Monday, January 19, 2015

Review/Giveaway: Earth Runners Earthing Sandals


Most of us probably have fond memories of running around barefoot when we were children. Despite the occasional impalement on a hidden sharp thing, the joy of the direct contact with grass and earth is hard to pass up.

As grown-ups, that feeling is hard to recapture. Grown-up feet can be sore and tender, no longer comfortable without the sole of a shoe between our skin and the ground. Many of us don’t even go barefoot inside at home, let alone in the yard.

Earth Runners claims to be the solution—they are minimalist sandals, basically just a sole and a strap. In addition, they are earthing shoes, featuring conductive straps and copper inserts in the soles to connect you to the subtle electrical currents of the earth, something that happens naturally when you are barefoot.

THE SHOES

We’ll get back to the earthing later. First, let’s look at the shoes themselves. Earth Runners feature Vibram soles and come in four models: Circadian, Circadian X, Alpha and Alpha X. The Alphas have slightly thicker soles, while the Circadians have more inserts touching the ground.

When you order, use the sizing guidelines on the website. You may find that your size in Earth Runners is not the same size you would look for in regular shoes. In my case, I ordered a full size smaller than I normally wear. I think I probably should have gone a half-size bigger, but still smaller than my usual size. 

Measure your larger foot and use the site’s conversion chart to determine your size, then download and print the corresponding template to double-check. If your feet don’t really fit the standard sizes, Earth Runners can customize a pair for you based on a tracing of your feet.

Earth Runners provided me the Alpha X model, which has the thickest sole of the line, at 11mm. (What can I say, I’m a tenderfoot.) This model starts at $72, with the potential to go to $84 depending on which laces you choose. (The least expensive model, the Circadian sandal with a 6mm sole, starts at $55.)


They took a little getting used to, only because it’s been a long time since I’ve worn sandals of any kind. After a short time of wearing and walking in them, though, they came to feel comfortable.
The shoes are very well made. The soles are good, solid Vibram rubber, and the laces are secure and comfortable. The sandals will stay on your feet with minimal slippage.

I found the thong between my big and second toes to be somewhat abrasive, but this is an issue for me with all sandals of this type, nothing specific to the Earth Runners. The company also sells conductive toe socks that can mitigate this problem without interfering with the earthing ability, but even a pad placed between the toes will work.  Their socks also allow the wearer to comfortably wear the sandals under cold weather conditions.

While the sandals were comfortable and useful, I didn’t really feel like I was barefoot. However, I had the thickest sole the company offers, and I can see that the thinner soles on the Circadian model would be less noticeable when walking outside.

The sandals, all made in Santa Cruz, California, are simple and effective in design, and well-made.


HEALTH BENEFITS

Here is where Earth Runners enters controversial territory.  The theory behind earthing (also known as grounding) is that living indoors and wearing conventional shoes outdoors disconnects the body from the electrical flow of the Earth. We live in a sea of electromagnetic frequencies from our many devices, but not the natural electrical flow of the environment. (For example, as I write this I am awash in radio signals, my WiFi network’s energy and the frequencies put out by the TV and computer. I am sitting in a chair in a room that is probably two feet above the surface of the Earth.)

The natural energy of the Earth is called the Schumann resonance energy and, according to the claims of earthing proponents, the alpha waves of our brains resonate at the same frequency, implying that we evolved relying on this energy as well as the more obvious light and dark cycle to regulate biological processes.

Earthing is simply restoring the connection between the body and the ground. Barefoot is best, but earthing shoes are claimed to be able to restore that connection while protecting the feet from injury and discomfort. EarthRunners has a YouTube video comparing some electrical measures between a barefoot person and a person wearing their sandals that I found helpful to understanding the theory.


To its credit, Earth Runners stays away from the grandiose claims that some makers of earthing accessories make. Nowhere on its site will you find claims of miracle cures or instant pain relief. Some other proponents are less restrained.

I was limited in my ability to wear these shoes outside due to the cold mid-Atlantic winter weather. I plan to try them again when the weather warms up, but for now I can’t report any noticeable physiological changes. However, I especially would like to try meditating outdoors with my feet on the ground, something that near-freezing (and often, sub-freezing) air doesn't encourage. 

The question remains, though: Is there anything to earthing at all? To answer this question, I turned to my go-to source of information on alternative medicine, Dr. Andrew Weil. What I learned is, some preliminary research shows that reconnecting to the natural frequencies of the Earth may indeed have some effects on a person's physiology, but very little objective research has been done so far. You can read Dr. Weil’s full assessment here.

My overall conclusion is that these are nicely made, comfortable sandals that may provide some beneficial qualities over and above the pleasure of being able to safely go almost-barefoot.  It can't hurt, and it might help!

Earth Runners Website
Earth Runners on Facebook


As a special treat for RCH Reviews readers, Earth Runners is giving away one pair of sandals. The winner can choose the desired model and features, making the value of this giveaway variable. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.

To enter the giveaway, leave a comment in this entry as instructed by the Rafflecopter, then leave the name you commented under and your email in the box in the Rafflecopter entry. (This allows us to contact you if you win!)  This will open up additional optional entries to increase your odds of winning.

This giveaway is open to US RESIDENTS ONLY 
and will end just before midnight ET on 2-2-15. 

The winner will be notified by email within 24 hours after the end of the giveaway.  In order to claim the giveaway prize, the winner will need to respond within 24 hours of notification, or an alternate winner will be selected.

Good luck everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

http://rchreviews.blogspot.com/p/hops.html



                     

52 comments:

  1. I love the minimalist look of these sandals. They look comfortable and durable as well.

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  2. Super adorable.... I especially love the leather ones!

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  3. I love that earth runners donates a pair with every 10 bought! Giving back makes me more inclined to purchase!

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  4. I have heard of earthing, but I learned that the resonance frequency has a name, the Schumann resonance. Very interesting!

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  5. As someone who long ago gave up thong style sandals due to that abrasiveness, I really love that they also sell conductive socks!

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  6. People with more barefoot experience enjoy the intimate experience offered by our Circadian while those new to barefoot find our Alpha X offers the most protection.

    This is a fascinating concept.

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  7. I actually love that they have different shoes to get you the closest to nature as possible. The ones at the bottom Alpha X are really interesting.

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  8. love the alpha runners love to win a pair of these love the natural colors also. thankyou, ken pohl19@comcast.net

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  9. I love the Alpha Runners! Thank you for the wonderful giveaway.
    Erin

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  10. I like that they have different shoes for what you would be comfortable with to get as close to nature as possible. I would be really interested in the Alpha X, since I hardly ever go barefooted. (Tammy Horn)

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  11. i love how totally customizable this is. interesting!
    b

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  12. I've been wanting to get a pair of Earth Runners, for grounding purposes.

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  13. I learned that Our new wool socks allow you to not only survive during the winter, but thrive!

    We now offer the perfect complement to our sandals to keep your feet warm during the colder months. The unique Merino wool blend offers superior thermo-regulating properties without sacrificing performance.

    Available in conductive and non-conductive options:

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  14. I'm not sure I would run in them, but I would be curious to see if the model with the conductive inserts actually makes a difference in general.

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  15. I was intrigued to learn that their sandals were inspired by Native American huarache running sandals

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  16. I really like that they donate one pair for every ten sold!

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  17. I like the leather ones and would really love to try a pair of these. thanks for the great giveaway!

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  18. I have heard lots of good things about tear and would love to give them a try! I also like that the socks are available, Minnesota winters can get a little chilly!!

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  19. I love that these shoes are like walking barefoot, but still offer protection to your feet. I'd like to try the Circadian X sandals.

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  20. What I learned about Earth Runners is that when you wear them your feet are functioning closest to how they are naturally designed, and that's barefoot. My feet have always feel most comfortable when I was barefoot.

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  21. I love that they sell wold socks with a split toe area. Great idea!

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  22. I love that they donate. Love companies that give back.

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  23. I would want a pair of the Tabi wool socks to go with them.

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  24. How nice, I really like the Our Alpha X Earth Runners, to provide protection for my feet with the custom tread and the lace system with the locking buckle to provide a secure fit, these are really nice and it would be great to feel like going barefooted with more protection to my soles of my feet and improve my ambulatory status

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  25. I like the Injinji Wool Socks because it keeps a person's feet warmer in winter while wearing the Earth Runners.

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  26. I am a barefoot person and would absolutely love to have a pair of these. I learned that their copper inserts and conductive laces ground you electrically by allowing electron transfer from the planet – direct to your body.
    heymissvirginia at embarqmail dot com

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  27. I love their toe-d socks in merino wool. I may have to get the Tabi Wool Socks; they look very warm.

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  28. Id love the circadian x with the tabi wool socks! its like the perfect spring pairing!

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  29. I grow up in West Virginia, so I'm a bare foot girl when possible. I would love win a pair of the leather sandals. Looks like they would be perfect to walk in to or a backyard BBQ. Thanks for sharing.

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  30. I'm in Ohio and cant wait till spring arrives with warmer weather. These look very nice for that time of year.

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  31. I love that they donate sandals to children in India!

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  32. Wow, so much more to think about. I usually just buy what's on sale. Thanks for sharing and linking up to Scraptastic Saturdays.

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  33. These really look fabulous! Thanks for sharing them with SYC.
    hugs,
    Jann

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  34. These are really intriguing. They would be great for when I go hiking.

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  35. I will be studying abroad soon and am super interested in having a comfortable, functional, and wellness compatible sandal option.

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  36. These are so cool! I've never seen anything like them! (:

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  37. These are great beach wearing sandals. I love the controversy. Something to look at more closely.
    Thanks for linking up at the #BestofTheBlogosphere

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  38. i like that they are custom molded,,great idea for sandals i think!

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  39. I love the Mold Ability of these sandals.

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  40. I love to be barefoot! So these look very comfy!!! I love how they are customizable too

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  41. I like the black Alpha Earth Runners.

    Desiree Dunbar
    desireedunbar@hotmail.com

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  42. I like the alpha x runners and that they have a 30 day guarantee.

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  43. My feet would feel so good in those sandals They kinda remind me of the hippie days when I was young and wanted to just be free to be me.

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  44. These sound like great sandals. I have been wanting to try out a pair of earth sandals. I am into Chakra Healing and Balancing, and I believe in staying grounded to Earth. These sound like the perfect sandal for that.

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  45. I like the style of these! thanks for the review.

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  46. I would love to try their Injinji Wool Socks

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  47. I love that the shoes are designed to feel like you are barefoot and supports the natural shape of the foot.

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  48. I really would love to try a pair of these sandals. I also like the Injinji Wool Socks. I think they look super comfy.

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  49. I learned that they have a 30 day guarantee. I love a company that gives you a solution if you have a problem with the product.

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