Barefoot Shoes

Unshoes Pah Tempe Review

If you’ve been around ultra-minimalist running and walking for a while you’ve probably seen more than most of the huaraches available these days typically involve a strap that runs between your big toe and its neighbor.

If you’ve been around ultra-minimalist running and walking for a while you’ve probably seen more than a few sandal or huarache varieties. They are mostly the same; very thin Vibram rubber outsole that is shaped like the outline of your foot and then some sort of lacing system that involves a long cord that is worked all round the sandal bed and your foot to secure it in place. Moreover, most of the huaraches available these days typically involve a strap that runs between your big toe and its neighbor. Enter the Unshoes Pah Tempe, a minimalist sandal that avoids the big toe thong attachment point, invoking the spirit of Chacos or Tevas but without the heftier soles. Today I’ll be reviewing the Unshoes Pah Tempe — read on!


Having a strap between the toes is rather uncomfortable for some and for that reason, Unshoes Minimalist Footwear designed the Pah Tempe. Unshoes has this to say about the Pah Tempe:
Designed specifically for people who don?t like to have a strap between the toes. The Pah Tempe is the first minimal sandal without a toe strap. This sandal is perfect for rough terrain and situations where lateral movement is required!
I’ve been a fan of Tevas and Chacos for many, many years; gone through several pairs. However I’ve always been disappointed about how heavy and clunky these sandals typically are; so unnecessary! I even explored taking a hacksaw to some older pairs just to see if I could create a more minimal version (I was vastly unsuccessful!). I even ordered some Luna Sandals and it was very refreshing and liberating to be able to roam around and run in a much lighter sandal. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get over the very feminine look of the sandal and the often irritating strap between my toes. I knew there had to be other options out there. One day, after having left a comment saying as much about some latest huarache review on (I think it was for the Branca Barefoot Running Sandal), I was contacted via e-mail by somebody who shared my view towards most of the huaraches available and suggested I take a look at the new Pah Tempe by Unshoes. I then went to the Unshoes website and right away found a kindred spirit in Terral Fox, owner of Unshoes. Seems he shared the same view I had towards traditional rugged sport sandals. So some time passed, but eventually I got around to ordering a custom made pair and I’ve been roaming around all Spring long in them! Here is my review.

Ordering Process

Like many other huarache options out there, Unshoes builds their sandals on a per order, custom basis. Basically you send them a tracing of both your feet and any special requests regarding fit such as a tighter fit for running, or looser and larger foot bed for casual use. In my case since I just wanted a pair of lighter, more minimal sandals for everyday use I instructed that I wanted a bit more room than my outline showed. The turnaround time, at the time of this review, was about 3-4 weeks from the time of your order.


A sideview of the Unshoes Pah Tempe with the 10mm brown Vibram Newflex rubber sole and the brown webbing.
A sideview of the Unshoes Pah Tempe with the 10mm brown Vibram Newflex rubber sole and the brown webbing.
The Unshoe Pah Tempe uses a Vibram rubber sole and comes in two thicknesses: 6mm or 10mm, which are two different sole types. The 6mm ?Sport Utility? is made of an ?expanded rubber compound that offers excellent flexibility, traction, and durability?has a very small amount of cushion, is light weight and offers very good traction.? The 10mm ?Newflex? is the thickest sole option but is still very light, it is made of ?expanded rubber? as well and is said to float, ?making it a good option for water sports.? I chose the 10mm Brown NewFlex (black is also available) with Rust webbing color. Here they are: you can easily roll up the Pah Tempe sandalsWhen I received my Pah Tempes I was amazed by the overall quality of the construction and just how light they were! To me they basically looked like my old Chacos but much, much lighter and without the huge amount of arch support. The Pah Tempes I found are amazingly flexible; you can easily roll them up and put them in your pocket. I will say that the rubber sole appeared to be a bit ?rough cut?, not quite as smoothly cut like what would be seen if it were machine cut. Also there were some loose stitching and rough edges on the web strapping here and there. However, all of this is merely cosmetic and no way has interfered with the overall feel and performance; just something that Unshoes could improve in the future. I?ll admit that some of my friends did honestly ask if I?d made these sandals myself! So, yes, they do have that ?do it yourself? look to them but honestly I really didn?t mind as I already owned another pair of huaraches that had the same look and feel. If this is a concern then perhaps Unshoes, or any number of other small company huarache makers, is not for you. When I put them on I found the fit to be superb and the single web and buckle strap was easy to adjust and seemed very secure. The excess webbing strap was annoying at first as I found that I had to use just about the full adjustability of the strap and buckle to really feel snug. However, rather than figure out just how much I needed and trim off the excess, I discovered all I had to do was tuck the excess under the inside ankle strap and it was safely out of the way and not annoying at all. I’ve run into trouble in the past by inadvertently cutting off too much in the way of trimming belts, shoe laces so don?t do it unless you?re really, really sure! For the past month and a half I’ve been wearing my Pah Tempes just about everywhere; taking the dogs for a walk, running errands, camping and basically anytime I can be without shoes! Even with the 10mm Vibram sole the Pah Tempe still has pretty good ground feel, I imagine the even thinner Vibram soles that Unshoes offer would obviously have even more. I do detect a slight feeling of cushioning with these 10mm Vibram soles that I really like.
The bottoms of the 10mm Vibram Newflex soled Unshoes  Pah Tempes.  These soles provide some cushion while still affording a pretty good amount of ground feel.
The bottoms of the 10mm Vibram Newflex soled Unshoes Pah Tempes. These soles provide some cushion while still affording a pretty good amount of ground feel.
I haven?t tried running in the Pah Tempe yet and I really don?t plan to; so no review forth coming in that respect. I bought the Pah Tempe for casual use to replace my bulky sport sandals and they definitely are a worthy replacement in my view! However, I have worn the Pah Tempe on some fairly rugged, off camber terrain while camping and adventuring in the Smoky Mountains in North Carolina. I will say I had no traction, stability or foot slippage issues in the Pah Tempe and can believe that this would make a wonderful running sandal.


My overall impression is very favorable. If you’ve been a fan of more traditional sport sandals that didn?t have a toe strap but were put off by the excessive bulk and weight of those sandals, you?ll probably love the Pah Tempe. I think that even if you’re a fan of more traditional huaraches that have the toe strap you?ll probably like the Pah Tempe as well. The Pah Tempe is a a bit rough around the edges because of its homemade looks and construction but make no mistake this a no nonsense, very minimal, very comfortable sandal that is worth trying. Check them out“>over at Unshoes and let us know what you think!

By Rob

I'm originally from Sacramento, California but now live in northern Alabama. My wife and I have travelled all over the world to compete in races; even as far away as Antarctica. I'm a computer programmer by day to pay the bills. I've been running since the summer of '91 and am an avid ultrarunner and off-road unicyclist (yeah, you heard right!). I've competed in some of the most difficult ultra marathons in the world including the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning, the Barkley Marathons, the Hardrock 100 Mile and the Badwater Ultramarathon. I even completed a supported speed-hike of the 335 mile Pinhoti Trail in record time. So I have a lot of experience with shoes, what works and what doesn?t. Get to know me better via [url=]his interview here[/url].

26 replies on “Unshoes Pah Tempe Review”

Thanks for the review! I have been looking at these myself for a few months. I wear Stem/Lemings to work and recently bought Vivobarefoot Neo’s to run in. I previously tried DIY-kit huarache, but did not like the fit. The toe cord and knot under the foot bothered me. I added more holes and make something similar to this style but the thin cord tore up my pinky toe after about 2.5 miles running.

Did you encounter any rubbing/discomfort with the material?
Can you feel the three contact points where the strap goes under the sole?


While most of the reviews here are spot on, this review seems to have superficially touched on the best features of these sandals. You can read more here:

But here are the highlights:
1. The Pah Tempe does not look homemade. It fits in as a “normal” shoe.
2. They fit secure the first time and can be slipped on and off without adjusting.
3. Running in them is a delight, better than huaraches.
4. Very functional across a wide range of sports.

One note after tons of testing. Larger feet may benefit from the stiffer 6mm sole.


Thanks for the link — your reviews on the Pah Tempe are incredibly useful and thorough!

I actually disagree about the “homemade” aspect (at least with my Wokovas) but that really comes down to preference as I see it.

@Riley: Haven’t tried the Teva Zilch, have no idea how it would compare. Sorry

@Josh B: So far I haven’t had any rubbing issues with the straps on the top of my feet, don’t suspect I will as this has never been an issue when I wore similarly constructed (but heavier) sport sandals. Also I could definitely not feel the the strap-to-sole connection points underfoot.

@Scott: Sorry for the superficial review. I just reported my own experience with the Pah Tempe after a month or so of use, none of which involved running as that wasn’t the reason I bought the Pah Tempe. I simply wanted to replace my heavy sport sandals; casual use only. Not sure why you say above that the Pah Tempe doesn’t look homemade when you say, several times in fact, in your own review that the Pah Tempe has a bit of an unfinished look. I agree with that, but that by no means lessons my opinion that this is a great sandal.

Thanks Rob and Scott for the thorough reviews. My biggest concern with most of these sandals is the attachment method of the strap to the sandal. Maybe I am off base, but it seems as though I would not want to walk on the strap. Seems it would wear our rather quickly and eventually disconnect from the sole. Again, I am surmising and do not have any experience with this. I have been leery to try them for that very reason. Anyone else think similarly to me on this? For those of you that have these and have had a lot of use of them, do you see any wearing in the area I am referring to?

@ Rob/Justin,
First let me apologize, my comment came off much harsher than I meant it to, I meant no disrespect at all. I think that the review was great and Pah Tempe is a great sandal. I just wanted voice that it is as good as reviewed and then some.

As for the homemade look there are two ways to look at it. Up close they most definitely look homemade. The rough edges and stitching are things that Terral needs to work on to compete with the offerings of others. However, from a distance they could pass for a pair of Chacos. I’m probably biased here due to years of wearing “strange” shoes, so anything remotely normal fits into the normal category.

@Scott: No worries. You had a terrific write-up by the way, I just haven’t used my Pah Tempes quite as long as you have, perhaps I’ll come back and provide a supplemental review after a while. I guess what I meant by the “homemade” look was what I alluded to in my review when I said that multiple friends of mine on different occasions asked if I’d made the sandals myself. So if it’s obvious enough to some outsiders who’ve never heard of Unshoes that they thought they looked homemade…

@Mr. Leigh: I know exactly what you’re talking about. But here’s what you need to consider and realize. From my experience with running in Luna Sandals in the past (over 100 miles total) what happens to the sole is that it ends up “bowing” a bit around the main foot to ground contact point. So effectively the edges of the sandal, where the straps are connected end up bowed up slightly. So if you were to look at the sandal from the front (or back) the entire sole would look somewhat concave. Understand? You have to remember that this is relatively thin material used for the sole thus it can concave over time. Now I would be concerned about wearing through the straps if this were a normal sport sandal as this would be too much material in the midsole/sole to bend like this. In my Luna Sandals I never had any issues with the side strap-to-sandal connections but I did wear through the toe strap not once.

Thanks for the review! I have to admit that although I love the idea of a Chaco-style minimalist sandal I’m really attached to my Lunas, but when I went to order a new pair I was bummed to see that they now charge $15 for custom sizing. So I think I’m going to give the Pah Tempe a try.

@Rob – Do you find that the Pah Tempes are starting to bow like the Lunas? Also, how does the 10mm Newflex compare to the Luna soles?

@Shannon: I think it’s too early for me to tell if they’re going to bow but I suspect they will over time as my Luna Sandals did. No reason to think they won’t, especially since I got mine cutout a bit larger than the outline I sent them so the attachment points are a touch further away from my feet than what I had with the Luna Sandal. I’ve found the 10mm Newflex to feel a bit “cushier” than the Luna sole. It’s not foam type cushioning but there is a bit more compression in the Newflex compared to my Luna soles. Not sure if the other Vibram soles offered by Unshoes would feel the same or not.

@jon: I believe Justin or somebody did a review of the Bedrock Earthquake Sandals on this site? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder I suppose. Like I said, I found I really don’t like a sandal with a thong strap between my toes. Some people don’t mind it some people do. The Bedrock Earthquake Sandal has a thong strap between the toes so I’m sure I wouldn’t like using it but perhaps other people would. Does look a bit better than a traditional huarache IMHO but those thin straps? Still a bit too feminine looking for this guy, sorry! 🙂

Thanks for the review Rob! I certainly wasn’t expecting this so it came as a surprise. By the way, if you were ever at the Moab MUni fest then it’s possible that we have crossed paths. I ride a mountain unicycle as well!

@Mr. Leigh
Thanks for bringing up the strap attachment subject. I think it is an important part of our process that people generally don’t notice. The sole does lift a little bit as Rob mentioned but we have also taken precautions to minimize wear. Wherever the strap is in possible contact with the ground we have sealed and plasticized the outer layer of webbing. This keeps out dirt and sand which is the usual culprit for breaking webbing. It also makes a flat surface rather than a big lump so it’s not noticeable. The webbing we use is climbing grade with a very high tensile strength (designed to save your life if you fall off a cliff!) so it is quite durable. The biggest drawback to the strap attachment is the way it looks.

@Terral Fox: I’ve really been enjoying the Pah Tempe, to me it’s just what I’ve been looking for in a sport sandal. Keep up the good work! Regarding Moab MUnifest. Unfortunately I never made it out to Moab for the festival so I don’t think we’ve met. I have ridden the Slick Rock Trail however, that was last July. HOT! But heat wasn’t too bad compared to Death Valley which I’d just run across a week and a half earlier! Not riding terribly much these days but I do plan on getting back into it after my long ultra race next month in Hungary… I need a break from running!

I just put on my brand-new Pah Tempes about five minutes ago.

For the previous two summers I have been wearing Paper Feet. I loved the minimalism of Paper Feet, but they (a) did not last long, (b) did not fit well, and (c) were very expensive.

My Pah Tempes have the 6 mm Sport Utility sole. I am wearing them now and I like them a lot (in the five minutes that I’ve used them).

My one concern is that I am going to trip because the front of the sole is going to get caught on the ground and bend down, under my toes. I have had something like that happen to me when I have taken the insoles out of my Soft Star shoes.

It took six weeks to receive them from the time I ordered.

I am one of those people who can’t have anything between his toes. Remarkably, I have not found too many choices out there for a minimalist like me. I have high hopes for these Unshoes. I really hope that they work out. I wish that they, or someone, would extend their business model so that I could buy custom-cut shoes, and not merely sandals.

I haven’t been riding for a long time. I’m too busy making sandals! 🙂

Function is obviously the most important part of the sandals but aesthetics are also important. We are continually working to get them looking more professional. It wasn’t that long ago that we were finally able to move production out of my basement and into a workshop! As we continue to grow we will also continue to make the sandals look less “homemade”.

I love my KSO Treks, but I figure it might be a good time to get an alternative, even more casual minimalist shoe or sandal to avoid running my KSO Treks thin too terribly soon since I use them for basically everything.

After looking at this review and @Scott’s review, I think the Pah Tempes might be a good alternative (and breezier) sandal for me. I used to wear a pair of Crocs sandals.

After looking at the Unshoes website, the different kinds of soles have different ratings – and one of them in the Low Noise.

Now, this may seem like a strange question to ask, but compared to the KSO Treks, just how quiet/sneaky are the Pah Tempes? And if you’ve tried the 6mm Sport Utility, how much noisier are they?

For some strange reason it’s kind of a selling point for me, ‘sall.

@Matt, I’d say the newflex is slightly quieter than they sport utility. However, after using both I prefer the sport utility in a sandal and the newflex in a shoe. I have both in sandals and shoes and I can run completely silently in all 4. As a point of reference these two soles are both quieter than the regular KSO so I assume they could be quieter than the trek too.


Thanks plenty for the extra info 😀

Now, to convince my parents to get me a pair… 😀


What’s the difference in feel/function?

I have the original lunas and love the way it’s kinda stiff and does not flop easily (I hate flopping), but still are flexible and has lots of ground feel.

I have a pair of ATS 8mm newflex sandals as well, and find that they are borderline “floppy” in that thickness.
Maybe 10mm works better.

Would love it if the Sport Utility is slightly stiffer than Newflex.
Been considering getting these for a while now.
Love running in sandals, but running on gnarly trails and/or when wet has been a problem.

Especially as the ATS strapping system that I hoped would solve all lacing issues and be some kind of silver bullet has turned out to be a headache.
I can’t get them to work as they should.
The design seems flawed to me, and the more I look at Unshoes’ lacing systems, it seems they got it right.


Your comments on the Luna lacing and soles for both the original and the newflex are spot on with my experience. I love my original lunas but the lacing has been a headache. The Pah Tempe with the newflex sole are great but as you mentioned they are borderline floppy. I’m crafting a whole post on this subject soon.

The sport sole is just slightly stiffer than the newflex and works perfect. It is much more flexible than the original luna sole and I think is the perfect combination for the Pah Tempe design.

If you have been frustrated by the the luna lacing you will love the ease of the Pah Tempe. 2 seconds max and you are good to go.


Thanks for the info. Where will you write the post about the soles? Do you have a blog or website?

On the soles: how does the 6mm sport utility work on rocky trails and similar conditions, does it have enough protection?
And is it the 10mm newflex you have tried and found floppy?
I see the wokova feather has a 5mm newflex sole and I can’t imagine how that can work well.

I have to say that I don’t really have a problem with the Lunas leather laces as long as I tie them the traditional way (takes some time to get on and off though), and I also love the the elasticized laces that nobody seems to like.
I can tie them once and slip on and off for months without retying.

The problem with both is that they don’t handle wet weather and technical trails well.

This is where the ATS lace comes in, as they were supposed to solve all these problems, but I feel Luna dropped the ball on this one, as their not really working that well.


Ah, saw your website in the comments now.
Realized that I’ve read your review some months ago as well.
Looking forward to your final review.

My blog can be found here

For me the 6mm sport utility sole was enough protection. I hiked a 10 mile portion of the Appalachian trail that was particularly rocky and rooty while carrying a 30 lb pack (and often a 40 lb kid) and I was fine. I actually felt better than any hike with hiking boots.

The newflex is “squishier” than the sport sole, so although 4mm thinner the sport sole still provides as much protection.

I have tried both the 8mm and 10mm newflex. While not really floppy they are both very flexible.

Just received my Pah Tempe sandals. First impression : Awesome!

They are very comfortable and the sole feels really nice. I already have FiveFingers that I use every day in summer and for running but the sandals will do a better job on very hot days. I won’t be using it to run though.

(sorry if this is a duplicate, my 1st attempt seems to have failed)

i dont’ see anyone can run in this or do “agility sport”

there’re more straps in the mid & rear. so there is no gapping in the middle & rear between my feet & sole.

but the front strap leaves 1/3 of my feet hanging in space.

(i have tightened the strap but 1/3 of them are still hanging in space with NO strap, i.e., gapping between toes & sole)

i wish there could add another HORIZONTAL strapor move the zig-zag strap the toward toes (@ the joints between metatarsus & toes)

as i walk, esp. going upstair, the sole would separate enough & kick the stair. pretty annoying. this is a design flaw.

otherwise, it is comfortable to WALK in. & my toes feel too free (too free actually the soles gap & flop too much)


I love my Vibram 5 fingers, and would really love to have open-toe sandals that would give me a similar feel. Would you say that these sandals would be comparable?

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