Bridging the Gap

Back in 2009 when I first discovered the world of minimalist shoes, and huaraches specifically, I had been searching for replacement sandals. I loved the concept but there were a few things that bothered me about the huarache design. The biggest thing was the simple fact that you could only get them with laces. There were only two companies back then and they both only offered laces. Another thing that I didn’t like about them was that the laces (or straps if they had them) would make contact with the ground. Even if the sole lifted on the edges, I knew that they would wear out on the trails and rocks. Eventually, I decided to make my own pair. I began to make prototypes out of shelf foam, duct tape, and scrap webbing. To solve the problem of the strap touching the ground, I decided to simply sew a loop of webbing that went through the sole. This loop could be plasticized and reinforced where it touched the ground. The main strap would then run through that loop.

We have continued to use that method but as our little company grows that has been one of the things that has bothered me the most. The webbing is surprisingly durable but there have been times when it breaks and to be honest, it makes the sandals look home made. We believe that our sandals should not only function well, but look nice too. There are problems behind the scenes as well. The process was long and it created toxic fumes in the shop. We’ve tried various expensive adhesives to reinforce the contact points but it never really does much good. In short, it wasn’t a sustainable design. As usual, I had to try a gamut of complex solutions until I finally took a step back and looked at the simple solutions.

I’m happy to say that we have updated our design so that the straps are attached to the sole without running through the sole. No straps make contact with the ground. It may be a small development but we feel that it bridges the gap between ancient design and contemporary sport sandals. Check it out below.

Terral

New attachment system keeps straps from making contact with the ground.

Straps sit on top of sole attached by hardware.

New attachment system keeps straps from making contact with the ground.

New attachment system keeps straps from making contact with the ground.

One idea to keep the straps off the ground is to cut into the sole and countersink the strap. This would work with a thicker sole but the Feather sole is only 5mm thick. The hardware we use only needs 1mm to counter sink.

Pah Tempe (PT) sandal with 8mm Newflex and cork footbed.

Pah Tempe (PT) sandal with 8mm Newflex and cork footbed.

New attachment system keeps straps from making contact with the ground.

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About unshoes

Creator and designer of Unshoes minimal footwear.
This entry was posted in design, fashion, news and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Bridging the Gap

  1. Oh, I can’t wait for springtime. I wish I had found your site 3 years ago. I do mostly barefoot style shoes, but have had the hardest time finding cute sandals for the summer.

  2. Mike says:

    Wow, that’s an interesting solution. It seems like one of those solutions that’s so simple you wonder how you never thought of it before. I’ll have to order a pair of Pah Tempes some time this winter and have ’em ready for spring.

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