The birth of unshoes
As an outdoor adventure enthusiast in the red rock country of Southern Utah I have put many shoes to the ultimate test by exposing them to harsh conditions, rugged terrain, and heavy use. For many years I was very loyal to one specific brand of sport sandals. I appreciated the rugged construction and the innovative design but eventually I realized they were not what I wanted. I found that sand was getting between the sole and footbed and destroying the adjustable straps. At nearly $100 a pair I couldn't afford to buy new sandals every year. Because of this, I began wearing cheap flip-flops or just going barefoot. I've never really liked shoes so going barefoot wasn't too much of a problem for me.
I started looking for a new sandal with an adjustable, continuous strap that didn't run between the sole and footbed. I also decided that I wanted something lighter. My old sandals were quite heavy and stiff. As I searched I discovered the concept of minimal footwear. I was instantly fascinated and began researching. I found toe shoes and other minimal shoes and although I liked the concept behind them, I was looking for sandals.
I've always been interested in how things are made and I enjoy working with my hands, so I decided that it couldn't hurt to try making my own minimal sandals. I employed problem solving skills I learned while studying graphic design and went to work drawing sketches and looking into different materials. It was then that I discovered running huaraches online. They were close to what I wanted but still not quite what I had in mind. At the time, there were only two huarache companies and they both only offered laces. I wanted a more simple and sporty looking design and I wanted straps rather than laces. I used some rock climbing webbing, duct tape, and shelf foam to make prototypes until I came up with a design that I liked.
I never intended to sell sandals. I was just looking for my own perfect pair of sandals. But then my wife suggested selling them on Etsy. At first I didn't think that anyone would want to buy my homemade sandals, but after some consideration I decided to give it a try. In the spring of 2010 Unshoes was born and we shipped our first pair of sandals to Belgium. I had no idea that Unshoes would grow into a full blown business!
Unshoes is now a small but growing company dedicated to bring you simple, high quality huarache style sandals at an affordable price. We are continually working to improve our products and services for the minimal footwear/barefoot community!