7 years + 3 different pairs: my overall EarthRunners review with style comparisons

If you’re already a barefooter or minimalist shoe wearer you’ll appreciate the importance of finding the right one, or various few, barefoot-style shoes that not only feel comfy but also last. If you’re totally new to the concept, here you’ll find an honest review of one of the longest running (pun intended!) barefoot shoes on the market and possibly some inspiration to venture into barefoot movement.

When I first transitioned from regular joggers to a more minimalist style of shoe there were hardly any brands to choose from. Now… there are loads! Brands, styles, colours, for a huge variety of uses. From sandals to snow boots and everything in between.

My first flat sole shoe was the good ol’ Dunlop Volleys! They had a reasonably wide toe box, a flat sole, were a bit bendy and definitely good quality. I wore them on long walks and while exercising, for a fair few months, which allowed my body to get used to far less padding and cushioning.

I then spent a lot more time walking and moving barefoot (at home, at parks, even at the shops sometimes) to get my feet and body stronger and more stable, and to toughen my feet up. I even started barefoot bushwalks with gravel and rock surfaces to really allow my feet to adapt to a large variety of natural surfaces and become more comfortable.

But, as I mention in my last two blog posts about going barefoot, there are situations and environments that going barefoot just isn’t do-able and I had to find a ‘barefoot’ shoe option. I chose to try EarthRunners sandals way back 7 years ago, and have been a fan ever since!

I’ve tried the three different soles they offer and different laces over those years so I want to share my honest experiences and recommendations.

In the last barefoot blog I posted with a review I had tried one thickness of sole with 100% leather laces and since then have tried two other soles, and nylon laces.

My first pair has the Circadian sole with full leather laces (which no longer exist), and multiple copper discs in the sole. The second pair had the Elemental sole style without the moisture-wicking cotton on top, with nylon laces. My current pair are the Alpha sole style and leather conductive laces. The company stopped adding multiple copper discs at one point, and realised one was enough, with conductive stitching on the laces. So the second and third pairs just had one copper disc underneath each sole, and conductive laces as opposed to 100% leather.


3 x Style Reviews

Circadian Review

Positives:

  • The sole thickness suited me well, I liked minimal material between my foot and the ground, especially for rock-hopping, balancing etc, I need my feet to grip to the surfaces as much as possible.
  • The original all-leather laces were so comfy, I loved them!
  • The moisture wicking layer underfoot was great and helped prevent my feet slipping and sliding around inside the sandal when wet

Negatives:

  • The moisture wicking wore off before the soles wore through, which made them a little slippery at that point, when wearing in wet conditions
Thickness of sole

Elemental Review

Positives:

  • The same sole thickness as the Circadian

Negatives:

  • All-nylon laces were definitely not as comfortable as the leather – they didn’t squish up and soften enough between my big and second toes and never felt quite as comfortable over the few years I wore them
  • Not having the moisture-wicking material was a downside, as I felt it provided more grip and comfort with my previous pair of sandals
Similar thickness to the first pair

Alpha Review

Positives:

  • The thicker sole may last longer than the other two pairs and not need replacing as soon (why I chose them this time around)
  • The moisture wicking fabric
  • I paid extra to get the new style of leather laces which has conductive stitching on top but leather touching the skin and I’m glad I did because, while not as mouldable and comfy as the original all-leather version, they’re much more comfortable than the completely nylon option

Negatives:

  • The sole is too thick for me. When I first started walking in them I actually felt higher up in them, I could really feel the height difference compared to the thinner soles! I’m used to that now, but when walking on rocks, balancing etc they don’t mould to my feet quite enough or allow for enough ‘feeling’ to what’s under my feet. I miss being able to feel more texture underfoot for sure
Much thicker sole

My overall verdict + style recommendation

I prefer the thinner soles, and even though the Alpha soles may last longer, it’s not worth it to me. Especially seeing as the thinner soles lasted me many years each, while wearing them MOST days and mostly on bitumen and rough natural surfaces! I believe Alpha is a good ‘beginner’ sole because it provides more cushioning. But for someone who needs to feel more and grip better with the surfaces they’re moving on and who’s feet are reasonably used to ‘barefoot’, the Circadian and Elemental are more suitable.

I suggest spending a few extra $ for the leather laces too, they are far more comfortable between the toes and even on the skin on the other parts of the foot. They do stretch a little when wet but the clip is so easy to adjust that that’s not a problem. The leather also look a little ‘nicer’ than the nylon laces, maybe not as a relaxed look about them, so fashion-wise leather could be a better option for those conscious of that!

Each pair moulds easily to the shape of the feet and lets them move quite freely but Alpha definitely don’t mould as much as fast. I can see that with their thickness and how I use them they’ll wear and thin out in certain spots underneath while the rest will stay pretty thick.

They take the shape of the foot which is how it should be

All styles are quick to get on and off. The clips, made of plastic, can break, especially if you’re adjusting the laces a lot (but the makers will send you a replacement pair pretty quickly). I generally keep mine done-up at the same spot all the time and just slip them on and off my feet, only opening the clips for when the laces get wet, a little loose, I have to tighten them slightly to be secure enough for what I’m doing, and then I need to loosen them off a bit when they dry. Other than that I don’t touch the clips.

These shoes can take a lot of beating up! I’ve put them through their paces on bushwalks (on and off tracks) with really rough surfaces, in cold conditions, in water (fresh and salt), while playing and being really active outdoors, for many days in a row while camping, walking on sharp seed pods and, of course, mostly wear them on rough bitumen roads!

I love that I’m getting the benefits of earthing while wearing shoes and protecting my feet against prickles, broken glass and any other hazards at the same time!

After 7 years and three pairs, I’m still a massive fan of EarthRunner sandals and am definitely a forever customer!

I highly recommend them to anyone who wants to become more of a barefooter or current barefooters who want a sandal that allows for grounding while being worn.

If you’re new to being barefoot, keep in mind your toe box will widen so when choosing a size ensure you account for that in terms of the width of the sandal.

View products here

If you decide to grab a pair please use our affiliate link, it provides us with a small referral fee and lets the manufacturers know where you came to them from ๐Ÿ™‚

Aimee

Primal Health Coach

Visit our website: Primal Influence | Follow us on socials: Facebook + Instagram + TikTok

Disclaimer:

This disclaimer governs your use of Under the Primal Influence Blog. By using this website, you accept this disclaimer in full. If you disagree with any part of this disclaimer, do not use Under the Primal Influence Blog or any affiliated websites, properties, or companies. We reserve the right to modify these terms at any time. You should therefore check back periodically for changes. By using this website after we post any changes, you agree to accept those changes, whether or not you have reviewed them.

All information and resources found on Under the Primal Influence Blog are based on the opinions of the author unless otherwise noted. All information is intended to motivate readers to make their own nutrition and health decisions after consulting with their health care provider. I am not a doctor, lawyer, psychiatrist, therapist, or your mother, and I donโ€™t play one on the internet.

The author of this site encourages you to consult a doctor before making any health changes, especially any changes related to a specific diagnosis or condition. No information on this site should be relied upon to determine diet, make a medical diagnosis, or determine treatment for a medical condition. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice.

NO information on this site should be used to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition.

None of the posts and articles on Under the Primal Influence Blog may be re-printed without express written permission of the author. Primal Influence will respond to written requests to re-print parts of posts and excerpts/quotes (10% or less) may be reprinted with attribution as long as all links are left intact.

๐—Ÿ๐—ฒ๐˜’๐˜€ ๐˜๐—ฎ๐—น๐—ธ ๐—ด๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐—ถ๐—ป๐˜€ + ๐˜„๐—ต๐—ฎ๐˜ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ๐˜† ๐—ฑ๐—ผ ๐˜๐—ผ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ฏ๐—ผ๐—ฑ๐˜†

A grain-based diet contributed largely to my severe poor health and chronic pain for many years. Eventually, I transitioned off of them and made it sustainable, so I’m here to help you and your family firstly understand how the staple grain foods in your kitchen are affecting your health and secondly, how to move away from them and feel better.

Wheat, corn, rice, pasta, cereals, cooking grains (barley, millet, rye, oats, etc. + pseudo grains like quinoa), and all products made with them such as bread, pasta, crackers, snack foods, cookies, cakes, lollies and many other types of processed, packaged, frozen, and fresh-baked goods.

All forms of consumed carbs are converted into glucose in the bloodstream. While whole grains and other complex carbs may burn slower than sugars, they still contribute the same, gram for gram, to total insulin production over time.

Just as a quick sugar spike is pro-inflammatory and compromises immune function, a steady insulin trip from regular meals high in complex carbohydrates is also stressful and impacts our health.

Lectins, phytates and gluten are some of the natural defences in grains that the human body does not like at all.

“๐™„ ๐™˜๐™ค๐™ช๐™ก๐™™ ๐™ฃ๐™š๐™ซ๐™š๐™ง ๐™œ๐™ž๐™ซ๐™š ๐™ช๐™ฅ ๐™—๐™ง๐™š๐™–๐™™!” do you know who said that? Clint, back before we were Paleo, in about 2010, when he ate 6-8 slices of white bread daily. But guess what? He did get off bread! It sucked at first but it got easy quickly.

Same for me with oats for brekkie. And lunch. And snacks. I was addicted to muesli and porridge. But I transitioned out of them and over a decade later am doing MUCH better without ’em!

Check out my short video on my experience with grains and how they contributed to me living for a long time in agonising pain and always being exhausted and sick.

Click here to watch

You wanna know something cool? ๐™’๐™๐™š๐™ฃ ๐™ฎ๐™ค๐™ช ๐™ง๐™š๐™–๐™ก๐™ž๐™จ๐™š ๐™ฉ๐™๐™–๐™ฉ ๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™œ๐™š๐™จ๐™ฉ๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™œ ๐™œ๐™ง๐™–๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™จ ๐™ข๐™–๐™ ๐™š๐™จ ๐™ฎ๐™ค๐™ช ๐™˜๐™ง๐™–๐™ซ๐™š ๐™œ๐™ง๐™–๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™จ, ๐™–๐™ฃ๐™™ ๐™ฉ๐™๐™–๐™ฉ ๐™ฎ๐™ค๐™ช ๐™˜๐™–๐™ฃ ๐™—๐™ง๐™š๐™–๐™  ๐™ฉ๐™๐™–๐™ฉ ๐™˜๐™ฎ๐™˜๐™ก๐™š, ๐™ž๐™ฉ’๐™จ ๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™˜๐™ง๐™š๐™™๐™ž๐™—๐™ก๐™ฎ ๐™š๐™ข๐™ฅ๐™ค๐™ฌ๐™š๐™ง๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™œ!

๐—›๐—ผ๐˜„ ๐—ฐ๐—ฎ๐—ป ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ๐˜† ๐—ฏ๐—ฒ ‘๐—ฏ๐—ฎ๐—ฑ’ ๐—ณ๐—ผ๐—ฟ ๐˜‚๐˜€ ๐˜„๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—ป ๐˜„๐—ฒ ๐—ธ๐—ฒ๐—ฒ๐—ฝ ๐—ด๐—ฒ๐˜๐˜๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐˜๐—ผ๐—น๐—ฑ ๐—ฏ๐˜† ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—บ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ๐—ถ๐—ฎ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ๐˜†’๐—ฟ๐—ฒ ๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐—น๐˜๐—ต๐˜†?!

Grains are a cheap and easy to grow ‘food’ source. They have almost no nutritional value (none that are bioavailable anyway), create excess insulin production, contain anti-nutrients that muck around with our digestive and immune function, create systemic inflammation and prevent the absorption of vitamins and minerals in the gut.

Grains have been a part of the human diet for as far back as proof exists of what humans ever ate, but grains back then were not the same as today.

Modern ‘altered’ corn
How corn used to look

Most of what we consume today is GMO (new unnatural versions), produced using chemicals and are highly processed. Ancient cultures foraged for and grew original grains native to their region and had intensive processing methods to remove most toxins. Even so, grains were never a staple, plants in general were short-term food sources in between animal kills. They complimented the main foods, not were the main foods.

The companies who make the products promoted as ‘healthy’ are the same companies who finance the nutritional advice we’re fed (pun intended!). There is plenty of scientific evidence and sound nutritional advice proving modern grains are no good for us.

Today we basically live on grains and it’s having a hugely negative impact on our health. The protein in modern grains is addictive, the other ingredients added to make ‘food’ products are also addictive and harmful, and it can be hard at first to even think about going without, let alone actually weaning off and existing without them.

๐—š๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐—ถ๐—ป๐˜€ ๐—ฑ๐—ผ๐—ป’๐˜ ๐—ต๐—ฎ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ ๐—น๐—ฒ๐—ด๐˜€ ๐˜๐—ผ ๐˜‚๐˜€๐—ฒ ๐˜๐—ผ ๐—ฟ๐˜‚๐—ป ๐—ฎ๐˜„๐—ฎ๐˜† ๐—ณ๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐—บ ๐—ฝ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐˜€

But what they do have is built-in natural defences. Toxins unsafe for humans and many other animals to consume.

๐—”๐—ก๐—ง๐—œ-๐—ก๐—จ๐—ง๐—ฅ๐—œ๐—˜๐—ก๐—ง๐—ฆ >> Agents present in grains that compromises nutritional health instead of supporting it. The 4 main anti-nutrients in regards to grains are:

Lectins
Gluten
Phytates

๐—Ÿ๐—ฒ๐—ฐ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ป๐˜€ are natural plant toxins that damage the delicate lining of the small intestine, letting undigested foreign protein particles enter the bloodstream and cause an autoimmune response – commonly known as “leaky gut syndrome”.

๐—š๐—น๐˜‚๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ป, found mainly in wheat, is a highly allergenic type of lectin. Ingestion causes a mild to severe inflammatory response in the body, compromising digestive and immune function. Many functional medical practitioners believe we can all do better off gluten.

๐—ฃ๐—ต๐˜†๐˜๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ฒ๐˜€ bind with nutrients in the digestive tract similar to how fibre does. Excess consumption can easily lead to nutrient deficiency. This is common when on a grain-based diet.

Image source: unknown

๐— ๐—ผ๐˜ƒ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐—ฎ๐˜„๐—ฎ๐˜† ๐—ณ๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐—บ ๐—ด๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐—ถ๐—ป๐˜€ ๐˜€๐—ฒ๐—ฒ๐—บ๐˜€ ๐˜€๐—ฐ๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐˜† ๐—ฎ๐˜ ๐—ณ๐—ถ๐—ฟ๐˜€๐˜ ๐—ฏ๐˜‚๐˜ ๐—ถ๐˜’๐˜€ ๐—ฑ๐—ฒ๐—ณ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ถ๐˜๐—ฒ๐—น๐˜† ๐—ฑ๐—ผ-๐—ฎ๐—ฏ๐—น๐—ฒ!

As per my video, grains contributed to my many years of experiencing terrible health and incredibly bad gut problems. Going GF absolutely did not fix my problems or make me any better because I then relied on gluten-free grain foods.

Going Paleo was what helped me overcome my health problems and chronic pain. Healing the body, feeding it bio-available nutrient-rich foods and living more naturally.

Paleo: Nutrition Experts Weigh In - Dance Informa Magazine

If you and your family is pretty addicted to and reliant upon grain foods and can’t imagine going cold turkey off of them then a good first step would be a gentle transition.

๐—ง๐—ต๐—ถ๐˜€ ๐—ฐ๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—น๐—ฑ ๐—น๐—ผ๐—ผ๐—ธ ๐—น๐—ถ๐—ธ๐—ฒ:

  • Swapping to GF breads and cereals to at least get away from gluten
  • Soaking, activating, fermenting some grains / buying soaked, activated, fermented products
  • Swapping some grain bars and snack food products to fresh fruit, GF ham, cold chicken wings, homemade gelatin lollies and hard-boiled eggs
  • Reducing the qty of grain foods each meal to smaller amounts and adding more eggs, meat and veggies to the plate (see previous posts about what grain foods actually are)
  • Using gluten-free flours and products
  • Adding in some healing and nutrient-dense foods to reduce inflammation

This could be done over the period of a couple of months with the aim of moving totally away from grains all-together. ๐™„๐™ฉ’๐™จ ๐™™๐™ค-๐™–๐™—๐™ก๐™š ๐™–๐™ฃ๐™™ ๐™จ๐™ช๐™จ๐™ฉ๐™–๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™–๐™—๐™ก๐™š, ๐™„ ๐™ ๐™ฃ๐™ค๐™ฌ, ๐™„’๐™ซ๐™š ๐™™๐™ค๐™ฃ๐™š ๐™ž๐™ฉ!

Try my recipe using Green Banana Flour
Soaking nuts can remove a lot of the toxins. Image source: Tampa Rejuvenation

The next step would be a 21-day total grain detox/primal reset and learning how to go Paleo with some initial easy transition options and then eventually consuming mostly just the optimal foods.

I wish you well on your less-grains or grain-free journey and am here if you need help or have any questions!

Aimee

Natural Fitness + Lifestyle Coaching | Visit our website: Primal Influence | Follow us on socials: Facebook + Instagram

Disclaimer:

This disclaimer governs your use of Under the Primal Influence Blog. By using this website, you accept this disclaimer in full. If you disagree with any part of this disclaimer, do not use Under the Primal Influence Blog or any affiliated websites, properties, or companies. We reserve the right to modify these terms at any time. You should therefore check back periodically for changes. By using this website after we post any changes, you agree to accept those changes, whether or not you have reviewed them.

All information and resources found on Under the Primal Influence Blog are based on the opinions of the author unless otherwise noted. All information is intended to motivate readers to make their own nutrition and health decisions after consulting with their health care provider. I am not a doctor, lawyer, psychiatrist, therapist, or your mother, and I donโ€™t play one on the internet.

The author of this site encourages you to consult a doctor before making any health changes, especially any changes related to a specific diagnosis or condition. No information on this site should be relied upon to determine diet, make a medical diagnosis, or determine treatment for a medical condition. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice.

NO information on this site should be used to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition.

None of the posts and articles on Under the Primal Influence Blog may be re-printed without express written permission of the author. Primal Influence will respond to written requests to re-print parts of posts and excerpts/quotes (10% or less) may be reprinted with attribution as long as all links are left intact.