Earth Runners Sandals: Truly Fluid Forefoot Running

The thing that sold me on forefoot running in minimalist shoes was reading Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. He discussed in detail the running style and footwear worn by the Tarahumara Indians, a tribe of endurance runners in Mexico.

The Tarahumara Indians run long distances in very thin, leather sandals known as Huarache’s. However, the Tarahumara Indians were not the only runners to run in sandals.

  • A study by Rothschild reported that the running shoe has evolved considerably over the years and early humans either went from running barefoot or wore protective coverings in the form of a sandal.

Running in sandals is nothing new to human evolution and I wanted to try it.

Why the Circadian X by Earth Runners?

Forefoot running in Earth Runner Sandals

The running sandals I chose was the Circadian X  by Earth Runners because of the 6mm high performance Vibram tread and the durable yet soft lacing system which has an adjustable locking buckle to secure your foot in place.

Another intriguing element of the Earth Runner sandals was the copper inserts integrated in the sole. The copper inserts cannot be felt during walking or running, but the purpose of the inserts is to promote the flow of energy between the body and the earth, a process called grounding.

Copper conductive inserts in Earth Runner sandals
As indicated by the white arrows, the copper conductive inserts assists in the flow of energy exchange between you and the earth. Copper inserts are used in energetic healing methods to promote wellness and balance.

I have actually read reports by naturopaths and energy teachers suggesting that the earth provides a sea of antioxidants where grounding the human body into the earth supplies these antioxidants to restore balance. I thought this rationale was interesting and decided to strap on the Circadian X’s and hit the roads!

The Design

First off, when it comes to footwear, I prefer function over fashion. I dont care what the shoe looks like, as long as the shoe enables me to maintain good forefoot running mechanics. But, I did receive a lot of compliments on the sandals as they are aesthetically pleasing.

I was skeptical about the leather strap between my big and second toe in causing discomfort while running. However, I barely felt the leather strap, or the adjustable buckles as I ran and walked!

First Impression While Running

I run only in the Vibram Five Fingers (VFFs) and the Circadian X sandals are very comparable to the VFFs on a minimalist level. However, I felt more barefoot in the Circadian X sandals because my feet are fully exposed and not confined to a shoe and this is why I felt more barefooted when running.

I also noticed that my toes were more relaxed in the Circadians X sandals compared with the VFFs where each of my toes are isolated.

I ran 13 km very comfortably and smoothly in the Earth Runners sandals. I had no problems with pebbles becoming trapped between my foot and the sandal. I really liked having my feet exposed to the air instead of in a closed environment during running.

Sandals for forefoot running:  Earth Runners

I look forward to running in the Earth Runners Sandals during the spring and summer. However, I will probably wear them during the cooler months, but with thermal toe socks.

Who Should Wear The Circadian X

The Circadian X by Earth Runners would be great for newbie forefoot runners because the toes are not confined to the walls of a shoe thereby allowing the toes to spread out naturally during ground contact.

At the same time, the sole thickness and high level of durability provides a nice protective barrier for your feet. You can still feel smaller stones, but you don’t experience that ‘piercing’ sensation as you would in the VFFs.

I think any runner who is refining their forefoot strike should consider the Earth Runner sandals because the flatten, flexible sole allows for a more direct interaction with the surface which can dramatically improve your technique.

I would also recommend minimalist runners to test drive the Circadian Xs, especially those who are shifting away from the VFFs.

More From Run Forefoot:

Rothschild, C. Running barefoot or in mimalist shoes: evidence of conjecture? National Strength & Conditioning Association, 2012; 34(2):8-17.

Weinhiemer, J. The Illness That Healed Me. 2010. New York. pp 235.

Bretta Riches

"I believe the forefoot strike is the engine of endurance running..."

BSc Neurobiology; MSc Biomechanics candidate, ultra minimalist runner & founder of RunForefoot. I was a heel striker, always injured. I was inspired by the great Tirunesh Dibaba to try forefoot running. Now, I'm injury free. This is why I launched Run Forefoot, to advocate the health & performance benefits of forefoot running and to raise awareness on the dangers of heel striking, because the world needs to know.
Bretta Riches

P.S. Don't forget to check out the Run Forefoot Facebook Page, it's a terrific place to ask questions about forefoot running, barefoot running and injury. I'm always happy to help!

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