I’ve become a big believer in grounding (also called earthing).
If you’re not familiar with these terms, they mean grounding yourself to the Earth. To do this, you simply connect your bare skin to the ground.
The most obvious way to accomplish this is to walk barefoot.
That’s how humans were designed to walk. And, it turns out, the benefits of walking barefoot are nothing short of miraculous.
In my own experience with earthing, I’ve noticed how much calmer and more centered I am. I sleep more soundly too.
Twenty minutes with my feet on the earth and I have greater focus when I return to work.
But we’re contemporary people living in a modern jungle. And walking barefoot isn’t always practical.
So I was in the market for minimalist earthing sandals I could wear whenever I wasn’t walking barefoot at home and around my property.
I came upon a California-based company called Earth Runners.
They make a minimalist sandal that also grounds your feet.
About Earth Runners’ Minimalist Design
A minimalist sandal or shoe has an ultra thin sole that engages more of your foot as you walk.
This goal is to maximize the foot’s organic movements while providing a wide toe area so they can spread out naturally.
Earth Runners’ wisely elected to use a Vibram sole helps mimic walking barefoot.
Vibram is the company that became known for their unique FiveFingers footwear line.
The design of the Earth Runners minimalist sandal is unusual in that a single strap wraps around your foot and the footbed too (see the image below).
To make Earth Runners actual earthing sandals, it needs to somehow connect your foot to the Earth through the Vibram sole.
The design accomplishes this with a copper plug is threaded through the rubber footbed, connecting to a conductive strap that makes contact with your foot as well as the ground.
The Earth Runners‘ team manufactures these sandals in Windsor, California. (Yes, there’s made in the USA, not China!)
Selecting the Right Earth Runner for You
The company gives you numerous options when choosing your minimalist earthing sandals:
Choose between 8mm, 9mm, and 12mm Vibram sole.
From a barefoot walking/running perspective, the thinner, the better.
However, if you’re not used to minimalist shoes, I recommend starting with their Circadian line (9mm). That’s what I went with; it’s also their most popular line.
Choose between not footbed or a undyed hemp footbed.
I appreciate the hemp option. Our feet are highly porous. Most flip flop and sandal footbeds are made of a petroleum-based product like rubber or nylon.
While there isn’t substantial research to prove it, the toxic chemicals from these substances are likely leaching into our blood through the bottom of our feet. (That’s how much people get parasites too.)
With the hemp footbed option, your feet are making contact with a natural fiber, protecting it from the rubber sole.
Choose between nylon and hemp straps/laces.
Once again, Earth Runners thoughtfully offers an undyed hemp lace option for the sandal straps. The provide an explanation of both lacing options in their FAQ.
The hemp laces only have a one-year limited warranty, but you can have a new pair of laces sent to you for $17.
If the natural fiber isn’t a concern for you, go with the nylon laces that they are thinner and more comfortable right from the start. Plus, they’ll last longer.
Wearing Your Minimalist Earthing Sandals
While flip flops are functional for knocking around the house or beach, you always have to grip your toes to keep them on.
With Earth Runners, your feet are held snugly to the footbed by the overlapping straps.
These sandals are very versatile. I’ve worn them hiking in parks, going out to dinners, and walking around trade shows. I’ve even practiced qigong in them.
What I Didn’t Like About These Minimalist Sandals
The biggest challenge I had with my new pair was getting them to fit correctly.
The company does it’s best to provide a sizing video (below) and printed instructions, but I spent about 20 minutes trying to release excess tension from the front strap between my toes and my ankle.
Eventually, I gave up. It was uncomfortable for the first few days, but the straps stretched out enough for this tension to go away.
I also don’t love how the straps lace through the bottom of the sole.
This design element must reduce the shelf life of the product as the strap (either hemp or nylon) scraps the ground as you walk.
I’ve seen other minimalist sandal designs avoid this issue by engineering more sophisticated foot beds, but it adds more rubber and more cost.
The Bottom Line: Grab a Pair of These Earthing Sandals
Whether you’re more interested in minimalist sandals or earthing shoes, Earth Runners are an excellent choice.
- Keep your feet snug to the footbed
- Provide maximum proprioception
- Have ample room for your toes to splay naturally
- Offer undyed hemp footbed protection and matching laces
- Come in three minimalist footbed thicknesses
- Are highly adjustable to fit your foot
- Work in all terrain environments
These earthing sandals arrived within a week in a USPS flat rate envelope. No frills. Just a solid sandal.
Bottom line: I own Earth Runners and I recommend them. They will serve you well.