Barefoot Shoes

Exodus Minimalist Sandals Review

A look at some barefoot/minmialist sandals that aren’t huaraches! Meet the Exodus, which is strapped similarly to a pair of Chacos but without the hefty sole.

I received an email a few weeks ago from Ryan, the founder of a new minimalist sandal company called Exodus Sandals. My immediate thought—before even seeing a pair of the sandals—was something like, “Oh another huaraches-making company?” I was pleasantly surprised to find I was mistaken. Exodus Sandals were something new—a minimalist sandal that isn’t based on the huaraches-design! Ryan had me measure up my feet and promptly sent me a custom-made pair of Exodus Sandals. What follows is a review of these thin-soled, barefoot-minded sandals. After the jump!

The Sandals

Seen above are the Exodus Sandals with the "foliage" straps.
Seen above are the Exodus Sandals with the “foliage” straps.
What should immediately jump out at you about the Exodus is that they almost look more like a conventional pair of sandals than what we’ve come to expect out of minimalist sandals. This is due to the webbing/straps following a unique path that locks down the big toe and is overtly not like a pair of huaraches, which are the minimalist sandal style du jour. Exodus Sandals use a narrow-webbing that wraps the foot starting at the big toe and moving back and around the heel before ending at the instep. The Exodus design utilizes three ladder tension lock buckles to keep the webbing locked up in key locations. It’s all brought together by a hand-molded Vibram rubber sole. The whole Exodus Sandals manufacturing job—while being made-by-hand—is exceedingly well done. Impressive. I’ve handled a number of custom-made minimalist sandals—almost all of which were huaraches-based or huaraches-inspired—everything from the original Luna Sandals huaraches to the original Invisible Shoes huaraches (Invisible Shoes is now Xero Shoes. The original Invisible Shoes huaraches were built on Vibram rubber but have used custom-molded soles for some time) to Unshoes (the Unshoes Wokova is different but reminiscent of huaraches and the Unshoes Pah Tempe is probably the closest thing to the Exodus). Then there’s Bedrocks and Brancas, among others. None of these (excepting Xeros since they use their own, pre-molded soles) seemed totally “complete” to my eye prior to break-in due to their flat, cut from rubber soles. And I know, that probably sounds weird to fault a pair of minimalist sandals for having soles that are flat. While I’d always want a zero-dropped pair of sandals, having a sole that hugged the contours of my foot (without really supporting my foot) goes a long way to making the sandals feel a part of my feet. Maybe it’s just me. The Exodus is custom-cut from rubber but breaks the mold of others in this category. In addition to their unique approach to the webbing straps, a look reminiscent of Chacos, Exodus Sandals get their soles pre-molded to curve up at the edges. This does double duty of wrapping the foot and pulling the webbing loops that wrap through the bottom of the sole up and off of the ground. They go a long way to make the sandals look like a storebought, mass-produced sandal vs. something cobbled together in a garage. Make sense? Take a look at the Exodus to get a sense for how it all comes together:

The Straps

The fixed point of the Exodus straps is at the “thong” in between your two biggest toes. This loops up and over your big toe to the outside where it reverses and then crosses your instep to the outside front of your foot where it reverses tracks again, via the sole, and flies back towards your ankle, staying on the outside of your foot. It then pulls a huaraches-inspired move and goes under and up again, around your heel, and back to the outside of your ankle before going in and out of your sole a final time, and clasping back on that front-to-back strap. Yeah that’s confusing to read. Look at the pictures, it helps! This strap configuration works big time in locking down the sandals to your big toe. This is a feature that is decidedly missing from all the huaraches out there and goes a long way to making the Exodus feel more a part of your foot. Contrast this strapping method to how huaraches run from the thong all the way back to your ankle. Elegant in it’s simplicity and allowing for great toe freedom, the classic huaraches tying method doesn’t lock the sole to your feet quite as well. So when you flex your toes to the sky, the sole tends to dangle a bit more with a pair of huaraches. You can see what I mean below via these pics of a broken-in pair of Luna Leadvilles compared to the Exodus out of the box (also note how the brand new Exodus soles are already molded to a level at or higher than the long-broken-in Leadvilles, which came with a perfectly flat sole out of the box): Since the straps are kept lifted off the ground via the curved sole, there’s not too much worry about wear and tear on them. Probably the only real drawback to this configuration is that the ladder-buckle system, which is a neat looking feature, makes getting the adjustment dialed in a little tricky. To that end, Ryan has a helpful page on adjusting the Exodus straps to dial in the fit. Here’s what the sandals look like on my feet:

The Soles

The Exodus soles are made of Vibram rubber that is about 6mm thick. It’s a dense rubber that transmits a ton of ground feel. I’m really impressed with Ryan hand-molding the soles of the Exodus Sandals to help them wrap your feet at the edges. Xero Shoes do this a little bit and Lunas ultimately do this once the break-in. I like the mold-job because it makes the sandals feel a little more stuck on your feet. It’s a nice touch. As for preventing wear-and-tear on the straps, it’s too soon to tell. One thing I’d like to experience with the Exodus is a foamier Vibram sole—perhaps something like the Luna Leadville. Why? Well, mostly for a little bit more of a plush ride for all-day wear. My Luna Leadvilles got a lot of wear this summer due to bringing the all-day wear comfort (at least in the soles; the thong on them would sometimes bother my feet, but I digress). I’ve asked Ryan if other soles might be offered in the future. We’ll see.

Function & Feel

Thanks to a locked-on sole that transmits a great deal of ground feel, once you dial in the fit, the Exodus Sandals really know how to keep up with whatever you do. I’ve put a lot of walking miles on them, busted out into a trot/light run in them, and worn them just being active (particularly on weekends). To date, I’ve had no issues with their performance. Being minimalist sandals, they’re also lightweight so you forget they are “there” for all day wear. What more do you want from a sandal or shoe than forgetting it’s there? The best compliment to a shoe or sandal is that it blends so well with what you’re doing that it never gets in the way, provides whatever protection you need, and compliments the activity. I think the Exodus does a great job in this regard.

I like the look!

If you’ve ever owned Tevas or Chacos and like the look of these strap configurations, you’re very likely going to welcome the aesthetic of the Exodus. While I’ve grown to appreciate the look of a pair of huaraches, it has a feminine vibe to it that just can’t be denied—it’s due to there being a ton of women’s sandals with similar strap configurations (‘tween the toes to the sides of the ankles and around the heel: you know the look). The Exodus has a more masculine look by comparison. It works well in my book.

Conclusions & Price

The Exodus Sandals are only $56 from, which includes free shipping within the U.S. Should you get them? If you’re looking for a minimalist sandal that’s not a pair of huaraches, you should give the Exodus serious consideration. It’s priced well and custom-made to your traced feet. I think my pair was even numbered (somewhere in the 50s). How cool is that? Anyone else have a pair? What’s your experience with them been?

By Justin

Justin Owings is a deadlifting dad of three, working from Atlanta. When he's not chasing his three kids around, you'll find him trying to understand systems, risk, and human behavior.

10 replies on “Exodus Minimalist Sandals Review”

These look really interesting – especially the semi-formed footbed. I wonder how they do that.

Anyway, how are the buckles at holding the straps in place? The one complaint most huarache wearers (such as myself) seem to have is with slippage. Even with the updates to the ATS lacing system, my Lunas still slip a bit and need to be adjusted from time to time during runs.

I would also be interested in seeing if Exodus plans to work with any other soling materials. I like the feel and fit of Xero Shoes, but I can’t deny the plush feeling of my Lunas. If Exodus was to add a more cushy material to their line-up, I would be very interested. Heck, I might just give these a try anyway.

Thanks for the great review.

Thanks for in depth review on your XO’s! Glad you are enjoying them so far.

As for the thicker sole options, we are testing three different materials as we speak to see which is preferred but they are definitely on the short list.

Let us know if we can help out in any way!



I live in Germany and here are not many sources of this kind of footwear. Last year I spent a few weeks of vacation in the US and ordered a pair of Lunas in advance to one of my first stops. I broke them in traveling four weeks through California, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona. After a few months pause due to cold weather I wore them through the whole summer this year almost exclusively. I truly love them.

Planing another vacation in Florida this fall I considered buying another different pair of lunas. Now your review of the Exodus comes into play. I’m really impressed! Probably will order a pair of these to my first stop so I can wear them immediately and give them a try. It seems they eliminate the few faults the Lunas have. I sometimes trip over the floppy front and wished they would stick a bit closer to the feet.

Anyway, thank you very much for this fantastic and detailed review! Ryan’s going to get another customer soon.

These sound like a great pair of sandals with niche of their own. I have a pair of Xero huaraches. I like them, but have issues with slippage. The straps loosen at points and the rubber sole flops around on my feet as a result. I’ve worked hard at trying different tying techniques, which has helped some, but not eliminated the problem. I still like wearing them. I would love to have something like my huarches but without these problems. Definitely fun to wear in the rain! Makes running through puddles a lot of fun.

@Aaron – thanks for the kind words and the interest. I can assure you we are working hard on other soling options as well. I am away on business this week (Europe) and have brought with me three proto pairs of XO’s, two of which are 8mm Vibram options. I like them both but one in particular is giving me what I am looking for in a thicker option, it seems. Let us know if you have any questions…

@Ron – drop me a line (info [at]…i am traveling on business second week of October to Florida and may be able to hand deliver them for you if that helps…let us know.

Thanks again!


These are very much like the Unshoes Pah Tempe which I’ve reviewed on this site and continue to wear to this day; have had them for well over a year now. I like the idea of pre-bending the sole for immediate comfort and zero break in time. As you probably are aware, the soles of all huaraches eventually break in this same way with characteristic concave bend. The Pah Tempe were the same way; after just a couple weeks of use (more or less) there was definite concavity to the sole and my foot had sort of “molded” to the sole. It’s a good thing that this concave bending occurs otherwise there would be significant wear on the underside of the sole where the webbing connects. These EXODUS sandals are indeed intriguing with the big toe loop as an additional way to avoid slippage. Thus far I’ve had pretty good luck with the Pah Tempe: mostly walking and hiking but with some running. Not much slippage experienced even w/o a toe loop.

Some great reviews on here.

I’m looking between these and the Unshoes Pah Tempe. My concern with a lot of the huarache style sandals are that they may look a bit too feminine, like you mentioned in your review of the Pah Tempe.

Which would you recommend between the Exodus and the Pah Tempe?

These look really nice. The Chaco style toe wrap is good. Do you sell to retailers? We sell Xeroshoes but we could try your as well.

(970) 248-9693.

These sandals just recently caught my attention. I was pretty much convinced to get a pair for this Summer. Unfortunately the Order function on the Exodus website doesn’t seem to work and I’ve read something alluding to the company not being in business any longer. Now I’m looking for something that fills the void.

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