FullSoul RunningPads

Discussion in 'Gear & Footwear' started by Clark, Apr 20, 2022.

  1. Clark

    Clark Barefooters
    1. Arkansas

    Mar 24, 2015
    Likes Received:
    I won a pair of FullSoul RunningPad sandals in a BRS giveaway contest in February. After an exchange of several very friendly emails, including sending tracings of my feet to FullSoul, I received my sandals and began wearing them frequently. What follows are my notes after each of several wearings. You may notice that some of my thoughts on the sandals change with each wearing. I did very little editing on the older notes as I progressed.

    Sandals received. I got the sandals in March, about a month after the contest ended. As described online, they’re each a single piece of leather; no seams or joints. The straps and toe post are cut from the same piece as the sole, folded back through the sole, then laced through the sides of the sole much like any huarache style sandal. The heel tab/strap is different from other sandals I’ve tried. It folds up from the sole and is supported by the straps, which lace through the heel tab’s corners. It looks like there could be many variations for tying these. The sandals come with two small tabs of leather, apparently cut from the heel, that can be used to retain the straps so that any knot will be away from the skin. I found no instructions on how to tie or adjust. It didn’t take much experimentation to find what that works for me.

    The soles appear to have been cut right from the tracings I submitted to FullSoul, possibly a bit larger, but not much. The cut is generous on the outside of my foot. I could easily trim them but the extra width is not a problem. I get a bit of protection from scrapes on that side.

    Trying on for the first time: I’ve attempted to lace them fairly tight to start out. I can’t get them tight enough to keep the sole from slipping a bit right at the back of the heel. It’s an odd sensation. Initially, I feel like they will need to be kept fairly tight to prevent the heel from sliding to the side. The leather is thick enough to stop burrs or bits of glass but not enough to diminish road feel by much. It’s about 3 mm thick split leather. The smooth side of the sole is up. I’m curious how the split side will do on a smooth wet surface. Might be slick.

    First walk Around the block, 0.91 miles: Heel slip is most noticeable when lifting foot after heel striking, but soon became less noticeable. Heel slip is almost undetectable with a forefoot or mid-foot landing. Laces around ankles seemed to loosen a bit but laces over top of foot did not. Feet stayed centered. Ground feel on pavement was very good. Soles take the bite out of bits of gravel but I could still feel the varying texture of the asphalt pavement. Feet didn’t slip in sandals on the gradual hills when walking up or down. Laces tug on hairy feet and ankles just enough to cause an itching sensation, nothing serious.

    Walk around lake in city park / paved trail: No issues. I’ve realized that sandals don’t need to be especially tight. Snug but not tight is enough. They do move a bit, especially at heel, but this isn’t much of a problem. Excellent ground feel. Just enough protection to take the edge off. No problem keeping sandals straight. They don’t want to pull or twist even though I pronate more on one side than the other.

    Out to dinner: My wife says they look funny. Nobody else comments.

    Day at Garvan Woodland Garden, mostly paved surfaces: Weather is a bit damp, but not raining. Needed to tighten sandals a bit after walking for a few minutes, but they were still not really tight. They slide a little when lifting foot, but I stopped noticing this after several minutes. I got them wet at a waterfall, not immersed and soaking, just wet from the surface, They were still damp when I took them off hours later, but this did not seem to impact how they feel. They did not get slick on the surfaces at the garden, even when wet. I did not notice them getting slick later when in town on concrete floors. If anything, they moved less when damp as they molded to the shape of my foot. They picked up a bit of grit on a chat surface, but not more than other sandals.
    After sandals dried, the leather got a bit stiff but kept the shape of my foot. I applied a neatsfoot-based cream to the smooth surface after sandals dried. It softened the leather but did not change the shape.

    Trail day, 2.5 miles of single track after about 3 miles barefoot: I normally hike barefoot with sandals for backup, just in case. For this hike, the surface was a mix of loam, leaf/pine needle litter, rocks, gravel, roots, damp in spots, running water in one spot. I put on the sandals, not too tight, and purposely never adjusted. They stayed put - very little movement. Moisture from damp spots in the trail did soak through the leather, but not enough to cause a slip. Sandals do not reduce groundfeel much but do take the edge off sharp stuff. I was able to relax a bit more than when walking barefoot and was able to walk faster. I’m not a fast hiker. I normally walk at 30 – 45 min/mile barefoot, depending on the surface and about 20-25 min/mile in Luna sandals (Leadville Pacer or Oso Flaco). I was able to comfortably walk at 25-30 min-mile in these without much regard to the surface. My impression is that while they will not stop a sharp stone or stob from causing a bruise, they will prevent a cut from all but the sharpest hazard. They offer no toe protection from kicking an unseen rock or root so I couldn’t let my guard down completely.
    At a wet-weather spring that was running down the trail, I purposefully let the sandals get soaking wet. I would not normally have done this with leather but since they will get wet sooner or later, I wanted the experience for this review. The sandals did get soaked and did get a bit floppy but not badly. I didn’t need to change my pace or step due to them being wet. I wore them for a half mile past the spring and they didn’t slip much, didn’t loosen, but did lose some of my foot shape to which they had molded.
    After 2.5 miles, including the soaking, the sandals had not shifted around on my foot. The inside edge, heel, and toe post stayed aligned. Once home, after the sandals dried, they took on a pimply look which I attribute to the pebbly surface working the wet leather. I expect that more grease and wearing on pavement will smooth this out.

    Running: I don’t run much anymore but did want to run at least a short distance in these for this review. I went for a short walk/run on a rainy day and so the sandals got wet from puddles and wet grass. Wetness didn't affect running on pavement (old asphalt) at all. Running in these sandals isn’t much different from running barefoot, just with thicker skin. Once wet, the sandals did get a little floppy but this didn’t matter when running. When walking, I would occasionally drag the toe end, especially on my left foot. Since there isn’t much length beyond my toe, I must not lift my feet much. I never dragged when running. I did notice that when walking in wet grass my feet would slip forward and backward in the sandals. My guess is that there’s more drag under the sole than over it on that surface. This was the only instance in my sandal-wearing that my whole foot slid over the sole. I did not slip on pavement and I did not run in the grass. I never run in grass.

    Conclusion: I really like these sandals and am happy to recommend them. They’re easy to wear, very comfortable, offer no hindrance to foot motion, little reduction in ground feel, and do provide just enough protection to add a bit of confidence on uncertain surfaces. If ordering the custom cut, be very careful with your tracing to ensure a good fit. These sandals took a few wearings to mold to my feet, after which they’re almost like a second skin. Even though they may slip at the heel at times, I’ve had no issues with rubbing or potential blistering, no hot spots, no discomfort. The heel slip becomes less noticeable with each wearing. With minimal care, I think they will last a long time. I believe it when Full Soul says that less shoe is not possible. Any less than the runningpad and you’re barefoot.
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    Thank you, FullSoul for giving me the opportunity to wear these great sandals.
    #1 Clark, Apr 20, 2022
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2022
    Barefoot TJ likes this.

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