So I am pretty much a barefoot-running purist, but finally relented the other day and made a pair of huaraches with a kit from InvisibleShoe. I am doing some challenging trail races this summer (read HERE and HERE) and want a fallback option, something I can carry in my pockets, in case the surfaces just get too nasty. I have a pair of Zems which would work, but get heavy when wet. I tested my huaraches on a very rocky and muddy trail. Walking, the string and the knot between my toes drove me nuts. I didn't feel them when running, though. On mud the huaraches reduced my traction for sure, compared to bare feet, though I did like the way my toes were still free to splay. On flat ground the effect was neutral... I pretty much ran normally, though perhaps a bit heavier than bare. I didn't get the same interesting sensations as bare. However, on sharp rocky downhills there is no question I could go much faster in the huaraches, as there was no need for me to be nearly as precise and light in my footwork. I was tempted to race in them to be faster. But then I was like, "wait a sec, who am i?". I am competing now? It is rather ridiculous as I am at best a middle of the pack runner. All in all I liked the sandals more than the Zems. I will be carrying them in those races. But I hope I haven't changed so much that I'll be wearing them in anything less than a full blown gravel pit or lava field.