The basic concept at the heart of Unshoes designs is the dynamic mix between ancient huarache type designs and contemporary sport sandals. The idea is to take the best of both worlds. We have been happy to offer a huarache inspired minimalist sandal that keeps the straps up off the ground. We used screws to attach the straps to the top of the soles. They worked great at first but we found that they were prone to coming unthreaded or ripping out of the sole. We made the switch to rivets which have held up much better than the screws. However, there was still one big thing that never sat right with us. It was the fact that this design narrowed the area of the sole more than we would have liked. Especially with the Wokova and PT Sleek models. The straps are pretty thick and it makes a “lump” that could be rather uncomfortable if you stepped on it. Meanwhile, we’ve been testing a myriad of non-slip surfaces to add to the soles to keep them from being so slippery. The bare, smooth rubber tends to get slippery when wet. We got samples of many different materials and tested them.
While working on these issues, we discovered that we could solve both issues with one solution. Our favorite footbed was EVA foam stamped with a texture. EVA is surprisingly durable and comfortable. It adds a little thickness to the overall sole but still allows good ground feel and flexibility. It also molds to the foot with use like the soles.
This design maximizes the area that the foot has on the sole because the straps wrap up and around the foot. This is especially nice for the Pah Tempe and PT Sleek models. It also makes the sandals look more professional and dramatically increases the durability of the sandals. The texture grips the foot better but since the material is soft, it doesn’t hurt the foot or create hot spots like some of the non-slip surfaces we tested. The two potential drawbacks (depending on your perspective) is that it adds a little bit of thickness to the sole and it also adds a little weight. Despite the extra material, the sandals are still incredibly light weight.
Because of the extra room this creates on the sole, we are in the process of modifying the sizing templates. The templates will be the same but slightly narrower in the heel area since the new system creates so much more room. The image below is a tight tracing of my foot in the template that fits me best.
The gray outline is the current sole templates and the red line shows the differences that will be made. The changes to the templates accommodate the new system but if you have already chosen a template, they sandals should still fit without problems. The strap on the outside of the sole on my Wokova bothered my feet before, I changed to the new design and those straps are perfectly comfortable now. The new design is available immediately, however, we are still working on the templates. They will be updated on our website soon.