Earth Runners Circadian

Published by RunningPoint on Friday, 26 Sep 2014 10:56 EDT

Earth Runners Circadian

I have a confession to make. I hate shoes and have for the majority of my years on this planet. Until about 4 years ago, I drank the Kool-Aid that life outside of my home or casual situations required some sort of formal foot covering. This even intruded into my inner-sanctum of me time, the gym and running. I spent my life at home barefoot, and my casual life in a mixture of discount store flip flops, Teva, Chaco, or Birkensock sandals and for the life of me couldn't figure out why. I did some online research (OK I really just Googled “cheap minimal footwear”) and found the magically blossoming world of huaraches. I ditched the gym when they wouldn't allow me in the door without a shoe, and I trashed the running shoes to embark on the much hyped and tirelessly discussed transition to “barefoot” running and never looked back.

Now, you may be asking yourself, “Why am I being told a story when I came to read a review?” Why? Because I need you to understand that I now live in huaraches. I wear them everywhere I go that requires the soles of my feet to be covered. I wear them 10 months a year (minimum), I stand at a standing desk at work 40+ hours a week in them, I play in the yard in them, I run in them, I go to the store in them, etc. If there is one thing I know, it's a good pair of huaraches and that is exactly what I have found in the Earth Runners Circadian.

Earth Runners LogoI was introduced to Earth Runners when I set out on a quest to find a sandal that was not only functional, but was a bit more formal looking. I am lucky enough to have a job where I can wear huaraches to work, but I can't really get away with tying an old tire to my foot with some hemp rope. I had run the gamut of the larger sandal companies looking for something more formal that was still true to the form of a minimal sandal and was not having a lot of success. Some offerings were too expensive, some were too traditional (leather or hemp lace), and some were just too rugged looking. Earth Runners hit a perfect balance for me on all fronts, and I was extremely excited when they agreed to send me a pair of their Circadian model with an extra bonus. Earth Runners specializes in making “Earthing” shoes which use copper contacts through the sole to literally ground your body to the earth and allow for a flow of energy from the earth to your body.

Earth Runners CircadianI ordered my pair of Circadians with the 6mm Vibram sole (standard), brown leather footbed (optional for $10), conductive inserts (optional for $14), and conductive lacing (optional for $7) off of the Earth Runners website using their excellent templates to find just the right size for me. The printable, true to size sandal template is one of the greatest revolutions in footwear and I noticed right away that Earth Runners included a little bit extra on their template by showing me the actual locations of the copper conductive inserts. The part that grabbed me right away was the fact that the majority of the inserts were laid out upon a Fibonacci Spiral. For those of you not aware of the Fibonacci Spiral or Golden Ratio, it's basically a bunch of fancy math that recurs in nature at an uncanny rate (I will leave you all to do your own research because it's utterly fascinating). Also, the central foot insert is placed approximately under a major acupuncture point “Kidney 1”.

As I waited impatiently for my sandals to arrive in the mail, I decided to delve a little deeper into the concepts behind “Earthing”. The Earth Runners site has a great section dedicated to the ideas behind and the benefits of Earthing and there is plenty of evidence elsewhere on the internet both supporting and debunking the concept. I spent a lot of time reading and forming my own opinions and I arrived at the conclusion that I can see no drawback to grounding myself to the earth whenever possible and if I get some positive health benefits from it, I am overjoyed.

Earth Runners CircadianWhen the Circadians arrived, I was delighted to see that they were simply shipped in a USPS mailer and were rubber-banded together with an invoice and a “getting started” printout on how to adjust the laces and ensure they are correctly routed. The first thought to cross my mind was “Wow, these are the nicest pair of huaraches I have ever laid my hands on!” The Vibram soling material is robust and widely used in the industry, the leather is flawlessly attached to it, the conductive nylon laces are substaintial yet flexible, the conductive inserts have been laid in with care and are smooth to the touch, and the ankle straps are held on with a metal connector riveted through the footbed. These sandals are built to last and are very pleasing to the eye. It took me all of about 30 seconds per sandal to get them on my feet and adjusted thanks to the instructions and the very handy latch. Right away they felt like old friends. In fact, I have worn them every day since and they have become my only casual huarache.

Earth Runners CircadianThe ground feel of the Vibram 6mm sole was a bit muted at first, but over time the Circadians have broken in and molded to my foot. I can now feel just as much of the ground as I had grown accustomed to in thinner sandals and I hardly notice any difference at all. The tread pattern is very grippy, and I feel sure-footed on any terrain. The leather footbed is extremely comfortable and allows for a rather posh experience when compared to a sandal with a naked top. I love the leather for casual wear, but found that when I tried to run in the Circadians I missed the connection I was accustomed to with a naked top.

One of the biggest questions I get from people is “Do you feel the conductive inserts when you walk?” Answer: No. I can't even tell they are there. There is a slight dimple on the top of the insert (which I assume is to promote contact), but I get zero sensation that there is anything there other than the leather footbed. The follow-up question is usually “Do they work?” This is a tough one to answer. Yes, they work as an extremely high quality, comfortable all-around sandal. Yes, there is empirical evidence that the conductive inserts do, in fact, allow the wearer to be grounded to the earth and allow for a transfer of energy. Do I feel different after almost 2 months of wearing them 7 days a week? I don't know. I can tell you that my mind is open and willing to believe that something so simple as opening a deeper connection with the planet we live on can and will improve my health, and there have been no detrimental effects.

If you are in the market for a pair of huaraches that are made of high quality materials, reasonably priced, and are extremely easy to wear then certainly put the Earth Runners Circadian at the top of your list. If you aren't into the Earthing aspect, you can order a pair without any conductive inserts or lacing. No matter what combination you choose, I am 100% comfortable saying that you will receive a pair of huaraches that will stand the test of time and almost certainly become one of the most worn sandals in your collection.

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