Ok... I apologize for the title of this post, but I can't help it if I'm a nerd... when I hear Bedrock, I think Flintstones of course! Maybe its not so much nerdiness as age... ah well, getting distracted already.
I'm very excited to finally put together a review for the Bedrock Earthquake huarache sandal. Bedrock is a very cool company, started by two friends Dan and Nick, and was officially launched last June via Kickstarter. They both share a passion for trail running and geology, and they started designing and building their own huarache for trail hiking and running.
I've been working with Dan for the past few months, and I've learned a bit about their company. They thing that strikes me most is that both Dan and Nick are focused on continuous improvement. The Earthquake Sandal that I reviewed is a follow on to the original Classic sandal they designed, and it has also gone through a number of improvements recently, and I know that more are in the works. It's so great to see a company that gets feedback on it's products and immediately focuses on improving it. Anyway, let's get on to the review:
As far as huarache style running sandals go, my only other experience has been with Invisible Shoes. I've owned a pair of the 6mm Contacts since last fall. While this is not exactly a direct comparison between the two, I will mention a few things that may be helpful to those of you familiar with Invisible Shoes.
The Earthquakes are made with a 6mm Vibram "Gumlite" sole, which according to Bedrock is a mesh between neoprene and rubber. The result is a very light-weight sole with great ground feel. The Earthquakes are probably half the weight of my Invisible Shoes (judging by holding the pair of Earthquakes in one hand, and one Invisible Shoe in the other.
The tread pattern is a series of little dots, that almost look like sucker-cups. Since the sole is so flexible, these little dots provided me great traction in loose dirt and gravel. I haven't had much opportunity to run in real wet mucky stuff yet, but my impression is that these will grip well for a sandal.
And of course, the required "flex" test for minimalist shoes. As you can see, the Earthquakes are super flexible for a 6mm sole. These would be easy to pack!
Finally, the Bedrocks utilize military grade nylon strapping to attached to your foot and ankle. The straps follow the standard huarache pattern, looping through slots next to the ankles and then through a hole between the toes. The nylon strap is then ignited to melt, then flattened to hold the front of the strap in place. There is a little bit of a lump there, but after running it bit, it flattened out more and isn't noticeable between the toes.
As opposed to thinner cord-type material, the nylon strapping is very soft, and comfortable against the skin. The single buckle on top slides up and down on the main strap so you can adjust the position, and with a simple twist, you can then use the buckle to adjust the tension of the strap to what is most comfortable. I fiddled with the adjustments a bit, finding the right tension for my heel and my foot. Once I liked where it was, the settings didn't move. That is a huge bonus with these sandals. While you may take a while dialing in the exact fit for your taste, once you find it, the sandals stay that way.
Bedrock offers a great video on how to make these adjustments which is below:
Besides this super easy and effective strapping method, the Earthquake also features a unique rubber heel strap. As you can see, this is an elastic strap (made from used bike inner tubes) allows a little flex in the heel strap which makes it very comfortable, snug, and it stays put while running. I really like this feature.
So.. how are they on the trail? Awesome! I really enjoy getting out on the trail with the Earthquakes. The 6mm soles and tread are a true sweet spot when it comes to minimalist trail running. The flexibility of the sole gives the Earthquakes great proprioception... almost feeling like its closer to 4mm or less, however they still do a terrific job of absorbing many of the foot bruising sharp rocks and junk that can really slow you down. I took them on a few loops at Lovell Gulch near my house (pics above), and of course up the Manitou Incline and down Barr Trail (below)
I have to say that after about 35+ miles of trails (and a few road miles), these sandals are really comfortable. What is awesome about them is that they are so light, and the strapping works so well, that the sandals stay stuck to the bottom of your feet, and the straps remain comfortable. After a longer run, and wearing them all day, I had no red marks or sore areas on my feet. This great fit also helps a lot on downhill trail runs.. again, no issues for me in the Earthquakes.
So... if you are looking for a comfortable, well-built, pair of minimalist huaraches, and especially if you like trail running, the Bedrock Earthquakes are a excellent choice. I don't have a lot of negatives to offer around these sandals. As with most shoes, my larger concern would be how they hold up over the long haul, so I will make sure I provide a follow up once I put a significant amount of wear on them.
If you have any questions about the Earthquakes, or if I've missed something, please let me know. Or just email Dan at Bedrock and I know he'll take care of you quickly! Also, I forgot to mention that Bedrock sponsored their first full and 1/2 marathon trail race this year in Virginia. Check it out here. I saw some pics from it, and the trails just looked gorgeous!
Finally, I love the little Bedrock sticker that came with them.... it fit perfectly above my Eatmorekale.com sticker on my water bottle!
Ok all.. thanks for slogging through another review... I hope it was helpful! Have a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend! I'll check back in after the Bolder Boulder 10K this Monday!