Getting the most out of your Feathers

Wokova Feather sandal for trail runningOur Wokova Feather model is our lightest and most flexible sandal we have to offer. Of course no shoe or sandal can be exactly like going barefoot but the Feather model is pretty darn close! Unfortunately the super light weight and flexibility come with a compromise. This model is also our least durable. We do everything we can to make sure that we have very durable sandals and that they last as long as possible for our customers. Despite this, things sometimes happen. We want to give you some tips on how to get the most out of your Feather sandals.

Tip 1: Use the bungie!
Once the sandal is set to a tension and tightness that is desired they can be slipped on and off. Because many people like to wear them somewhat tight there is a considerable amount of tension put on the straps. While the straps are not going to break, the sole is so light it could weaken it at the points where they are attached. Put the sandal on carefully and use the bungie loop to stretch so that they go on easier. Using the bungie will help the attachment points of the straps/soles to last longer.

Tip 2: Keep it cool.
The Vibram Newflex sole is what is considered an expanded rubber. It has recently been discovered that if they are left in excessive heat they will warp and  if left in a car in the heat for long periods of time they will shrink when they cool. I recently took my Feathers on a trip to Southern California where the temperatures got up to 113°F. I wore them all over and never had a problem. If I left them sitting out in the sun for long periods of time it would have caused a problem.

Tip 3: Tighten up.
If you’re using them for casual wear, it’s fine to wear them a little bit looser but don’t let them get too loose. If you’re running, I recommend tightening them well enough that they don’t move around at all. You want them to hug your feet. First of all this will give you the best gait. If they are flopping around then it can drive you nuts and actually change the way you run (and will reduce the chance of getting blisters). The reason this helps the durability is that if you suddenly stop for some reason or if you slip, etc. your foot may pull on the sandal harder than normal. If there is room for your foot to move around it will jar the strap. It’s the same concept as hitting a hammer with a nail. If you were to just hold the hammer up to the nail and push on it, it most likely won’t go into the wood. If you give it a good smack it will go in.

Tip 4: Zig Zag
When running downhill (especially on the trails) try to zig zag or switch back to brake. If you’re constantly putting on the brakes and you feel a lot of pressure between your toes, chances are you are pulling too hard on the straps. With enough pressure, over time the counter plug could pull through or even tear the sole. It’s also much more comfortable between the toes!

We have recently changed the way the strap between the toe is attached. The notch where the counter plug sits is more shallow and thus stronger. It is also round. While the knotless design is now flaunted by most huarache companies, Unshoes was actually the first to start without a knot under-foot. We originally folded the strap into the sole where it was plasticized and glued in. That worked better than a knot but we had to cut pretty deep into the sole and sometimes it would tear through the top of the sole. Now we use a round counter plug which is better because it doesn’t catch and it doesn’t matter so much if the adhesive fails. It is much stronger but it’s best to avoid excess pulling.

We hope you all enjoy your Feather sandals and that they can last many miles and adventures! If you have suggestions on the sandal, we are always open to feedback.

About unshoes

Creator and designer of Unshoes minimal footwear.
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5 Responses to Getting the most out of your Feathers

  1. unshoes says:

    Susan, that was going to be our next blog post! :) In short you need to cut the strap with either a very sharp pair of scissors or a razor blade then carefully heat the end with a lighter until the edge melts slightly. That will keep it from fraying.

    Tom, unfortunately we can’t predict and warn customers of every danger but this happened to a customer recently and we thought we would pass it on. It seems to only happen to certain soles.

  2. Tom says:

    Kudos to Unshoes for pointing out the warping/shrinking problem with the Newflex rubber! This happened to my homemade huaraches last week, and I posted the problem on Barefoot Ted’s huarache forum. I’m glad you guys are passing the warning onto your customers :-)

  3. Susan says:

    This is sort of off topic, but do you have any recommendations for methods to cut off excess strap length?

  4. unshoes says:

    If you want the Feather strap setup but need a more durable sole we have used a 6 or 10mm sole for custom orders and received good feedback on these combinations.

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