Home Gear Reviews Earth Runners Minimalist Running Sandals Review

Earth Runners Minimalist Running Sandals Review

by Karen Ung
Introducing Earth Runners

Earth Runners are minimalist running sandals inspired by an ancient huarache design. While the sandal design has been updated with Vibram soles, no-slip laces, and copper grounding inserts, they remain surprisingly simple, light, and comfortable. “Simplicity in the design makes for the ultimate minimalist footwear experience. The lacing system allows for maximum breathability while offering adequate security for nearly any application.” (Earth Runners)
Earth Runners Alpha X
Since the Vibram soles offer excellent traction and support, and the straps stay in place, Earth Runners may be used every day for walking, hiking, or running. They are also built to last. These high quality sandals are expected to last 400-800 miles and several happy< customers have run marathons in them. 
“Do anything while staying connected to the earth.”
What distinguishes Earth Runners from other minimalist sandals is their earthing capability. Earthing, or grounding, was a new concept to me, but I have learned that earthing shoes allow you to reap the benefits of going barefoot – getting the ground feel, sensation of wind in your toes, and health benefit of sharing the electrical potential of the earth – without exposing your feet to natural or street hazards. How do they do this? “Copper inserts and conductive laces ground you electrically by allowing electron transfer from the planet… to your body.” For more information on earthing, please read this page.

Another fantastic feature of Earth Runners is that you can customize your shoes. Options you can select for your shoes follow:

  • Thickness of tread (6 mm, 8 mm, 10 mm, or 11 mm)
  • Vibram (6 mm, 8 mm or 11 mm) or Birkenstock (10 mm only) tread
  • Bedding: select no bedding and nylon straps for vegan sandals; or select suede bedding
  • Copper inserts or not
  • Laces– leather (fully adjustable, most comfortable for every day use), nylon (fully adjustable, recommended for running), slip-on (more convenient but not as secure as nylon adjustable laces), conductive nylon/leather laces
  • Size. If your feet are an unusual size, Earth Runners will custom make you a pair of sandals! A custom foot trace is only $12 extra!

Earth Runners Gives Back

I was already in love with my Earth Runner sandals (Alpha X review follows), but loved the company even more when I saw how they give back to the global community. For every ten sandals sold, they will donate a pair to SevaSandals, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing protective footwear to children in India.

Earth Runners was founded by Michael Dally and is based in the Santa Cruz
mountains in California.
Alpha X Earth Runners Review

I have always preferred lightweight footwear, and have barefoot runners, so I was thrilled to get the chance to review Earth Runners. As soon as I opened up the package from Earth Runners, my gear hound husband said “Those are awesome!” They reminded us a lot of another brand of sports sandals which are great for paddling, but I think Earth Runners are a lot more comfortable. 
Since I have extremely sensitive skin, blister prone feet, and suffer from a condition known as shoe contact dermatitis (shoe glues or chemicals in some leathers cause severely itchy rashes), I slowly acquainted myself with my Alpha X sandals just in case. I wore them 15 minutes the first day, indoors, then wore them for an hour, and was pleased to have no reactions.  
Once our snow melted, I went hiking in my Alpha X Earth Runners. I found the sandals to be incredibly comfortable, which is amazing considering how many shoes give me blisters!

What I Like

  • The Custom molded 11 mm Vibram Woodstock tread provides plenty of cushion whether you are hiking or running.
  • Excellent traction on dirt trails; I forgot I was wearing sandals.
  • The straps are fully adjustable for a perfect fit, so there were no hot spots to cause blisters. I have worn the sandals all day and hiked several kilometres in them with no discomfort.
  • Light weight!

What I Would Like to See

  • Conductive inserts would be a nice option (they are currently not available for this model of Earth Runners).

The Verdict

I would recommend Earth Runners to anyone looking for light, comfortable, high quality sandals. You can walk, run, or hike in them in comfort. The price point is very fair considering the excellent quality! A complete pair of Earth Runners comes in at slightly less than Birkenstocks, but they offer superior fit and traction with fully adjustable straps and Vibram treads. I will be purchasing a pair of bedding-free Circadians for playing by the beach!

Where to Buy

Buy Earth Runners online here (affiliate link – I receive a small portion of sales).



I received this product for review, but all opinions are my own.

Have you tried barefoot/minimalist footwear? What do you like best about it?

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