There are few experiences more primal than the feeling of the ground beneath your bare feet. Each nuance of terrain, each pitch of the planet connects with the pad of the foot for a true sense of awareness. This practice of grounding—or earthing, as it is called—has been touted as one of the most valuable lost arts of the human race.
Earthing is what the shoe company Earth Runners is all about. The mission of Earth Runners is to allow feet to function the way they were designed to move in the wild. Their U.S.-made shoes are inspired by Native American huarache sandals, and offer an experience that is as close to being barefoot as possible.
Copper inserts and conductive laces allow for electron transfer from the earth to the body; this, at its most basic, is the concept of earthing. The most common types of shoes worn today have thick, bulky soles that cut the feet off from some of the most valuable sensory information humans can receive. With Earth Runners, the feet respond to the texture of the ground with increased flexibility and muscle awareness, leading to a more stimulating and enjoyable experience overall.
Earth Runners sandals strike the perfect balance between sensitivity and security. The Vibram sole provides protection from street hazards while still offering an impressive range of flexibility. The straps hug the natural curvature of the foot, anchoring the foot to the sandal such that they feel as one. While wearing Earth Runners, it’s entirely possible to forget you’re wearing shoes.
Founder Michael Dally reached out to Paleo Magazine with an offer to fit one of us for a pair of Earth Runners. All Earth Runners sandals have a guaranteed custom-fit sole—simply follow the measuring instructions on the Earth Runners website and find your size on the corresponding measurement table. With four varieties to choose from, your choice of Earth Runners should take into account desired tread and lacing pattern.
I chose the Alpha X Earth Runners with a leather strap. After wearing my Earth Runners only a few times, I was already spoiled for other shoes. The ability to sense each muscular contraction of my lower legs, to respond to each flex and stretch of my foot against the ground, is, in a word, intoxicating. Wearing the sandals offered a sense of freedom and a feeling of confidence in my ability to meet the challenges of the natural world. In conventional shoes, communication with my environment is minimal—in Earth Runners, it is stimulating. Plus, the sandal is stylish enough to wear on casual occasions when hiking, walking or jogging isn’t on the itinerary. I’ve donned my Alpha X Earth Runners with shorts to take to a beach barbeque or with a light dress for a casual date.
This is the beauty of Earth Runners. The sandals combine modern technology with primitive engineering, thereby bridging the gap between the present and our primeval past. They look good, they feel good and most importantly, they have the capability to help us do a world of good for our bodies and minds.
As an added bonus, for every 10 pairs of Earth Runners purchased, the company donates a pair of sandals to an organization devoted to providing footwear to impoverished children in India.
For more information about Earth Runners and the benefits of earthing, or for online ordering, visit EarthRunners.com.