Running sandals are an ancient and proven solution for runners of all applications. The freedom of running in sandals with the wind between one's toes is a very primal and freeing experience. It’s difficult for modern’s to realize that sandals (at least in warmer climates) were quite possibly the original running shoe. The ancient Romans utilized sandals almost exclusively and there are records going back even farther to the ancient Greeks and beyond. In North America sandals have been worn for hundreds if not thousands of years.
Running in minimalist sandals increases proprioceptive awareness which helps to create sure footing. Exercising in running sandals uses less assistive technology and creates more stimulation of the body as a whole, which can lead to a more efficient workout. Modern athletic shoes for the most part cause the lower body to atrophy by preventing the natural movement of the foot and deadening proprioception.
Running Sandals vs Running Shoes
The strengthening of the lower extremities is a natural outcome of regularly utilizing running sandals. The resultant more robust feet, ankles, and calves translates to a more holistic awareness of ones own body and environment. The ancient huarache design allows for full range of motion of the toes and splaying of the forefoot. The thong on this type of running sandal stimulates the liver meridian located between the big toe and second toe. According to Chinese Medicine the liver is responsible for the smooth flow of Qi (energy) throughout the body.
While Earth Runners have been used to traverse long distances, from 5k's to ultra-marathon, we like to think of them as sandals that allow you to truly be free (#BeFreeSandals) -- footwear in which you can run, walk, hike, play and adventure while remaining connected to the earth.