Edited by Colin Evans
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 create ever higher levels of performance from 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.
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