The Earth Runners Circadian Sandals are a pair of lightweight, minimalist shoes that exude simplicity, versatility, and quality. Over the past 3 months of testing, they’ve become an ideal pair of footwear for around town use, long day hikes, and as a pair of backpacking camp shoes.
Heel-to-Toe Drop: 0 mm
Stack Height: 9 mm
Weight: 167 g per sandal (size 9)
Fit: True to size
Manufacturing Country: USA
Warranty: lifetime of Vibram sole
Length of Test: 3 months
Acquisition: in exchange for our honest feedback, Earth Runners sent us the Circadian Sandals with zero expectations. As always, the content of this review wasn’t shared with the company prior to publishing. Just know, our job isn’t to tickle the ego of a gear brand… its to provide you with the insights you need to make a sound buying decision – nothing more, nothing less.
Climate(s): Tropical Savanna
Weather: Hot and Humid (highest temp 32 C), Light and Heavy Rain
The Circadian is designed for:
It’s not designed for:
Construction: with simplicity at the core, the Earth Runners Circadian Sandals are made from just four high-quality materials: a reliable Vibram outsole, a cotton canvas footbed, mil-spec grade nylon webbing, and a plastic buckle.
And after 3 month of frequent use on a variety of terrains (from off-trail hiking to around town), the sandals only show a modest amount of wear: just a bit of cosmetic fraying around the edges of the footbed and a tiny bit of tread flattening – that’s all.
Thanks to the simplistic design, the Circadian Sandals have a featherweight yet rugged build. Ultimately, we expect them to last a very long time before breaking down.
Traction: the Vibram Gumlite outsole offers a decent amount of grip in both outdoor and urban environments. And even though the outsole’s lugs are rather shallow and nubby, the overall density of the lug pattern gives just enough traction on the most unforgiving of surfaces. It also provides just enough protection to walk over sharp rocks or hard surfaces, while still translating ground feel onto the bottom of your feet.
In addition to the grip provided by the Vibram outsole, I was also impressed by the footbed’s cotton canvas. The midsole layer is a softer moisture-wicking material that helps keep your foot secure in wet or muddy conditions. As a bonus, the midsole provides some extra grip for your feet whenever they might creep forward while on a steep descent.
In my humble opinion, the only downside to the cotton canvas footbed is that it gets dirty easily and may require frequent cleaning – depend on your use cases.
Fit: the Earth Runners Circadian Sandals have an inherently simple adjustment system that provides a relatively snug fit – one that allows for micro-adjustments on the fly.
While tricky at first, I ended up becoming very pleased with the unique multi-point adjustment scheme once the learning curve passed. With a single nylon webbing looping directly through the footbed and around my feet and toes, the adjustment system ensured that my feet were snugly held in place without much play.
As two negligible cons, given the snug and customizable fit… the Circadian Sandals take longer to put on and take off, compared to more streamlined sandals that use fixed Velcro adjustment systems. Secondly, there’s some dangle at the end of the adjustment strap, if you don’t cut and strip down the webbing to size.
Comfort: the Earth Runners Circadian Sandals have an ergonomic design with a lightweight feel – I could hardly tell that I was wearing them most of the time. That said, the sandals do require an initial break-in period. For the first few days, I found the sandals to be uncomfortable as the nylon webbing that crossed over my toe was causing friction to occur – nothing unbearable though.
Once broken-in, the Circadian Sandals were as comfortable as an unpadded shoe can possibly be – which is ultimately determined by the strength of your foot. For reference, I grew up running around the Thai rainforest barefoot or in sandals – so my foot health and strength is above average. So while I find these sandals to be incredibly comfortable, your mileage may vary.
With a go-anywhere design, a secure adjustment system, and a sleek profile that can easily fit inside of a pack, the Circadian is one of the most versatile and adaptable sandals on the market.
The sporty yet minimalist aesthetic lends itself to crushing trail miles in the mountains as much as running errands around town for day-to-day use. Whether I was hiking, crossing streams, jogging across rice fields, or visiting Buddhist temples, the sandals always felt at home – never out of place.
In terms of colorways, the Earth Runners Circadian Sandals are available with grey, tribal, charcoal or black webbing options.
With a mid-tier price tag amongst other minimalist sandals on the market, the Circadian Sandals automatically qualify as an “affordable” option. At this price point, these sandals are an excellent value for the performance and versatility you’ll be able to get out of them. Especially considering the quality control you get from Earth Runners’ USA-based manufacturing and the reliable materials that they use (Vibram outsole, etc.).
The primary competition (read: alternatives to consider) for the Circadian Sandals are:
Overall, I’ve been very satisfied with the less-is-more design language of the Earth Runners Circadian Sandals. They’re extremely comfortable, exceptionally versatile, and a solid choice for a variety of terrains. With that being said, they did take some time to get used to and took a few days to break in – otherwise, they’ve been a joy to use.
If you’re in the market for a pair of do-it-all minimalist sandals that have solid ground feel… we highly recommend the Circadian Sandals by Earth Runners.
What We Liked
What Could Use Improvements
Sandals are a bit difficult to take on and off, plus the webbing is causing friction across my toes. Quality wise, they’re top-notch.
To my surprise, these sandals are holding up well – still in excellent condition. They’re also very comfortable now – no complaints.
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