the benefits of toe spacers. We look forward to seeing our toe spacers out in the wild and hearing what our customers have to say!
Two years ago we at Earth Runners formed a relationship with True Messages, a non-profit focused on honoring the running heritage that remains so important to the Rarámuri culture of the Tarahumara tribe. True Messages was founded in honor of Micah True and to continue his life work of creating opportunities in support of the indigenous Raramuri (Tarahumara) peoples of the Sierra Tarahumara.
We have started to see the impacts of our 1% for Tarahumara donations to this organization which has gone towards projects focused on honoring the culture and traditions of the Raramuri peoples and children of the Sierra Tarahumara!
This year, the community held an awesome celebration to honor Micah’s passing this year that was sponsored by the contributions Earth Runners was able to make thanks to our customers!
The community spent a wonderful day in the community of Sorichiqui, celebrating and honoring the traditions of Rarajipari and Ariweta, and the 10th year since the ‘last run’ of El Caballo Blanco (Micah True).
This year’s celebration was full of joy, especially coming out of last year, where restrictions made things more cautious. This year the whole community came together for a day of sharing meals, games and traditions, and lots of laughter.
“Arnulfo helped us organize a mini festival and traditional games and it was such a great weekend. Laughter and joy and an insane sunset in a crazy amazing location.
Along with all the meals and such, we provide pesos and dispensias to all the runners that participate in the games. Helping keep the traditions alive and puts some money into a community that just does not have a lot of resources.”
In 2012, Earth Runners launched on Kickstarter.com! Our original sandals consisted of contoured footbeds featuring six copper grounding rivets, and our founder Mike was making sandals out of his parents' Silicone Valley garage.
Two years later, we moved into the first Earth Runners facility– a converted barn at the summit of the Santa Cruz mountains. Over the next few years, Earth Runners saw a lot of innovation and new product development (like our grounded conductive laces).
In 2016, we had outgrown our converted barn workshop, and moved into a business park where we brought on more team members and improved our manufacturing & fulfillment operations to meet the growing demand for grounded minimalist footwear.
Fast forward to 2020: Earth Runners has reached all corners of the globe, and it was time for our next, biggest, and most exciting move yet! We returned to our roots by securing our Rewild Be Free facility in the California coastal mountain foothills.
We are excited to cultivate an environment where our staff is excited to come to work and both participate in and proliferate Earth-connection. This location provides a beautiful natural environment for our team to work at a variety of standing, sitting, indoor & outdoor stations– as well as plenty of room for our company to grow into.
Earth Runners has come a long way since our humble beginnings in our founder's parents' garage! At the Rewild Be Free Facility, we have really been able to stretch our toes and make huge strides in advancing Earth Runners operations. We have duplicated nearly all our manufacturing stations, increased our fulfillment frequency, added an additional children's sandal model, streamlined new online returns & exchange systems, and advanced our international shipping offerings for our strong worldwide customer base to help meet the demand for foot freedom!
Living in tune with the natural environment is a big priority of ours– which is we have also started working on our workshop garden and compost, the beginnings of the Earth Runners permaculture endeavor to strengthen our harmonious connection to Nature.
Us at Earth Runners have been tackling garden development projects, including creating concrete curbs from scratch and installing drainage & irrigation.
Other projects in the works include a 4-zone automated irrigation system where we plan to install an inline water structuring unit and feed periodic batches of aerated compost tea:
And to top it all off, we will be planting plenty of life around the Rewild Be Free Facility– next up are fruit trees! Do you have any plant recommendations for our zone 2 workshop garden? Leave us a comment below!
We are excited to announce our fourth generation custom wool tabi sock design! We have been designing tabi sandal socks for 5 year now and we are quite excited about the 4th gen developments we have come up with to make these wool tabi socks even better suited for wearing with Earth Runners sandals.
Unsatisfied with the durability of our previous sock design, we sampled and tested the top outdoor performance socks in some of the gnarliest conditions over the past few years to see what they were doing better. When studying their fiber composition we realized that the sweet spot for wicking, insulation and durability is at ~50% Merino wool. This blend balances amazing natural wool fiber–for wicking abilities and insulation–with enough synthetic fibers to preserve the sock from abrading and shearing from heavy use.
After much testing, we created the perfect fiber composition recipe:
53% Merino Wool: Wicking and insulation when wearing tabi socks for sandals in cold or wet weather.
30% Nylon: Just enough of the strongest fiber in the blend to achieve durability while avoiding rigidity.
12% Acrylic: Stronger than wool yet softer and stretchier than nylon, this offers a balance of comfort + durability.
5% Lycra Spandex: Establishes good tabi sock security when worn with sandals, and rebounds well over years of use.
Another change to our wool tabi socks is our logo. Previously, we had our "E" logo knitted into the sock, which was rather large. This was cool for branding but not everybody wants to rep Earth Runners in such a loud fashion all the time, so we figured we'd follow suit to other stylish subscriptions socks producers and settle for small embroidered "E" logo on the cuff. Based on the positive reception, we think we found our winner!
Lastly, one of the weakest points in any sock design is the finish of the knit, up at the cuff, where the edge of the sock folds over to be sewn into place. Many manufactures do light stitching to finish a sock, but this is not an acceptable oversight for wool tabi socks that are to be adventured to the tops of Earth's most pristine and unforgiving mountain tops! We insisted to our manufacture that our sock needs to be finished with a flawless heavy duty stitch which will hold up against the most wild of feet and adventures.
Here are a few winter pro insights for combining Wool Tabi Socks with Earth Runners sandals:
You can stay sufficiently warm in freezing environments if you stay moving. It is standing still in the freezing cold that gets you chilled.
Hang drying your socks will extend their life span.
Getting the sock saturated wet during use isn't all that bad:
It keeps your foot more comfortable than if your foot was wet with no wool tabi sock.
The wool tabi socks sticks to ourEarth Gripfootbed better after it is wet!
4 prototypes (and a year of heavy testing) later, and our fourth generation socks have been born to run! Enjoy the freedoms of barefoot offered by Earth Runners, while staying warm in colder environments.
BFM 24: Earth Runner Sandals with founder Mike Dally
The Earth Runners founder, Mike Dally, joined the Barefoot Podiatrist for a podcast to share the story of Earth Runners. In this episode, you’ll learn what inspired Mike to merge barefoot footwear and natural grounding techniques to create Earth Runners minimalist earthing sandals. Tune in and discover:
👣 How Earth Runners got its start 👣 The evolution of our minimalist grounding sandals 👣 What are barefoot sandals? (Hint: they're NOT flip flops!) 👣 Why earthing is beneficial to your health 👣 and more!
1:30 How Earth Runners got its start: From garage tinkering to barefoot entrepreneur 11:40 What are barefoot sandals? (Hint: they're NOT flip flops!) 14:40 The benefits of grounding, the evolution of the Earth Runners copper earthing plug, & conductive laces 26:10 Moving forward: More epic adventure-ready sandals in the works 30:55 Transitioning to minimalist footwear 39:10 What goes into making the sandals: handmade sandals, carefully selected materials, exceptional warranty, and small-batch production. 46:35 Our new organic cotton footbedding: breathability, wicking, and traction.
After the 4th of July festivities died down, the Earth Runners crew threw on their water adventure sandals and headed out to the Russian River for a day of fun and Earth beautification: 5 people, 8 floats, and countless trash bags in hand.
Our water sandals seemed perfectly suited for the job, whether we were using our sandaled feet as paddles for aided propulsion, swimming across the river, walking our rafts through the shallows, or scouring steeps river banks for any spotted articles of trash.
Being the creators of perhaps the most exceedingly competent water sandals of our time, we found it our duty to utilize the keen abilities of our adventure sandals to navigate our local river and its banks and clean up one the most littered and beautiful areas we know of.
We used the opportunities the day presented to stack our functions:
Clean up the post-holiday littered river.
Soak up some nature time and sunshine.
Spend time together enjoying our sandals while bettering the earth #TribeGoals
This day was a special opportunity to enjoy the culmination of all these factors together with a group of like minds all working toward a common goal of earth connected betterment, and our water adventure sandals were the foundation which made this all possible. Over the course of several hours, we collected 6-7 trash bags full of trash! It felt like a scavenger hunt; any trash that we spotted floating and walking the river side got collected and properly disposed of.
It was satisfying to experience, test and discuss our relatively new adventure sandals, optimally suited for water with their hydrophobic performance lace composition in combination with our amphibious Earth Grip footbed traction. Some rocks got skipped, much fun was had, and the river is now cleaner as a result of the Earth Runner scavengers.
Skyrunning is a relatively new sport that is characterized by extreme mountain running events that take place above 6,600 feet of elevation and involve unusually steep climbing and descending. Basically, racing on as steep terrain as possible without having to actually rock climb. In its fourth year, the Broken Arrow Skyrace is held at Squaw Valley and is California's official Skyrunning event. This event showcases stunning views of Lake Tahoe and the Sierra, along with the sport's requisite steep terrain with massive amounts of vertical gain and loss at altitude. After hearing about this race at the beginning of the year from a friend, some of the Earth Runners crew and I thought the 26k (16 mile) distance sounded like a fun event to throw on the calendar. Roughly 5,000 feet of elevation gain and loss sounded like an epic day, and oh man were we right!
"California is drought-free for the first time in seven years after a winter of heavy rain and snow!"
The stoke was high as we toured the Village at Squaw the day before.
Little did we know that the course would be nearly half covered in snow with temperatures in the high 70s! Most of us had little-to-no experience running in snow, but we were certainly up for the adventure. The course has a progressive elevation gain that peaks at mile 9 (8,871ft) with snow covering a good portion of the course above 7,000 ft.
I had very little expectations going into the race. I had two main goals: to put some of our prototype adventure sandals through their paces, and to go at a comfortable enough pace to allow for documenting and soaking up the experience. Everyone on the Earth Runners crew had extremely variable training regimens leading up to the race, so each person’s gear and anticipated pace for the race was quite different. Having logged more training miles than both the other crew members combined over the 3 months leading up to the race I was the only one who opted to race in sandals. I was feeling fit and pumped!
At the start I positioned myself in the middle of the pack, so the first 3-4 miles allowed for a slow and thorough warm-up as we filed through the forested single track of mud and snow runoff. This was fine as I am a proponent of a deep and intentional warm-up where I systematically scan my body and level of mobility to ensure everything is firing well before I throttle up the pace. It wasn't until I fully submerged my feet into cold creek runoff that I felt like my body was fully online. At this point, I started to look for wider sections of the trail where I could gently begin advancing past other runners as I radiated the primal runner vibes.
At mile 4.5 we encountered snow combined with the first of many straight-up-the-mountain ascents. Having never experienced running in sandals on snow, I was admittedly a bit nervous and didn't know what to expect. However, fairly quickly I gained confidence and was ecstatic with how well the prototype sandals handled the steep and slippery terrain! Given my inclination for elevation gain, I quickly became impatient with the single file hike up the snow-covered mountain sides and found this was a great opportunity to pass and chat with some new running comrades. Mile 6 brought us to the Easy Street Aid Station and I was very impressed by the love, attention, and goodies available. All day, across the course, the volunteers were awesome! Feeling good, I didn't linger and after grabbing a handful of granola, a slice of orange, a banana and a water refill I headed out to tackle the next monster "hill."
Up next was a 2,200ft climb over 3.2 miles. After the refuel, I was feeling ready to really throttle up and see how hard I could push. I passed a number of people on the climb but couldn't sustain the passing pace for long. I would simply hang in the pack until I regained my equilibrium then get back on the press. It was nearly impossible to talk at this stage in the race but everyone around me seemed to be in the same state of mountain-flow-elevation-bliss. This section of the course was characterized by increasingly incredible 360 degree views of Lake Tahoe and the surrounding sierras as we scrambled over the narrow ridge line up to Squaw Peak.
After taking in the view traversing Squaw Peak, we headed down through the first truly technical downhill section to what appeared to be a random mountain top party but turned out to be the Siberia Aid Station. I highly recommend the iced tea flavored electrolyte mix! I imagine that most people would feel relieved at this point with mostly downhill remaining, but this is where I had the most uncertainty: How do I run downhill in snow?
Should I change out my wet socks?
Would my sandals offer enough security in the already unstable and unpredictable snow?
Should I run in the packed (slightly icy) trail or fresh off-trail unpacked snow?
How fast should I run being a moderate speed downhill runner (on dirt and rock)?
I opted to change my socks and started a full-plow descent through the snow. Within 30 seconds I had newly saturated wet socks, but didn't regret the sock change. The new socks were clean of dirt and grime which can act as a lubricant between the foot-and-sandal foot-bed, resulting in a reduction in traction. I quickly learned that an aggressive running form worked down hill as long as I stayed loose with zero expectations of traction. I surrendered to gravity and coursed down the mountain with minimal resistance. One technique I used, which I learned slack-lining, is to keep my arms above my shoulders to allow for maximum leverage in countering my weight in order to maintain my balance on the unpredictable running surface. This proved invaluable to prevent falling and slipping going down the steep snow grades. I also partook of my fair share of wipe outs and glissading on my increasingly frosty backside. This resulted in the unique sensation of my entire body being hot and sweaty contrasted by my numb behind. My technique for icy uphill sections included inserting my feet into the snow with my arms at the ready to go onto all fours and bear crawl if my foot holds happened to fail. Somewhat surprisingly, one of the sorest parts on my body from the race was my hands and forearms from all the glissading and snowy bear crawls.
Just over 12 miles in, I made it to the final aid station feeling comfortable and was pleasantly surprised to realize I had less than 4 miles left, all of it downhill! Having taken less pictures than I wanted thus far, I made sure to capture the remainder of the course and its electric beauty as we worked our way down the mountain into the lush Squaw Valley. This section was characterized by expansive green valley views and aromatic alpine forest.
I made it to the finish line and slapped the finish line bell feeling complete satisfaction with the day. I was greeted by some friends who participated in the 52k (32 mile) race the day before and while we waited for the other guys to finish we shared blissful recollections of what to me, resembled a dreamlike experience amidst the EPIC beauty of this course. Every member of the Earth Runners team who raced had a vastly different experience but we all agreed it was a thoroughly enjoyable epic experience and we can't wait for next year!
So Are Earth Runners Adventure Sandals Skyrace Approved?
Per usual, people were a bit dumbfounded when encountering a sandaled runner on the steeps of the Sierras. If people inquired about the sandals I told them "It’s all I run in (aside from during the coldest months in the Winter) so I'm used to it," and that I am more motivated than the average sandal runner. They didn't really understand exactly what I meant by this but what I was saying is that I am product testing the latest sandal developments for the company I own, which is a direct reflection of who I am and my deepest passions. I love creative project development and primal adventure. I can't imagine anything I'd rather be doing than designing adventure sandals that I then get to test in the High Sierra!
The challenge of comfortably traversing the rugged snow covered landscape of this course in Earth Runners was a fun and hugely beneficial accelerant for both Earth Runners product development and for me personally (EarthRunner1987). As a result, the most recent prototypes have been getting thicker to offer more epic adventure protection and combined with the world leader in traction, all-terrain Vibram outsole Megagrip, I think we have created a sandal that can handle just about anything the back-country can throw at you. Changes to the sandal design (all the way up until the week before the race!) offered complete performance satisfaction on this course and still had more to give. It wasn't until I crossed the finish line with a somewhat competitive time that I realized the new Cadence Earth Runners adventure sandals has been born!
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We have taken the ancient running huarache and created our own modern adventure sandal rendition which has proven to be the most simple, secure and free lacing system we have encountered in our 5 years of in depth research and development on land and water. We have torture tested endless numbers of prototypes where we tried adding and removing materials of all kinds to the lacing system and have not come up with anything that is more efficient or effective than the tried and true minimalist lace design of the ancient huarache sandals.
The design elements of this system are crucial given the minimalist construction and demanding role of our single lace binding mechanism. It has taken years to understand what is specifically required to create ever higher levels of performance from our lacing system as it continues to evolve. From tensile strength/stretch, to water performance, there are seemingly endless variables. After fully understanding the required functions of our lace we have been working with specialty mill manufacturers to design the ultimate water performance lace. This has involved much testing, trial and error to determine what material combination would achieve the greatest longevity, function and comfort on both land and water.
Our new Performance Grounded Conductive Laces™ are finally here! This new lace construction is designed to stretch very little under load (or when wet), while remaining comfortable and stylish. The lace is made up of a soft hydrophobic core with a fine abrasion resistant outer sheath. Inspired by the fascia of the human body, we wrapped our core lace material with a high density outer skin to increase the overall structural integrity of the lace. Our proprietary high strength core lace material is covered in a smooth and durable outer layer to keep the lace under continuous compression resulting in less stretch and more performance. The outer sheath wraps all the way around while leaving a gap down the top center third of the lace. This allows the toe post to fold tightly between the toes for maximum comfort.
The Earth Runners team has continued to ReWild our lifestyles ever honing in on a more ancestraly based approach to our health, happiness and community. As a result we have been spending more and more time in the dirt, outsourcing less of our movement to modern technology. This has involved traversing on foot ever greater distances over all of Earth's geology and hydrology to keep our soles strong and free. One key advantage to our sandals that we have focused on over the past few years has been their ability to transition between land and water seamlessly, proving them to be the ultimate water sandals.
The Key Features of a Perfect Pair of Water Shoes:
Minimal Upper: reduced resistance in the water & superior drainability.
Footbed Water Traction: excellent adherence of the wet foot to the footbed.
Outsole Water Traction: the tread of the sole grips wet surfaces well.
Foot Security (In water): the hydrophobic binding or upper of the shoe effectively secures the foot to the sole.
Minimal Upper: All Material above the sole
Our modern rendition of the ancient huarache running sandal has proven to be the simplest yet most secure upper we have yet to encounter in our 5 years of R&D on land and water. Considering the amount of security achieved by the minimal amount of upper material, Earth Runners has a very lean weight-to-security ratio. We have torture tested endless numbers of prototypes where we tried adding and removing materials to the upper and have not come up with anything that is more efficient or effective than the tried and true minimalist lace design of the ancient huarache sandal for amphibious exploration.
Footbed Water Traction
In the Spring of 2017 we released our Hemp Earth Grip footbed with a great deal of excitement due to it being a huge step forward in the evolution of Eco Traction. We have been very happy with its increased water performance and reception by the Earth Runners tribe. We received a tremendous amount of information in the form of feedback from the thousands of miles logged by the Earth Runners Community. We analyzed the data and came up with something better! Hemp is known for the extreme strength of it’s natural fibers but what we have learned is that it’s durability does not meet our standards when it comes to abrasion resistance in an aquatic environment. Being that strong abrasion resistance is one of the main attributes our water sandal footbed needs to exhibit, we have found another natural fiber that holds up better for this application while still providing all of the excellent characteristics that made the Hemp Earth Grip bedding so effective. Our new 2018 Earth Grip footbed is made of 100% low impact dyed (GOTS certified) cotton. It has proven to hold up substantially longer while ensuring effective function over the increased lifespan of the sandals. We are excited to offer the greatest combination of traction, wicking and longevity to date with our new heavy duty Earth Grip footbed!
Outsole Water Traction
The goal of an amphibious sandal outsole is to provide excellent grip on a variety of surfaces both in and out of the water. Achieving superior traction on both land and in water takes a fine balance. Many factors must be considered including not only the height, contact area and spacing of the tread lugs but also what compound they are made of. We have put a lot of energy into testing all these variables utilizing the world leaders in rubber, Vibram, to find the best combination for the ultimate water tread traction. Our new water sandal outsole is still in development and we are excited to offer this to Earth Runners worldwide when the time is ripe.
Foot Stability (In Water)
Given the minimal yet demanding role of our single lace binding mechanism, the design elements of this system are crucial. It has taken years to understand what is specifically required to createever higher levels of performancefrom our lacing system which continues to evolve. From tensile strength/stretch, to dry material properties, to water performance, there are seemingly endless variables . After fully understanding the required functions of our lace we have been working with specialty mill manufacturers to design the ultimate water performance lace. This has involved much testing, trial and error to determine what material combination would achieve the greatest longevity function and comfort on both land and water. Our new Performance Laces are in the works and will be available once all the production details have been finalized.
Over the past 4 years of R&D we have tested nearly 100 different footbed materials in an effort to find the ultimate all weather traction technology for our adventure sandals. We tested numerous synthetic non-slip materials but foundthem either too abrasive, suffocating to the sole causing sweaty slippery feet or that they simply didn't perform markedly better than our existing adventures sandals. Wanting to cover all our options we began another round of testing involving natural woven materials and stumbled upon greatness. Cotton, arguably the most used natural fiber on the planet. It’s inherent abrasion strength, pleasing texture, mildew resistance, unsurpassed foot traction,absorbancy and natural properties were exactly what we were looking for all along. Needless to say, it wholly aligned with our mission to lighten the human ecological footprint by living more in-tune with the natural world.
We landed on an low impact dyed (GOTS certified) cotton canvas material that resembles the feel of a mild bare earth equivalent--with superior all weather traction. Unique to the footwear industry, we have developed our own solvent free non-toxic lamination process. Most footwear produced in the world uses extremely toxic contact cement that is unhealthy for the cobbler, the Earth and not something you would ever want in your bedroom. You can adventure in our sandals sure footed, knowing that your soles are aligned with the Earth through and through.
In cities and towns across the Northern Hemisphere, green shoots are pushing up through cracks in cement and filling vacant lots with wild flowers. From the depths of the forest to the depths of our hearts, Spring brings transformation and renewal, the energy of the Wild reawakening in a new form. For us at Earth Runners this is an exciting time of rebirth and reinvigoration as we move to a new home. We experienced incredible growth in 2015 and are very excited to be in a much larger space where we can really stretch out and expand to match our dreams as well as the increased demand for grounded adventure sandals!
We have designed a facility that reflects our belief in conscious lifestyle design. We are constantly innovating ways to make our internal and external work spaces more enjoyable, functional and sustainable. This is reflected in our modular workstations in the shop. Designed with ergonomics in mind, they have the ability to move throughout the shop to take advantage of favorable sun, air, or wherever the beats are most fresh.
We believe that holistic health should be reflected in everything we do with our work environment being at the top of the list. Vibrant health starts with wholesome real foods, and that is why we have a full sized kitchen and communal dining area. Food and drink fuel us while we work and good food and drink make us happy!
Movement and play breaks clear the mind and body and help us to be more productive as well as avoiding injuries stemming from repetitive movement.
If you are local to the North Bay and would like to be a part of the driving force that is steering commercial culture towards footwear that facilitates natural articulation and connection to the earth--give us a holler at! We are currently expanding our team at the new Earth Runners Headquarters in Windsor, California.
Last Spring I read the 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss and his perspective rocked me. The principles outlined in his book shed light on how ineffectively I was using my time. I learned that as a business owner, time is my most valuable resource.
I’ve learned to balance effectiveness with efficiency. You do this by choosing the highest priority tasks that will render other tasks easier or irrelevant as opposed to just doing everything as quickly as possible. With this new knowledge I’ve reformulated our business model and I am really excited to share it with you!
As most of you know the trademark feature of our sandals has been the earthing component which is something we are very passionate about. With the introduction of our new conductive laces at the beginning of 2015, we were surprised to see they tested as well or better in comparison to the copper inserts through the sole.
We realized the redundant earthing options was unneeded and we wanted to simplify things. From here on out, we will no longer be offering conductive copper inserts as the conductive laces are just as effective and allow for a more sustainable, cost effective sandal.
We now have three different sandal models each available in 5 fashionable conductive lace color options. These new reinforced laces create an incredibly comfortable lacing system that allows for perfect adhesion to the foot while facilitating natural movement and a strong connection to the earth.
Elemental - 8mm bedding free (vegan) with Vibram® sport utility tactile tread.
Along with streamlining our website we’ve launched our new Elemental model and added two new sections:
Activity - Dedicated to showing which sandals are optimal for particular activities.
Why Earth Runners - Outlines our Warranty Policy and our commitment to the barefoot experience.
Get the most out of your time spent in nature by minimizing the interference between you and the earth.
Stay true to the comfort and freedom of going barefoot while not being limited to where you can go.
son for Earth Runners having transplanted to a new workshop in the Santa Cruz Mountains with Mount Madonna Park out the backdoor! Our inspiring new headquarters combined with a great deal of very helpful feedback from our tribe has led to furious experimentation. Trying to come up with the perfect sandal that incorporated all your input in a simple. durable, grounded package, we soon realized that there was no way to create one sandal that covered everything. We expanded our view and came up with three!
Simple is sexy! Many people love the simplicity and comfort of our huarache lace design but valued more ease in daily slipping on and off the sandal, rather than using their sandals for the intense physical activity that our normal laces support. Incorporating your input and requests for a more casual option, we created a one of a kind slip-on lacing system with grounded and ungrounded options. This fashionable new design is super simple to adjust and easy to slip on and off. So easy in fact, a three year old can do it (Video). The thong is made from the same nylon as our original lacing and attaches to an elasticized material which makes up the remainder of the laces. The fit is adjusted with a metal buckle on the outside of the ankle.
For those Earth Runners that live in their sandals and find themselves backpacking, base jumping, or signed up for a 50+ mile trail race we developed the X (eXtreme) series. The X models offer more protection and longevity than the originals and utilize lacing routed directly through the sole for added security. The Circadian X has all the attributes of the original like the best grip, unsurpassed durability, and detailed ground feel while adding an extra 2mm of protection with an 8mm tread. This may not seem like much, but 2mm of this high quality Vibram tread goes an incredibly long way in terms of protection without sacrificing proprioception. The Circadian X is available with or without: bedding, conductive inserts, and is compatible with any of our lacing styles.
Similar to the original Alpha, the Alpha X delivers incredible moldability and ground feel for a thicker sandal, while adding a stiff dose of durability and traction to the mix. The Vibram Woodstock tread has become a staff favorite for its all around daily comfort in a sandal that excels at more demanding tasks such as an impromptu backpacking trip. This model particularly shines in long distance walking/running applications. The Alpha X is available with bedding only, and any of our lacing styles.
Premium Leather Laces
In response to the folks who wished for a more natural looking/feeling sandal we developed premium leather laces. They feel wonderful, are amazingly durable, and they look fantastic. Our new leather laces utilize our locking buckle to make securing these laces a cinch.
In early 2012 I created the first Earth Runner prototype and realized that this simple design was the solution to our obstructed connection to Earth’s grounding effects. Insulating rubber soles were introduced into the footwear industry in the early 1900’s as a result of its superior grip and wear resistance to that of leather. To this day rubber continues to dominate the market due to its high performance properties and moldability. Our straightforward design features conductive inserts that run through the sole at low-impact-zones, allowing the feet to tap into the vital energies of the Earth, and restore one’s natural electrical state.
To compliment the concept of reconnecting with the Earth we paired our unique grounding system with the ancient minimalist running sandal design of huaraches. The elegant and timeless design of huaraches originates out of North Western Mexico from a tribe renowned for their long distance runners, the Tarahumara Native American Indians. The minimalist nature of these sandals allows for an experience similar to that of going barefoot, while still enjoying a measure of safety from varied terrains or street hazards. The ground feel provided by minimalist sandals encourages a more natural gait and articulation of the foot muscles, allowing one to build their inherent foundational strength and regular nerve function. For more information on this, check out Neurological Deficient Epidemic.
By combining these two concepts we are excited to offer minimalist earthing sandals that allow access to the Earth's harmonizing effects anywhere. Just as the energy of the sun contributes to our optimal health and wellbeing, recent studies revile that our connection to the Earth, via grounding, is just as important. Earth Runners now have the freedom to explore the vast expanses of the Earth, while maintaining an intimate symbiotic connection. An old Tarahumara saying reads, "When you run on the Earth and run with the Earth, you can run forever."
Here at Earth Runners we believe that the earthing movement is just getting started, and we feel privileged to help others tap into the source energy present in the Earth. As a pledge to help reconnect the world, we are happy to donate a pair of Earth Runners to Seva Sandals for every 10 pairs sold. Last September, the founders of Seva Sandals hand delivered a load of sandals to Mother Miracle School in Rishikesh, India. These donated sandals help the children maintain their quality of life by preventing infections from soil-transmitted diseases, while still allowing them to stay connected to the Earth. After seeing the glowing smiles of these children in their new sandals, it put all my prior hard work into perspective and fueled my drive to continue developing Earth Runners!
This week I have been busily working on the first batch of Indian kids’ sandals as a part of our company’s donation fulfillment to Seva Sandals, a nonprofit providing sandals since 2007 to impoverished children ages 3-16, in Rishikesh, India.
For every 10 pairs sold, Earth Runners gifts 1 pair of handcrafted bedding-free Ultralight sandals to this worthy cause. Donated sandals help the children maintain quality of life by preventing infections from soil-transmitted diseases and injuries from common hazards like broken glass, metal, etc.
Next week, Seva Sandals founders fly from California to India with a ‘hand-carried’ load of donated sandals. Let’s help load up their suitcases! Please consider adding on the “Pledge $30 or more” to provide sandals to a child in need in this community. Your $30 pledge is uniquely independent of Earth Runner’s charitable commitments.
A big SHOUT OUT to 6 people who’ve already jumped in to pledge a pair for a child. We’re told the kids are thrilled to receive this essential protective footwear. Your generosity is an experience lived every day a kid puts on that pair of Earth Runners, and as we all know too, the real gift is in the giving.
Thanks to all our backers so far! The campaign (at 88% funding) has been a steady upward progression towards our goal and trending to surpass it, as more people become aware of this unique product. We’re grateful for you spreading the word. A nod also to backer, Jason PC who shares this link to Earth Runner experimental graphs on kicktraq.
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This optional protection is offered to you solely to effectuate the shipment of your package(s). Backed is the name assured on the Backed Shipping Insurance policy of which your shipment will be protected on. The cost of adding your shipment to the Backed Shipping Insurance policy includes compensation paid to Earth Runners for making this protection available.