Back in April, I was running our booth at the Adventure + Gear Expo in Utah and I realized something. When women tried on our sandals, they would gently work the straps until they were on their feet or they would ask for help if they didn’t go on smoothly. Men, on the other hand, would grab the heel strap, stick their foot where they thought it might go, and pull without mercy! This was especially the case with the Pah Tempe. It puts an exorbitant amount of pressure on the straps. We had a few people who would break the sandals just putting them on! Since then, we have changed construction inside the sandals where the straps attach so they are much tougher, but we decided that we needed some kind of quick release buckle to make this process more smooth.
The idea actually came a few years ago. I had this idea of moving the buckle on the Pah Tempe so that it was positioned on the outside of the ankle. With the tension buckles we had, I knew they would stick out at a funny angle so it was rejected. As usual, the pressure and rigors of running a small business took over anything that wasn’t immediately pressing and the idea was put away. After discussing the issue of people struggling to get the sandals on, someone said, “why don’t we try using a quick release buckle?”That simple thought changed everything.We obtained buckle samples from our supplier and decided to give it a go. I made a test pair for myself. Of course, as I always do, I made both sandals in the pair differently to see how different things would affect the performance. The left sandal never quite felt secure. Part of the reason was the buckle that we were trying. It was really cool in concept but just didn’t do the job. Eventually, I changed to a different buckle but I also decided to try using a different type of loop on the outside edge of the foot where the strap connects to the sole. I like having the sandals somewhat loose in the front as it gives my toes plenty of wiggle room and movement but some people felt like they couldn’t get the sandal secure enough in the front. I carefully performed major surgery on my sandals to change the loop over to a tension based slider. Once I was finished, I took the sandals for a little spin. My big concern was the larger hardware digging into the flesh. Other than the lump under foot that my sandal surgery had created, I was surprised that I couldn’t feel it at all. I promptly took it down a steep hill and found that the sandal without the tension loop slid forward quite a bit more than the one with the loop. I was sold. We’ve since tested it on various sizes and foot types and have had nothing but positive feedback on it.
The Pah Tempe is one of our best selling models and is the original minimalist sport sandal that doesn’t have a toe post. The basic mechanics of the sandal remain the same, but it has some very helpful upgrades! All our Pah Tempe sandals will now be made with the side release buckle and tension loop for a better performing model. To kick off the design upgrade, we’re going to put the Pah Tempe (and Sleeks) on sale for the weekend! From now through Sunday you can get them for 25% off!