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Recently I bought a pair of "running" sandals, ran in them this morning on the treadmill and really liked them. There was a nice promotional discount going on for the holidays, so I went ahead and purchased the Earth Runners Alpha Lifestyle Sandals. I was looking into these for a little over a year, and liked the concept of more airy feet and no chance of toe box constriction. These sandals also have a conductive lacing system that grounds to a copper plug through the bottom. I'm not fully sold into constantly needing to ground ourselves to the earth thing, but there is some truth to it. These won't ground on treadmill belts, so that defeats the purpose, but would do it's job when wearing outside.

They are made with Vibram outsoles, their thickest midsole (which is still thinner than most shoes), and a canvas footbed with comfortable nylon laces. These are your typical thong style sandal, with a strap in between your first and second toe, but that didn't bother my feet any. They are simple to adjust to your feet and are surprisingly comfortable, very secure, and actually is their lightest sandal due to a less dense sole (about 5.5oz each). After my first 3 mile run, the only issue was my second toe on my right foot which was rubbing on the canvas footbed, but that toe has always been prone to rubbing and blisters. After a few more runs or so, they should wear in some to become even a little more comfortable. Another great thing is no more sweaty socks and shoes to clean often. Your feet are more open, less sweat, and the sandals will keep cleaner and air out better and can be occasionally rinsed easier. Most people would not be comfortable wearing something different in public like these, but I conveniently have a treadmill at home again (did almost 10 years total in harsh winters and wind including the last 4 prior years which gets old) and wouldn't mind doing outside runs in these when it's nice out.

Another great thing about these, and something that I turned to several years ago is getting something with a zero "drop" sole (0 degree, neutral elevation from forefoot to heel), and a wide toe box. My go to regular shoes is the Altra brand, being very comfortable with these features. If I do wear anything that the heel is elevated for some hours (even casual wear), I can feel it in the front of my knees, but instantly no pain when flat. Most shoes also have a narrow toe box which squeeze your toes together and contribute to many toe disfiguring and pain issues long term. Growing up wearing conventional shoes along with big feet have unfortunately formed my small toes in closer with some curving sideways a little along with a bunion I had corrected, but can't do much about it now except wear more natural fitting foot wear that allow the toes to splay out naturally.

I've been running for 19 years, and looking back, my progression of running footwear went from regular clunky thick shoes, to several pairs of Nike frees (still have narrow toe box with some elevation), trying Vibram FiveFingers briefly (my feet never felt comfortable in them, but some love them), to Altra's (still have and will use), now to "athletic" sandals. Some people go barefoot or ultra thin sole, but that's not for me. Maybe that's why the FiveFingers were an issue with their thin sole along with aggravating my big toes no matter the size.

I'm really happy about the Earth Runners and see myself running in these until they break.