Review: Earth Runners Circadian with Conductive Laces and Circadian Slip-On
The latest update to the Circadian from Earth Runners and its casual slip-on version are excellent huaraches for a variety of activities (See my previous 2014 review of the Alpha X and Circadian X)
With the 2015 update, the Circadian gets a revised strapping system and conductive nylon laces. These updates have catapulted the Circadian to the status of one of the best running sandals on the market.
The Circadian slip-on features an elastic ankle strap that is very comfortable and almost unnoticeable on your foot, making it a fantastic casual sandal.
Read on to hear my thoughts on the Circadian and Circadian Slip-on from Earth Runners!
About the Earth Runners Circadian with Conductive Laces and Circadian Slip-On
Here's what Earth Runners says about the Circadian with Conductive Laces and Circadian Slip-On:
Earth Runners combine ancient design with modern manufacturing to create the ultimate sandal experience. Lightweight and durable in design our sandals are built to hold up in all outdoor applications for years to come.
Our Circadian Earth Runners features a custom molded 6mm high performance Vibram tread that offers the closest thing to going barefoot. Our signature lacing system features a locking buckle that combines adjustability and comfort into a free and easy ride.
Earth Runner’s barefoot technology allows for energy flow between the foot and earth. Both our copper inserts and conductive laces ground you electrically by allowing electron transfer from the planet – direct to your body.
All our sandals are made in a small factory in the Santa Cruz mountains.
Weight — 3.6 oz (Mens size 9)
Total Stack Height — 6mm Vibram sole (Circadian)
Other models include the previously reviewed 8mm Circadian X (Vibram Gumlite), 10mm Alpha (Vibram Woodstock), and 11mm Alpha X (Vibram Woodstock). All of these sole options can be ordered with a Slip-on style, leather straps, or the new conductive nylon straps.
Barefoot Scale — The 6mm Gumlite sole provides excellent feedback and flexibility for dedicated runners and new runners alike!
Ideal Uses — Great for road running, variable trails, camping, hiking, and general use.
- The Circadian provides excellent stability with the revised strapping system
- Gumlite sole provides good traction for trails and smooth landings for road running
- One of the most customizable strap systems on a huarache
- Slightly molded heel and strike area feels great
- Made in the USA
- The Slip-on’s toe middle strap cannot be adjusted
- The Circadian’s adjustability can take a while to find the sweet spot
- Metal conductive points may scratch hardwood floors, but their edges quickly dull through use.
Earthing — Earth Runners is well-known running as being a shoe company that utilizes and advocates Earthing and Grounding as a part of their sandal design. Here’s what Earth Runners has to say about their sandals.
Earth Runners give you that satisfying ”ground feel”, while offering both protection and comfort in a great fitting sandal. What distinguishes Earth Runners from other minimalist sandals is our original design that allows you to absorb the ever-present subtle electrical energies of the earth: this provides an experience similar to going barefoot, while still enjoying a measure of safety from varied terrains or street hazards.
I cannot really provide my thoughts to the concept of earthing and will review these sandals in terms of design, materials, and execution.
For the record, I am not a proponent or believer of earthing or grounding. However, I am a proponent of the power of the human body and its ability to perform amazing feats of strength and endurance, which is why I am an advocate of minimalism and barefoot running. Of course, while we all know of the potential benefits of ditching your shoes, this can be a leap of faith for some, requiring a grain of salt and the will to be open to different ways of thought. Indeed, everyone is different and minimalist running is not THE answer for everyone, but it a means to find the truth in understanding our biology, history, and culture, both modern and ancient. Regardless of your feelings on earthing, this review aims to review the Circadian from Earth Runners based on their merit as tools for running. However, if you are a major proponent in grounding, the fact that these sandals perform so well is an additional icing on the cake!
The Circadian with Conductive Laces:
The Circadian Slip-On:
The Earth Runners Circadian range of sandals use a Vibram Gumlite Sport Utility sole.
According to Vibram’s sole catalog, “VIBRAM® Gumlite® Unit Soles have the wear characteristics of rubber, yet are half the weight. Maintains its slip resisting characteristics in cold temperatures and on wet surfaces.”
You can read more about Vibram soles in the Birthdayshoes Vibram Sole Guide.
The Bedrock Earthquake 2.0 sandals use the same 6mm Vibram Gumlite sole as prior versions of Bedrock sandals in the past. Gumlite is a foam/rubber blend. The foam gives the soling material some give when pressed down upon, but not so much that it becomes squishy.
It’s a great “all-around” sole for running sandals. Good on asphalt, logs, rocks, you name it!
Many users will recognize this sole as the “nubby” sole with tons of little pegs in the bottom to help you move in messy conditions.
This gumlite sole is very flexible and can be easily rolled up in any direction (baller!). It moves with your foot and does not dictate how your foot lands when running, which is what a minimalist shoe should do—provide some protection and little else. While you can order other models from Earth Runners (the main difference among them is the choice of sole and strap materials), I highly recommend the Circadian’s 6mm sole for running and all-around minimalist enjoyment. There is plenty of groundfeel with this model, which will help train your running form and cadence. The Gumlite sole transfers more information than 6mm Morflex sole, so rough landings are a bit more jarring and rocks are more painful.
The Circadians can handle just about anything you throw at them. They are smooth enough for road running, provide enough traction for dirt and debris, and are slip-resistant for wet and muddy conditions.
In terms of weight, the Circadian sandals are below average at 3.6 oz and you will barely notice them on your feet.
All sandals from Earth Runners have a slightly molded shape at the heel, strike area, and arch. This molding is VERY subtle but makes the sandals more comfortable and secure. It does not provide arch support or anything of that sort. Instead, your foot is just cradled ever so slightly.
My feet are actually quite flat and this molding fits my heel and arch quite perfectly, so the amount is subtle to say the least, but a welcome feature.
I think that more manufacturers should incorporate slightly molded designs into their models. As an additional benefit, the sole more readily molds to your food when it has already be compressed upon arrival. Xeroshoes also does slight molding with their Feeltrue models.
Most sandals are made with a flat slab of sole material as the base and will slowly conform to your foot over time. Depending on materials and sole thickness, this process can take anywhere between your first run to a couple of weeks. In any case, I think that having the sole pre-molded makes a difference in running security and slappiness.
In terms of slapping, the Circadians are a very silent sandal. Some huaraches are “slappier” than others and that is mostly based upon the choice of materials and construction. With a proper running form--landing below the center of gravity, bent knees, and light forefoot or midfoot strikes--makes a big difference in how loud your running can be. It’s not as quiet as other sandals with, say, a Morflex sole, but is quieter than most huaraches on the market because of the molded sole and the very customizable straps.
Earth Runners has standard sizing options and a single foot shape/template. This shape has a wide toe splay area and should fit most runners. Like many running sandal makers, Earth Runners provides PDFs of their various sizes for customers to print, lay on the floor, and test out with their own feet.
I have notoriously wide feet, but the fit from the Earth Runners general template is just about perfect for my feet.
Overall, the shape is wider than Xeroshoes and Bedrock sandals, but a little less wide than Shamma Sandals (also located in Santa Cruz, CA). Overall, the shape is very similar to the template I used for Unshoes (wide splay, short toes).
If need be, especially if you have narrower toesplay, you can snip the edges with kitchen shears.
Fit and Materials
The two models I am reviewing have the same Vibram Gumlite sole and are differentiated by their strap designs and purpose.
The Circadian has new conductive laces and is for running, trails, and active fun, while the slip-ons are for casual use--both feature the same Vibram Gumlite sole.
Like previous versions of Earth Runners sandals, the circadian strap system allows for a extra security while running. Many huaraches form a straight Y-shape from the toe post, which wraps around the sides of the sole and around the back of heel, forming a wide V on both sides of the sandal.
The new conductive nylon laces feature a soft tubular 1/2" nylon webbing, which is more streamlined and forgiving than the 5/8" flat nylon webbing of the past. These new conductive nylon laces come in three color choices: red (as reviewed), blue and black.
Earth Runners, on the other hand, use a single continuous strap that wraps around the top of the foot and loops around to form the same two V’s on the sides of the sandal. This strapping system actually helps keep your foot planted to the sandal more than the traditional Y-shaped strapping system of many other running sandals.
Following the straps with your eyes, it is clear that Earth Runners have a very unique, simple, and secure strap design.
Unshoes’ Wokova and Wokova Feather also feature a single-loop, wide arched strap design for security and speed. The Wokova is a fantastic sandal design with excellent durability, comfort, and stability, but the Earth Runners Circadian is easier to adjust thanks to its side-mounted buckle and sole-mounted anchor points, allowing for independent adjustments in three places:
1)The length of strap that runs from the toe post to the outside of the foot
2) The strap over the top of your ankle
3) The rear heel strap.
In contrast, the Wokova’s top-mounted strap and lifted anchoring points does not allow for the same level of micro-adjustments. When you tighten the buckle in the Wokova, the entire sandal is tightened as a single unit, while the Circadian can do individual adjustments for multiple sections of the sandal.
The only issue I have with the strapping system is that the wide travel of the straps from the toe post to just below the rest of my toes was a bit uncomfortable for me, but after playing around with the tension of the straps, I was able to dial in a more comfortable fit by independently loosening the toe post strap, while tightening the other strap sections. This level of adjustability and customization is something you simply cannot do in a lot of running sandals.
Because you have so many adjustability options, it can take a little longer to dial in the right fit as you would with other sandals with fewer adjustment points. For example, when I received my Jerusalem Cruisers from Shamma Sandals, I quickly pulled the velcro strap and got moving, while it took me about 10 minutes to get it right on each foot with the Circadian—but I am somewhat OCD about my fit, so your adjustment period may vary.
Earth Runners changed the anchoring design with the new Circadians. Like many sandals, the Circadian is directly anchored to the sole along the sides, which loops underneath the foot. Newly updated for this year, the Circadian’s interior anchoring point was moved inwards to create a tighter fit around the ankle (specifically, the navicular and cuboid bone).
This makes a big difference during movement and makes for a very secure sandal as the straps are anchored much closer to your actually foot, rather than two points on the outside of the sandal. This is the point where the foot is at its narrowest.
For Earthing fans, the nylon conductive laces feature a double stitch of conductive thread up the entire length of the lace. These laces attach to a copper plug on the bottom of the sandals for grounding.
The Circadian sandals come with a extra “slack” in their straps, which is very accommodating for just about any foot shape. I just dialed I the right fit, clicked the buckle, cut out the excess with kitchen scissors, and sealed the frayed bits with a match. Instant super adjustability with excellent running sandals!
The Slip-On was a huge surprise for me. It looks more like a traditional flip flop with a straight toe strap, but features a dual-looped and buckled elasticized ankle strap. This strap is very comfortable and has a lot of give to it, while the main center strap is traditional nylon that does not stretch like the ankle section. The center strap is looped to the ankle section and can be shifted in its angle to the left or right for added comfort.
While it has the same excellent Gumlite sole as the standard Circadian, the stretchy collar of the Slip-On is a bit too forgiving for running. For this reason, it’s definitely more of a casual sandal that you can wear for slower-paced adventures.
The elasticized strap makes the sandal almost invisible on your foot, but your enjoyment of the Slip-On may depend on how your individual foot shape. The main strap is a fixed length and cannot be adjusted and it’s a little too wide for my tastes, but you can give a small twist to the copper ground plug to to angle the strap slightly sideways for more comfort if the width of the strap is an issue. However, this is a minor issue and did not diminish my enjoyment of the Slip-on.
Overall, the Slip-on is an excellent sandal for everyday wear.
The Earth Runners Circadian has been updated with a revised strap anchor and new conductive straps for 2015. With these updates, the fit is now one of the most customizable of any running sandal and the anchoring points make for a tighter fit than with side-mounted sandals. You can independently adjust the sandal in multiple places with these straps, making these one of the most secure running sandals in the world.
In my opinion, the Circadian is the best model in Earth Runners catalog.
The Slip-ons are the opposite of the Circadian. They are elasticized around the ankle and very comfortable for wear around town.
With these latest models and updates, Earth Runners have leapfrogged many other huarache makers for customers that are nit-picky about their fit. Definitely worth checking out if you love running sandals! If that's your game, just head over to EarthRunners.com and navigate to the Circadian Nylon (can add conductive laces) or the Circadian Slip-ons and choose whatever configuration fits your fancy. Also, you can get 10% off your order using coupon code Barefoot10!
Let us know what you think!