Bedrock Sandals

Discussion in 'Product Reviews' started by Product Review, Apr 7, 2012.

  1. Product Review

    Product Review
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    Barefooters

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    Reviewed by: Smelph
    Date Product Reviewed: 11/11/2011
    Product Type: Footwear

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    This was originally posted on my blog at BarefootRoot.blogspot.com on November 9, 2011.
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    Now I'm running with the big dogs! Ointment reviews are great and all, but what people like to see is footwear reviewed by a barefoot runner! No really, it makes sense. You're just crazy.
    Back in early July I had decided to participate in a Kickstarter project for a small startup called Bedrock Sandals. I had first heard of them through some barefoot runner friends on Facebook and they looked pretty cool. I wasn't quite ready to commit though, until The Maple Grove Barefoot Guy said he had a review coming up that should hit before the Kickstarter project ended. Once his review hit the web I decided this was something I wanted a piece of, so I got in while the price was right. I went for custom sandals, so I sent in some foot tracings (it's surprising how different your feet can be from one another) and waited patiently. It took a little longer than expected, mostly due to the guys at Bedrock having some issues with the original strapping manufacturer, but they eventually found a military grade manufacturer they were confident would give them the highest quality materials and the sandals started shipping in late august. Due to a mishap where my email got booted to their spam folder (which has been happening to me a lot recently) mine came in a little later still and they arrived at my house on September 6th.
    The First Month: Walking Around
    So as the title of this section already pointed out, I spent the first month with my Bedrocks walking around a lot. I didn't really see them as work-appropriate, so I wore them whenever I needed to go anywhere (that required footwear) outside of work hours. I spent a lot of time making adjustments to the strapping, which wasn't the most comfortable when I first got them. In fact, they were downright painful in places. I have a feeling my troubles with the strapping stemmed from my lack of experience with sandals in general (I am not used to having a strap between my toes, in particular), but I have also developed a theory that strapping style (or lacing style, when it comes to other huaraches) is highly subjective. The first couple weeks I kept trying to strap them on the way I'd seen the guys at Bedrock do it, and I just couldn't get comfortable. Once I realized that you could set the strapping to place the buckle wherever you want, things got much better. I slid the buckle towards the inside of my foot and pulled the ankle strap a little higher up and it was like night and day: these things got really comfortable. I'm still making minor tweaks to the tightness of the straps, but I finally have them close enough that I could go out for a run in them. Naturally right about this time I needed to take a rest to ditch some nagging sore spots, so the rest of my testing got delayed. They have become my default walking around footwear though, so they have been great in that aspect since getting the strapping issues resolved.
    The Second Month: Out Running!
    So I spent a couple weeks on the shelf walking around in the Bedrocks and I was still digging them a lot, although I found that if I spent any real amount of time in them the straps would eventually loosen up a little and require tightening. Nothing too serious while walking around at the grocery store, but I was concerned about performance during a run. It turns out I was right to be wary.


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    I began rebuilding my mileage after the break, which was a great time to break out the Bedrocks for some short mileage running. During the first two weeks back I went out in the Bedrocks three times, and sadly their performance was extremely troubling. Generally getting the fit right before heading out the door took a couple minutes, which was a big annoyance compared to my usual footwear adjustment time: zero minutes. Once I got the fit snug but not too uncomfortable I would head out and typically need to re-tighten the straps every three minutes. The heel strap simply wouldn't stay snug and I would literally run right out of them. After a couple stops I would tighten them down really tight, which invariably was uncomfortable and I would hobble my way up to about a mile before giving up and finishing my run barefoot. I can't say how disappointed I was at this point considering how happy I was with them for bumming around town. Then one day on a total whim I decided to loop the strap back through the buckle. I have no idea why, but it seemed like the right thing to do. After adjusting the fit and looping the strap back through the buckle I went out for a run and I loved it. The straps didn't slip at all. This was the key that allowed me to really dig into the sandals. From what I understand, the guys over at Bedrock have since offered some slightly stiffer straps that don't slip as easily and might have solved my problem, but with the new strap setup I don't even think about it anymore.
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    So what did I think once I got the strapping issue fixed? The short answer is I like these very much and these are currently my go-to footwear for the winter (with socks, of course). The long answer, and what I imagine you're all really interested in as opposed to my rambling back story, begins with the entire strapping story we just finished. I bought these with the idea that the straps would be easier than laced huaraches and I think I was wrong on that count to a certain degree (though I haven't tried laced huaraches before), but once you get the fit right and loop the strap back through the buckle it "locks in" the fit and I haven't had to adjust them since. The location of the buckle seems to be very subjective and contributes a lot to how comfortable a fit you achieve. I've seen pictures of other runners with the buckle on the outside of their ankle, some with the buckle in front of their ankle and I personally wear mine on the inside of my ankle because that is where they were the most comfortable. Figuring just the buckle position took me a couple weeks of casual wear, not to mention adjusting the straps themselves. If you wear them a lot I imagine you could figure it out a lot faster than I did, but since I was only wearing them on weekends and occasional evenings I don't think I was able to devote a ton of time to it. I also think someone with huarache experience may have a better idea of how they would want the strapping as opposed to me, who never really wore any kind of sandal as long as I can remember.
    Ground feel wasn't bad but I think The Maple Grove Barefoot Guy hit the nail on the head when he said the Bedrocks are the Trail Glove of huaraches: great on the trails and not so great on the roads. The sole was a little thicker than I would have liked for road running, but I can see where it would be great on the trails. As a frame of reference I would say they have a little less ground feel than my FiveFinger Flows, but a lot more ground feel than my Trail Gloves. I find asphalt an interesting surface to run on barefoot and the Bedrocks lose a lot, but not all, of the things that make it interesting. If I had a choice I would opt for a 4mm sole instead of the 6mm one they currently offer, but this won't stop me from using them over the winter. There isn't much to say about flexibility or weight. They are a 6mm strip of rubber with some nylon strapping so they are pretty flexible and light, although you couldn't just roll them up and jam them in your pocket or anything. Bedrocks offer pretty much what you'd expect here.
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    So what's the final verdict? I like these a lot. Like I said earlier, these are currently my winter footwear of choice even beating out my tried and tested Trail Gloves for most of my winter running. The price is right at $45, which is $5 cheaper than the original Luna or the custom made units from Invisible Shoes (although their DIY units are even cheaper). The strapping gives the Bedrocks a nice modern look compared to their laced brethren (which I have never liked), and once adjusted I found them to be more comfortable than I originally expected. The guys over at Bedrock Sandals are extremely approachable and helpful when you need assistance with fit (though I stubbornly never took advantage of this) and their passion for their product comes through in every bit of correspondence I had with them. On top of all these other things, everything that goes into a pair originates in the USA which I really appreciated.
     

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