UPDATE: The Uinta is now available. Check it out on our website!
They say that there is a little truth in every joke. In our case, there was a lot of truth. It all started out as a joke between us in Unshoes workshop. The idea to create a new model like the Pah Tempe but with a loop for the toe has been knocked around here for years. I first started thinking about it about 3 years ago but didn’t do anything about it until I hacked into one of my sandals and put in a toe loop. It was OK… The problem was getting it so that the loop could be adjusted. I also wanted it to be optional. While discussing it, we started joking about what we would call it since it was essentially a combination of the Wokova design and the Pah Tempe design. We got some entertaining combinations such as the Pahkova and the Wotempe. Although everyone was joking, our production manager took it more seriously. He stopped what he was doing and made a crazy looking sandal that zig zagged over the foot like the Pah Tempe and had a main toe strap just like the Wokova that wrapped around the back of the foot. It was interesting but didn’t exactly do what he wanted. When he took his lunch break inspiration struck. He said, “I was just sitting there eating my sandwich and it all came to me!” He came back and made a very cool looking sandal that was much closer to what I envisioned in the first place. It was made with the narrower webbing that we use on our Wokova Feather sandals. The design was fairly simple and included a toe loop and straps that wrap around the back of the foot much like our Wokova/Feather models.
It was an instant hit! Everyone that saw it wanted a pair. However, there were a few technical challenges associated with the design. When I first designed the Pah Tempe model I had a similar challenge. I originally wanted the straps to wrap around the foot like the Wokova but found that the foot would “drift” forward or backward. The Uinta didn’t do it to the same degree but if we took it up a steep hill, your foot would just come right out the back of the sandal. We needed a fixed heel strap. We experimented with making it closer to the Pah Tempe but it got rather complicated quickly and became more difficult to adjust and get on/off. It took a lot of testing and prototypes but we eventually found that if we just used a heel strap from our Sleek model and actually wrapped the narrower webbing through it so that it goes around the back of the foot but also keeps the foot from drifting back, it all worked.
Because of the toe loop, the Uinta is an incredibly stable sandal making it good for rough terrain and water sports. Despite the rugged nature, it is also a very nice looking sandal that works well for both men and women. The trade off is that it is a little more difficult to get on/off. Because of that, it will be offered with a quick release buckle that can be adjusted and then quickly snapped on and off. Here is a quick overview of the pros and cons of this model.
• Stable & Rugged
• Toe strap is optional so sandals can be worn with socks if needed
• Simple to adjust
• Doesn’t slip on/off as easily as our other models
• Holds rocks and debris between foot and sole more than our other models
• Toe loop could be uncomfortable for some people
One of the big tests we ran was a backpacking trip in the High Uinta mountain range in northern Utah including a summit to Kings Peak at 13,528 ft. The Uinta mountain range is named for the Uinta tribe of Americans native to this area and fits in with our tradition of naming our sandals after Native people and places. Also, we felt that the rugged and stable design of the sandal fit the wild nature of the mountain range.
The Uinta will be available to purchase on our website by June 21st. The price is not yet finalized.