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FINALLY...A minimalist sandal that works!
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Ryan French
(lifegearguy) - M
FINALLY...A minimalist sandal that works! on 05/07/2013 11:16:35 MDT Print View

Thanks to a lot of insipiration from BPL members and the need for a lightweight supportive sandal, I finally found a sandal that fits my needs perfectly....I made it!

I searched long and hard for a minimalist sandal that would stay put on my feet on trails, over hills and in the water...everything I found came up short and were just plain heavy. So I did what most BPLers do, bought some material and got to work.

First prototype:Too much slop since this is a stand on top

After wearing these around, I realized that they were sorely lacking in function. I don't know how people run in these things. No matter how tight I made the straps, my feet aleays wanted to fall off. And I didn't like the large webbing. So I kept modifying and playing with the strap design until I settled on this:Re-cut the shape to fit my foot and hand-molded the footbed/sole...

These were much better and I realized that I was getting closer to what I was looking for except I needed a strap design that would keep my feet in the foot bed. My final design got me where I needed to be:Final design...my perfect sandal!

So glad I made these. I have never worn a shoe or sandal that gave me what these offer up. Since I've made them, I have run/walked a few miles and spent half a day cleaning up our backyard without issues. I love these things:Think I'll call them the exodus sandals since I am never going back to captivated feet again!

There a couple of other details in the strapping and the footbed that I think will make these things last quite a long time. And with my strap design + molded footbed, lateral movement is encouraged! I can't wait to get these things into the water and canoe!

Let me know what you think...

Edited by lifegearguy on 05/07/2013 11:30:30 MDT.

Ben Smith
(bsmith_90)

Locale: Epping Forest
Sandal on 05/07/2013 13:21:17 MDT Print View

Beautiful! I'd buy a pair :)

Adan Lopez
(Lopez) - F

Locale: San Gabriel Valley
Sandals on 05/07/2013 13:47:06 MDT Print View

Yeah, these look super good. Nice work. Curious how this works out for you in a variety of conditions. post reports!

Ryan French
(lifegearguy) - M
Adding post to: "FINALLY...A minimalist sandal that works!" on 05/07/2013 14:03:17 MDT Print View

@Ben - Thanks! I will let you know ;)

Seriously though, I am considering whether or not to buy materials and get to work. Appreciate the interest.

@Adan - will do! Thanks!

Adam Rothermich
(aroth87) - F

Locale: Missouri Ozarks
Re: Adding post to: "FINALLY...A minimalist sandal that works!" on 05/07/2013 14:50:16 MDT Print View

Ryan,

I'd love a lightweight replacement for my Chacos. The closest think I've seen are the Unshoes Pah Tempe but I like the narrower webbing you used. If you decide to sell some I'd probably be interested.

Adam

Ryan French
(lifegearguy) - M
Re: Re: Adding post to: "FINALLY...A minimalist sandal that works!" on 05/07/2013 17:23:14 MDT Print View

I'll keep that in mind, Adan. I can tell you that the toe lock is, IMHO, much better than the thong. It really helps keep my foot into the rubber sole/footbed.

I am thinking about putting a kickstarter project together for this but would definitely be willing to make some at a fair price for BPL members.

Let me know.

Backpack Jack
(jumpbackjack) - F - M

Locale: Armpit of California
Adding post to: "FINALLY...A minimalist sandal that works!" on 05/07/2013 19:11:51 MDT Print View

I'm, not a sandal person, but I like what I see and I'd be down for a pair.

Jack

Edited by jumpbackjack on 05/07/2013 19:12:24 MDT.

Ryan French
(lifegearguy) - M
Re: Adding post to: "FINALLY...A minimalist sandal that works!" on 05/07/2013 19:32:09 MDT Print View

@Jack- thanks man!

Humble beginnings but you guys are really making this an easy decision...I'll keep you posted.

Thanks,
Ryan

Randy Martin
(randalmartin) - F

Locale: Colorado
I am interested on 05/07/2013 22:02:52 MDT Print View

Keep us posted on your efforts and availability. Great idea for a river crossing/camp wear as well.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: FINALLY...A minimalist sandal that works! on 05/07/2013 22:19:06 MDT Print View

Well, you have reinvented flip-flops or thongs (depending on your country. That's fine.

> I can't wait to get these things into the water and canoe!
Ahhh - wait till you do before shouting. I find that a little bit of water makes them super-slippery. A little bit of mud and ... oh dear.

So - test in water and river beds, and let us know.

Cheers

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Slippery Top on 05/08/2013 06:21:31 MDT Print View

"I find that a little bit of water makes them super-slippery. A little bit of mud and ... oh dear."

Definitely a problem with other sandles I've used but not with Chacos. They aren't that slippery because of the sticky top and good strap system.

spelt with a t
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
okay, i'll bite on 05/08/2013 06:27:37 MDT Print View

They do look very like unshoes. If you're looking for beta testers I'd be interested. What's your sole material?

Daniel Fish
(daniel@fishfamilypdx.com)

Locale: PDX
... on 05/08/2013 06:31:57 MDT Print View

...

Edited by daniel@fishfamilypdx.com on 06/08/2013 19:18:27 MDT.

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: Slippery Top on 05/08/2013 07:02:06 MDT Print View

Early Chacos (when they were still Gecko) used a nylon strap system. Nylon stretches when wet and so the straps come loose when in water. Later they changed to polyester strapping. Polyester doesn't stretch when wet, and I've never used another sandal that is as secure and tight, even when walking in hours or soggy conditions. The only thing I don't like about Chacos (I always used the Z2 with the toe strap) is that they are very thick and heavy. But I've hiked in very rough terrain in them in the mountains, on rocks, and they always worked very well.

I, too, would like to know what footbed and sole materials you used. And the straps, did you just bore holes in the sole and thread the strap through. How do you deal with the exposure of the strap material to the ground?

Ryan French
(lifegearguy) - M
Re: weight? on 05/08/2013 07:17:06 MDT Print View

@Randy - thanks for the interest and I will keep you guys posted on the details

@Roger - appreciate the feedback, I have not gone sloshing through mud bogs yet but have had them dirty and wet without any issues. Locking in the toe + additional row of straps + molded footbed are helping, for sure. I will definitely take that request, find some mud and report back. Thanks.

@Luke - once my feet were wet from spraying them off with the hose, I can definitely say something unexpected happened, they seemed more sticky. But as I told, Roger, I will try to abuse these things and come back with some answers.

@Spelt - thanks, will definitely get back to everyone. I will definitely need to order additional materials to accommodate but will figure out the details and report out. The soling material is 6mm Vibram gumlite material. Here is a detailed photo of the sole with the molded details...
sole material and mold details

@Daniel - duh, the $100 question. As shown in the picture above, a size 11.5 men's weighed in at 4.1 oz (8.2 oz for a pair). For most people, this could be reduced to under 4 oz I would suspect by cutting off the excess webbing, but I like the backup.

Thanks again everyone. Will keep the updates coming...

Edited by lifegearguy on 05/08/2013 07:17:52 MDT.

Ryan French
(lifegearguy) - M
Re: okay, i'll bite on 05/08/2013 08:21:37 MDT Print View

@Spelt - I have a lot of respect for the other companies out there, Unshoes, Luna, Bedrock. They have all done a great job of bringing sandals to market that didn't exist. And I was ready to pull the trigger on buying a pair but wasn't quite satisfied.

My dilemma was that none of their products met my (specific) needs. Unshoes Pah Tempe didn't incorporate the thong but the really large straps are too large for my taste. Also, the footbed is flat which I could not get to work well in my initial prototypes...even when I walked the front ball of my foot wanted to slide inward, off of the sandal, as well as the heel...and this was only walking, not hiking, running, watersporting. Looking at Bedrock, again another great sandal company, but I assumed I would have the same issue. Then, when I molded my sandal, it changed everything. Instantly I felt like my foot would stay put which was a huge bonus for me. After putting on some jeans for a dinner with my family, I didn't like the way the single strap looked. Too much foot and not enough strap. And not enough support for my taste (I am that guy who will wear these things for everything except my day job).So I started fresh on the webbing design you see today which made me one happy outdoorsmen.

More testing and updates to come. Thanks.

Ryan

Edited by lifegearguy on 05/08/2013 08:23:30 MDT.

Rusty Beaver
(rustyb) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Nice! on 05/08/2013 13:31:41 MDT Print View

Very nice! You have fixed the main issue I have with my minimalist sandals: Foot moving all over the place.

J J
(jraiderguy) - M

Locale: Puget Sound
Molded! on 05/08/2013 13:34:14 MDT Print View

How did you go about molding the sole?

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Straps on 05/08/2013 16:29:33 MDT Print View

Very nice looking project. I loved Chacos but I've always wished they'd put their starp system on a minimalist sole.
My only concern would be whether the straps would wear through, especially at the back. I believe this question was asked about invisible shoes and the response was "If you to strike you won't wear the heal straps out much." Probably true but I wonder about hiking in them?
Does the molded sole keep the heel straps off the ground?

If not I have an idea. Make a pair of these with thin rubber and get the straps adjusted just right. Then glue another piece of rubber to the bottom so that the straps are covered.

spelt with a t
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
chacos on 05/08/2013 18:43:50 MDT Print View

Am I the only one who never liked Chacos? Every one I have tried on the soles felt like boards. I never walked out of a store with a pair.

Ryan, thanks for the additional info. I actually had a thread last week about the Wokova Feather and the Pah Tempe. I like the toe strap and thinner straps on the Feather but also the claimed lateral stability of the Pah Tempe. It seems by wrapping the toe you may have found the right combination.

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: chacos on 05/08/2013 20:24:15 MDT Print View

Am I the only one who never liked Chacos? Every one I have tried on the soles felt like boards.

Prior to the Unaweep soles Chaco soles were not so stiff, nor so immensely thick. I can't wear Chacos anymore because of the board-like feel they have now. They don't bend as easily as they used to. I begin to lose sensation in my toes.

Edited by butuki on 05/08/2013 20:27:15 MDT.

Ryan French
(lifegearguy) - M
Re- feet feedback everyone, thanks. on 05/08/2013 21:55:43 MDT Print View

@Rusty - totally agree...this is the only reason why I didn't end up purchasing a pair and ended up making my own.

@Jim - I tried several different methods including baking in the oven, blow dryer and propane torch. I want the best method without destroying the rubber. The method that seems to work the best at the moment is the propane torch, only because the blow dryer takes too long and the oven doesn't allow me to localize the heat. I believe the best answer will likely be a heat gun with a custom mold.

@Luke - I have chacos too and stopped wearing them because they are bricks. Loved the concept but ended up wearing the keen waimeas the keen antiguas (both thong/ flip flops with molded toe protection). Only issue here is lateral support and staying on my feet when walking up and down hills and in the forest. Your idea is a good but i am trying to stay away from glue...but it led me to another idea to answer your question. See the image below...Molded strap retention
(This totally protects the side straps and really gives the feel of your foot being inside the sandal). Another one...Detail 2
So thanks again for the feedback...have been thinking about this design above and your comments on the straps reminded me of it. Only problem is I am totally out of material (after making my wife a pair).

@Spelt - I'll have to go back and take a look...but what you are saying about the combo is right on! I think if people are still interested in the classic huaraches between the toe, you should check out Bedrock Sandals. They look good.

So I am talking with my wife about possibly getting some material ordered to make some. Also, I am looking to make a couple small adjustments and test them this weekend by the campfire and all week next week through airports and on another continent. This will give me time to get the materials ordered and figure out the details.

Will keep the updates flowing. Thanks guys. This really is a great community with great feedback!

Ryan

p.s. - I'll add one more photo below of a pair I made for my wife, his & hers :), notice how my pair on the left are molding to my feet after only a week of wearhis and hers

Edited by lifegearguy on 05/08/2013 21:59:57 MDT.

Karple T
(ctracyverizon)

Locale: Mid-Alantic
A minimalist sandal that works! on 05/09/2013 07:34:57 MDT Print View

Get a heat gun like this one.

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Bosch-13-Amp-Programmable-Electronic-Heat-Gun-Kit-DISCONTINUED-1944LCDK/100609368#.UYulmErNnaI

It goes from 120 to 1200 degrees

Heat gun

Ryan French
(lifegearguy) - M
Re: A minimalist sandal that works! on 05/09/2013 07:40:13 MDT Print View

@ Karple - I think that would be perfect! Thanks...

Michael Logan
(xbiker423)
Nice! on 05/09/2013 20:26:18 MDT Print View

These look great! I love my Chacos (and so do a number of my friends - I work for Outward Bound and sometimes I think I'm in a Chaco ad when we're all hanging out between courses) but I think they're way too heavy. Because of that I don't bring them backpacking and I always am so happy when I can get back to base and put them on. I like your thinner straps, too.

Nice work.

Ryan French
(lifegearguy) - M
Re: Nice! on 05/10/2013 07:41:19 MDT Print View

Thanks, Michael.

I am sure the shoe/sandal companies will continue to come around but realistically, their whole business is based on foot support. It looks like New Balance is stepping out a bit (no pun intended) with their Minimus sandal line (thanks, Daniel) but working as an engineer/sales account manager in the a very dynamic environment (automotive), I can tell you first hand that suppliers & OEMs are VERY SLOW to change.

Let's see where this takes us. I am trying to reach out to some distributors & Vibram to see if I can get my hands on some other rubbers to try as well. The 6mm sport utility stuff I am using is good, but I don't want to be limited to one rubber if I don't have to.

Thanks,
Ryan

Ryan French
(lifegearguy) - M
Updated design... on 05/12/2013 14:21:36 MDT Print View

Well, working through some design details, I made an update on the side straps to improve two features...Sewn side strap

Two needed improvements..

1. Prevent the heel strap from slipping. This seemed to happen when running mostly but it keeps me from having to keep the straps really tight

2. To get height to prevent #1, I would have to do a double wrap on the side strap and after a full day of wearing them, I got a hot spot on the right foot, near the instep. I need to get better at using the sewing machine but I'll get there...

This design is much more comfortable and will be the way I keep them for my trip to South America this week.

My plan is to make sure there are no more design tweaks needed from feedback on the trip. If all goes well, I well I plan on seeing how many people are interested and ordering materials to make enough sandals to support those interested.

Let me know your thoughts...thanks.

Ryan

Ryan French
(lifegearguy) - M
One more photo.,. on 05/12/2013 14:43:14 MDT Print View

Just one more to show the height on the heel strap. I experimented with rubber but prefer the soft nylon for no hot spots/blisters...Heel strap sewn detail

Much better IMHO.

Ryan

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Re Updated Design on 05/12/2013 14:43:21 MDT Print View

I like it Ryan. My only suggestion would be to bring some extra strapping with you. Those seams on the side will be under a lot of stress. Now Chacos have the same design and they work so I'm not saying your design is bad, I really like it. I'm just saying that is probably the most likely failure point on these sandles. There might be some trial and error before you figure out the strongest way to sew them.

Have a good trip.

Ryan French
(lifegearguy) - M
Re: Re Updated Design on 05/13/2013 07:39:55 MDT Print View

Thanks, Luke....good call.

I was a little hesitant to bust out the sewing machine as well so based on your feedback, I made another modification...Buckle adjusters on side

This not only accomplishes keeping the heel strap from slipping, it also allows for adjustment on both sides to really dial in the fit. Wore them like this last night after modding them, but will take a run with my wife today to see how they feel with varying terrain.

One more to add detail...
Side detail

Thanks again!

Edited by lifegearguy on 05/13/2013 07:41:10 MDT.

Gerald L
(Mtngeronimo) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Re: chacos on 05/13/2013 09:18:29 MDT Print View

"Prior to the Unaweep soles Chaco soles were not so stiff, nor so immensely thick. I can't wear Chacos anymore because of the board-like feel they have now. They don't bend as easily as they used to. I begin to lose sensation in my toes."


+1. Didn't know the new soles were termed 'Unaweep' but they had me weeping after the $90+ purchase. Expensive door stops is what I have now. I miss my original pair. Should have resoled them.

Ryan, I would certainly consider a pair of these if/when you go into production mode.

Edited by Mtngeronimo on 05/13/2013 09:20:22 MDT.

Ryan French
(lifegearguy) - M
Re: Re: Re: chacos on 05/13/2013 09:51:51 MDT Print View

@Gerald - thanks for the feedback. I am pretty serious about getting things rolling once I get back from my trip and with some more foot time on the sandals (to work out the kinks).

Thanks and I will keep everybody updated...

Ryan

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
buckles on 05/13/2013 10:04:54 MDT Print View

Nice idea on the buckles Ryan. Keep an eye on those buckles because I'd guess that joint there would be your most likely failure point whether you use a buckle or stitching. I noticed on my Chacos the buckle is really beefy. Those buckles may have trouble if they are twisted and pulled at odd angles.

I think your buckle idea would work but if you want to go back to sewing the x-box stitch should work well. Basically you sew a box with an X shape across it. That spreads out the stress. I doubt the webbing would rip, you'd have more to worry about from the thread tearing. Heavy duty thread should work and having multiple stiches is a good idea. You might see one unravel a bit if you make a mistake but it would be unlikely to totally fail before you could get to a sewing machine and fix it.

Oh one word on sandles if you haven't used them a lot. Expect to get some blisters. Its just the nature of the beast. I would normally rotate my sandles occasionally with running shoes so my feet gradually toughened up.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: chacos on 05/13/2013 10:11:41 MDT Print View

Keen has come out with the CNX sandals which are 12oz less per pair and added another $100 item to me gear lust list.

Agreed on the Chacos--- they could be used for riot control. Far too heavy and stiff for a sandal.

Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
Teva Zilch on 05/13/2013 16:23:03 MDT Print View

The Teva Zilch are a pretty good minimalist sandal. I have been pleased with mine, but would prefer a little more ground feel. These look nice though.

Ryan French
(lifegearguy) - M
Re: buckles on 05/13/2013 19:18:45 MDT Print View

@Luke - thanks...the good news with this method is the buckle s only there to add the height to keep the heel strapnfromslipping soothe straps are just a pass-through, not much load on these.

Thanks,
Ryan

Ryan French
(lifegearguy) - M
some serious testing these past few weeks on 05/27/2013 22:21:24 MDT Print View

As promised, I wanted to provide an update as to where I'm at with the sandals....

First of all, I can say that after 3 weeks of wearing these I could not be more thrilled. Spending summer weekends and holidays in the upper peninsula of Michigan, I run into the same problem every year, the trade-off between heavy sandals that stay on your feet (Chacos, Keens) or lightweight flip-flops that tend to cause some (obvious) problems near (and in) the rivers, lakes and forest. I also have the very same issue traveling periodically for work as I want something that will stay on my feet and not look half bad wearing with jeans to dinner.

To test these out as much as possible over the past three weeks, and to see if I could make them fail in ways suggested by some of you, here is what I have put these through:

- week of travel through airports and various cities from Detroit to Sao Paulo, Brazil
- several miles running on uneven terrain in Detroit
- chasing four-year-olds around a field for my son's first t-ball practice (i am coaching this year for the first time)
- taming a wildfire
- running in and along the shores of Lake Superior and rivers and forests of the UP
- swimming in some of the rivers as well as Lake Superior IN the sandals (extremely cold this time of year, I was told around 40F in Lake Superior, 57F in the river near our cabin and it definitely felt like it),
- wading and walking in river mud just to get the sandals as messy and slimy as possible before taking a few jogs out of the rivers and up hills to see if my feet would slip
- chopping up deadwood to stock our wood pile to heat the cabin
- hiking through the thick forests of Upper Michigan, crossing over beaver dams, walking through sand dunes
- up and down logs, sand hills, rocks,

I am sure I missed a few things but as you can see, I basically put these things on in the morning and didn't take them off until night just to make sure I wasn't missing anything. I will say that other than an interesting tan line, I experienced no blisters, hot spots, bruises, cuts, etc. I have never been this satisfied with a pair of sandals and, at the very least, my search for the perfect spring, summer, fall shoe/sandal has come to an end. The strap design + molded footbed definitely locks in the foot for the second skin feel. Even swimming with the sandals on worked out quite well and I never once felt as though they were going to come off, either in the water or walking through the river bottom muck.

So...I tried to throw together a quick blog to at least show some photos and (not so great) video of some of the experiences I've had so far through this process. Instead of trying to post of all the photos here (and not being able to duplicate the videos), I will provide the link: http://www.exodussandals.tumblr.com. This site is a work in progress but seems to handle photos well.

My plan is to start a new thread in an appropriate location on the forum early this week(gear deals? gear swap?) and see how many are interested in buying a pair (for a little above cost and shipping) to wear and provide feedback.

Let me know your thoughts...

Thanks,
Ryan

Edited by lifegearguy on 05/27/2013 22:24:25 MDT.

Gerald L
(Mtngeronimo) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: some serious testing these past few weeks on 05/27/2013 23:51:25 MDT Print View

Ryan, Great report. I'm impressed that you had such great success with the early prototype. Certainly some rigorous testing thus far.

I was curious if the heel side ladder locks were going to cause hot spots (?).

Are you satisfied with the Vibram gumlite sole and are you still considering other materials?

I would definitely like to R&D a pair as soon as you have them available. There may be sandal life after my 1st gen. Chacos after all.

By the way, Exodus Sandals is a great name.

Cheers,
Gerald

Ryan French
(lifegearguy) - M
Re: Re: some serious testing these past few weeks on 05/28/2013 06:45:21 MDT Print View

Thanks for the interest and taking the time to reply...greatly appreciated.

Regarding the side ladder locks, no hot spots at all. And I have had sand from the lake caked in between (on purpose) without issue. Actually the reason for the side ladder locks is two-fold: 1) I wanted a way to add height & adjustment to the heel strap without sewing (potential fail point)...this prevents that strap from sliding down the back of your heel, 2) with a three point system, one on each side and one on the top, you can really dial in a perfect fit. Prior to this, I wrapped te strap around itself a couple times to get some height but experienced hot spots. Not any more :).

Regarding the material, I have ordered some other sample materials and in talks with a few people at Vibram to see if there is something better but I have no complaints this far. Plus, I need a durable rubber that is moldable without degradation in quality/durability, so far this is the best out of two I have tried. Another few samples are on the way.

Thanks again,
Ryan

Daniel Fish
(daniel@fishfamilypdx.com)

Locale: PDX
... on 05/28/2013 07:03:25 MDT Print View

...

Edited by daniel@fishfamilypdx.com on 06/08/2013 19:03:47 MDT.

Ryan French
(lifegearguy) - M
Re: Awesome Testing on 05/28/2013 07:20:40 MDT Print View

Thanks, Daniel.

I am not big in business travel because it takes me away from the fam, but looking back at the list, I can truly say I am thankful and blessed.

Ryan

Ryan French
(lifegearguy) - M
By the way on 05/28/2013 07:24:22 MDT Print View

Just FYI, I have also started on Instagram (which ultimately end up on the tumblr) and Twitter.

The name is @EXODUSsandals

Thanks,
Ryan

Karple T
(ctracyverizon)

Locale: Mid-Alantic
A minimalist sandal that works on 05/28/2013 07:35:21 MDT Print View

Your tumbler site is really nice.

My company can set up a eCommerce site for you and provide live 24/7 operators for order taking, CS & payment processing.

telerep.com

Ryan French
(lifegearguy) - M
Re: A minimalist sandal that works on 05/28/2013 09:38:23 MDT Print View

thanks, Craig...I'll keep that in mind.

Ryan

BER ---
(BER) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Minimalist sandals on 05/28/2013 16:42:55 MDT Print View

These look really nice. Great job so far. Definitely interested.

Jolly Green Giant
(regultr) - MLife

Locale: www.jolly-green-giant.blogspot.com
Re: FINALLY...A minimalist sandal that works! on 05/28/2013 19:07:47 MDT Print View

Saw these at Trail Days this year. Pretty similar and a product already on the market initiated from a Kickstarter campaign:

http://bedrocksandals.com/

spelt with a t
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
Re: FINALLY...A minimalist sandal that works! on 05/28/2013 19:31:36 MDT Print View

Great to have an update. Looking forward to testing a pair myself. How do you plan to build to size? Foot tracingss?

Ryan French
(lifegearguy) - M
Re: Re: FINALLY...A minimalist sandal that works! on 05/28/2013 20:44:02 MDT Print View

@Ber - thanks and once I start a new thread, it will have the info needed for those interested.

@Jolly - I was very close to pulling the trigger on the bedrocks. However, I already had the rubber and started off by trying to make a typical huarache style sandal with Vibram rubbber and nylon straps (like some other companies out there, Luna, Bedrock, Unshoes). Personally, I did not like the lack of lateral support and my feet always seemed to slip over the sides of the rubber. That is when I really started modifying, starting off first with heating and molding the rubber footbed to cradle the foot. After, I realized the huge improvement and started working on a new strap routing/design which got me where I am at today.

Thought that if they worked for me, others may be interested as well which is why I am taking it slow and offering to make some for BPL members and family friends only for now. That may change in the future but I'd like good honest feedback first! IMHO, Bedrock has the best looking product out there for standard huarache style minimalist sandals.

@Spelt - glad to hear you are interested...I think for the initial builds, we should start off with tracings just to make sure everyone is satisfied with the fit...

Will be posting a new thread soon so keep your eyes open...thanks.

Ryan

Adam Sherrerd
(macfly) - F
Re: FINALLY...A minimalist sandal that works! on 05/29/2013 05:44:35 MDT Print View

Very cool, Ryan! I do most of my running in a pair of Luna Originals (I think now they're called the "Venado"). I use them on a mix of concrete, grass/city parks, and singletrack. The suede top definitely can get slippery when it's wet or when passing through dew. Apparently they've updated the footbed to allow for more traction. I've been waiting on their new Oso model which is supposed to be geared more toward the rugged/trail side of things, but it keeps getting delayed, and according to their newsletter that just showed up in my inbox, it's gonna be another two months. I need something soon so I'll probably get a pair of Luna Leadvilles before I leave in mid-June for a month-long roadtrip/backpacking excursion in the western USA, but I'd love to give yours a go when they're ready and would be glad to share my experiences and comparisons. I like your strap design, especially at the toe. I tend to cinch my Lunas up way tight to avoid slippage, and after a while the skin webbing between my big toe and second toe can get a little sore from all the friction.

Edited by macfly on 05/29/2013 05:59:26 MDT.

Ryan French
(lifegearguy) - M
Re: Re: FINALLY...A minimalist sandal that works! on 05/29/2013 06:31:45 MDT Print View

Hi Adam,

Thanks for the kind words and the interest. And appreciate you sharing your experience with the Luna's. Another nice product I was interested in but I am too hard on my sandals to rely on the single strap. Also, I experienced some irritation in the same place as you on my original prototypes.

With the XO toe lock design (gotta call it something), I haven't experienced that problem. I adjust the toe lock just big enough to fit my toe in with little effort. Once dialed in, it doesn't rub because it wraps around the big toe.

I also forgot to mention that although I love to hike and play in the woods and water, I have not actually ran a mile or more in over 5 years. Just never was a runner. But the first day I focused in on this design, and after reading the pros and cons of barefoot running, I took my 255 lb mass and started running, just to prove to myself that if dove properly (mid foot gait, etc.), there would be no break-in time. I can say I've run a total of around 6 miles with no issue!

Thanks,
Ryan