With so many options on the market, it can be hard to know which running sandal is right for you. This checklist will outline the various aspects of running sandals you need to consider to determine which running sandal will best suit your needs.
Secure, comfortable, and durable running sandals are hard to come by. It is important to thoroughly vet the design to ensure it will hold up on your runs, while staying securely and comfortably adhered to your foot.
Huarache running sandals have the longest historic use of being used for running. When considering a running sandal, compare the design to that of the ancient time-tested huarache sandal design to see how their lacing system compares.
Ask yourself how far you would like to run and over what type of terrain. Based on the type of terrain you plan on traversing in the running sandals, you will have to decide the following: protection, traction, footbed, shock-absorption, conductivity, lace security, water performance, and simplicity. Let's start by looking at the sole.
When asking yourself how much protection you need and how well the running sandals will protect your feet, there are two factors to consider. Protection underfoot comes in two forms: density and thickness.
High: responsive & heavy
Low: mushy & light
Thick: more protection, heavy, and muted ground-feel.
Thin: Less protection, lighter weight, heightened ground feel for greater proprioceptive response.
The outsole–the part that comes into contact with the ground– should have a tread pattern and composition that resembles outsoles of other running shoes designed for the type of terrain where you will be running.
Softer rubber-dominant compounds grip best to wet and slick rock.
Tread–The height and frequency of the tread profile will affect:
Loose gravel traction
Mud shedding ability
Given the minimal upper of running sandals, security and stability rely on having a grippy footbed material to keep the foot secure. As a major detox pathway, the feet produce a lot of sweat. Because of this, it is important to have a good moisture-wicking footbed to draw wetness away from where the foot meets the sandal.
The longer and the greater the elevation change that you run, the more cushion you should consider on your running sandals to help reduce the impact on the body.
Given the cardiovascular nature of running, keeping the body grounded during this activity, for its blood thinning and facilitating effects, is a symbiotic no brainer.
To ensure confidence, the running sandal upper must effectively secure the foot in both the longitude and lateral directions under all terrain scenarios. Security is maximized by triangular anchor junctions between the lacing upper and the sandal sole. The closer the upper anchors are, on either side of the running sandal, to the longitudinal axis of the foot, the more lateral security it will offer the foot.
Given the minimal nature of a running sandal upper, the materials chosen must offers high tensile strength and longevity with minimal stretch. The fastening mechanism must lock to ensure no slippage or loosening.
A huge advantage of running sandals is their ability to navigate water in a streamlined fashion and shed water quickly.
Simplicity is best. Less components means less opportunity for the components to fail, and makes the running sandals easier to use and repair.
Less technology requires and builds more movement, mobility, and strength from the runner. Avoid over-engineered technology that interfere with biomechanics and bodily ancestral wisdom honed in on over thousands of years.