Unshoes have kindly supplied me with the Wokova Feather Sandal, to provide an honest opinion. They have had no input in the review.
Why do I believe in the Barefoot Lifestyle? (Taken from my post – “Barefoot Running”)
When I say Barefoot Running I don’t literally mean going out with nothing on my feet.
The standard terms/definitions are below.
Unshod – not wearing any shoes or sandals, dirty foot time.
Barefoot – wearing shoes or sandals, which allow your feet to act naturally. Yet there is some protection against the terrain.
I am a big audiobook consumer, and one of the audiobooks I gobbled up was Christopher McDougall’s – “Born to Run”. Not only does the book tell a cool story about American ultra-runners taking on the best of the Mexican tribes. It goes into scientific details, on why barefoot running may be superior to wearing normal trainers. This was important to me. As running is a part of a long term health goal, I do not want it to be detrimental to my health.
I have read numerous articles outlining how our bodies evolved to be amazing endurance creatures. For example our ability to sweat through our skin, or the length of our Achilles. There are numerous aspects of our bodies that suggest we are built to be able to walk and run long distances. If you accept this hypothesis, then you also have to accept that our feet would have been an important aspect of the evolution. So basically our feet are the best running shoes we can have?
Who are Unshoes?
They are a small company producing minimal sports sandals and footwear.
I love their about page and especially their mission statement. They are right in my eyes. We are always told that we need the next newest running shoe or the next sports drink with added blah blah blah. Companies need to make money and I respect that, but you do need to be careful about letting all that marketing seep into your skin.
I also love how the owner just really liked being in sandals or barefoot, so when the market was not supplying exactly what he wanted. He just went out and designed his own sandals. Awesome.
What are the Wokova Feather?
The Wokova Feather is a variant of the Wokova, with adjustable strapping and elasticated loop. It is described as being perfect for casual or active wear. So basically any situation you would feel comfortable wearing sandals in.
I went for the black version, which has black strapping too. I think they look quite dark and mysterious. I can imagine Batman would choose these, if he was a minimalist sandal aficionado. I cannot comment on how well they fair in vigilante situations though.
I customised the sandal by going with the 6mm suction cup tread and the 4mm footbed. The reason I did this, was that I already had an ultra light sandal I used for roads and light trails. I needed a sandal that could handle slightly rougher terrain and activities.
Quality and Durability
The suction cup tread looks different and cool compared to the usual treads you see, and it works too. I have used them on roads, paths, gravel, grass, light and difficult trails. I have have no problems at all with the grip.
The footbed looks a bit different too, although as you will have your feet on them no one else will know!!! They have an almost sticky quality, but not in a bad way. In fact in a pretty comfortable way. Your foot feels really secure on the footbed. With some sandals you feel you have to really strap your foot in, because you fear it will slip around. I had no such concerns with this sandal.
I always have a good look at any new products, to get a sense on stitching , glueing, material quality etc. Its amazing how you can get a sense of how something will last and preform, and where the potential weak points may be. There was nothing that worried me in this sense. The materials seem high quality, and any areas where different materials meet, everything seems secure.
Fit and Comfort
The online sizing guide is a little daunting at the start, but when you actually read through it fully and get a sense of why they want you to do everything it makes sense. As well as the tread and footbed, you have a few more things to choose. Obviously you have to measure your foot and match it too their sizes, this is pretty standard. However you also can choose the width and shape of the sandals, as well as where you want the toe strap to be positioned. One way or another the sandals arrived and I was happy with the fit.
They are super comfy. The only issues I had was a bit of rubbing from the straps. However this was more to do with me never having worn sandals before and having pretty soft skin for a bloke!!!
Getting the straps on and positioned was a bit fiddly in general the first time. However once I got used to them, it takes no longer than putting on a normal pair of trainers and fastening them.
I think it is great that they don’t have a mens and womens section. You can just tailor the sandals to fit your feet. I think its pretty absurd that sandals are gender specific on some websites, they are just sandals!!! In fact the sandals I picked are the most popular purchase by women, do I care? No. I just chose the one I liked the best.
Considering minimal footwear is meant to be taking you back to your foots natural state, minimalist shoes can be really expensive. A lot of the big brands generally place themselves around the £100 mark. I love the fact the price of these including shipping from the US to the UK were less than £70. That’s good value in my eyes.
Photo Credit: https://theinformalphotoco.com/
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