By Tina Dubois
Here at Living Barefoot, both Al and I have reviewed the original Invisible Shoes’ do-it-yourself huarache sandal kit, made with 4 mm Cherry Vibram outsole material. We both enjoyed them quite a bit and found them fun and easy to make. When Invisible Shoes asked if we would review their new outsoles that they designed especially for barefoot running sandals, we were excited about the opportunity. The Invisible Shoes 4 mm Connect and 6 mm Contact outsoles with FeelTrue™ rubber, designed and made specifically for their use, are excellent additions to the barefoot running sandal market and, in my opinion, the most comfortable ones yet!
This review is written for both the Connect and the Contact as the pre-cut shapes are the same, the only difference is the thickness of the rubber. The sandals arrived pre-punched and pre-laced so all I had to do was lace them on my feet and head outside!
These are the most comfortable huaraches I’ve wear tested yet. What makes them more comfortable than other huarache running sandals I’ve tried? A few details that have been overlooked in other models: First, the footbed is naked rubber and slightly textured to allow good grip of your foot to the sole material. Second, the holes for the laces on the sides of the shoes are set away from the foot so the laces don’t rub uncomfortably against the sides of your ankles. Third, the heel area is slightly cupped and the toe area has a slight upward angle, which both serve to allow the sole material to hug your foot but doesn’t impede their natural movement. These don’t flop around at all; they hold their shape very well. Although I can still somewhat feel the knot under my toes with the 4 mm Connect, I couldn’t feel it at all with the 6mm Contact.
As mentioned in my previous review, a big comfort issue with the huaraches is how to tie them properly. There are many ways to tie huaraches and the most comfortable way is undoubtedly a personal preference. I would recommend trying a few different ways to tie them and decide what works best for you.
Each approximately size 8 women’s Connect weighs 3 ounces or 85 grams and each Contact weighs 4.25 ounces or 120 grams. These measurements were taken with the whole length of the lace included. They are still some of the lightest minimalist shoes we’ve tested and feel practically weightless.
Sole / Flex
The rubber sole is essentially the shoe—with a little lace to hold it to your foot. Both the 4 mm and 6 mm rubber soling material is extremely flexible and bends in every direction imaginable. The 6 mm requires slightly more pressure to bend compared to the 4 mm but it is hardly noticeable.
Support / Insole
As there is no rigid structure to this sandal, there is absolutely no support. There is also no insole included with either the Connect or Contact and the texturized rubber footbed is extremely comfortable and grippy.
The barefoot feel of these huaraches is simply phenomenal. Because there is just a lace holding the sole material to your foot, your foot is absolutely free to act in the same way it would if you were completely barefoot; toes and bones splay naturally and foot muscles function normally. The sole is thin enough that you can also feel every ground contour that you step on. Only the sharpest edges are muted more in the 6 mm Contact compared to the 4 mm Connect.
The dual chevron-shaped tread pattern of the new outsole material is fantastically grippy on every man-made surface I tested them on and more than adequate on dry natural surfaces. Anything you’d do barefoot, you could do with these Invisible Shoes and have adequate traction.
As there is no fabric upper to this sandal, breathability is not an issue as your foot is open to the air all the time.
Quality of Materials / Manufacturing
This is where the new Invisible Shoes outsole material excels! The attention to detail with these simple sandals is phenomenal. The rubber is clearly high quality and durable, and the lace is the perfect diameter and material for their purpose, not only soft against the skin and easy to tie, but they will not stretch or change shape when wet. The holes for the laces in the sides of the outsole are reinforced and elevated from ground level to improve the longevity of the holes and the lace. The brand logos and motto etched into the outsole make the product the most professional looking huarache sandal I’ve seen yet. It is clear that extensive thought went into the details of creating this unique outsole material.
As there is no upper to the Invisible Shoes, they are obviously not water resistant. However, water will run off the shoes as easily as it runs onto them.
Sizing is very simple with the new pre-cut Connect and Contact outsoles: measure your foot and choose a corresponding foot length when you order. If they are not quite the right shape for you, you can trim the top as needed. There are no worries about ordering the right size, it doesn’t get more simple!
The Connect is priced at $25 USD and the Contact at $30 USD on the Invisible Shoes website. These are some of the least expensive minimalist shoes on the market. At these prices, they are a phenomenal value.
The Invisible Shoe style is as simple as it gets for sandals. There are nine colors of laces to choose from on the website. In addition, the way you lace your own huaraches can be as stylish as you want to make it.
Once the sandals are made, the laces will not stretch and the sole will not change shape so there is no break-in period. You may need some time to get used to the feeling of the lace between your toes but that’s more of an individual tolerance issue.
There is no need to treat the lace or the sole with any type of pre-wear care. To clean them, scrub them in the sink and then let them air dry. There is no cause for worry about getting the laces wet because they do not stretch either wet or dry.
The only downside to these running sandals would be their warmth. They are as suitable to cold temperatures as bare feet but would provide minimal protection from cold ground. On the upside, you can wear toe socks with them for a little added warmth.
Invisible Shoes can be worn with or without socks, as long as they are toe socks. The laces may need to be loosened to accommodate for the extra material surrounding your foot but I found that the slip-on style of lacing that I use did not require to be relaced for additional room. I found that the lace between my toes was less of a problem, in the beginning, when I wore toe socks with the huaraches.
There is no other shoe in the minimalist footwear industry as truly minimalist as the huarache. It just doesn’t get simpler than a piece of sole material cut to the size of your foot and a lace to tie it on. The Invisible Shoe huarache running sandals were great when all there was was a do-it-yourself kit. The new 4 mm Connect and 6 mm Contact blow all other huarache running sandals out of the water. Their attention to detail, comfort, durability, and especially price, are second to none. They are as close to being barefoot as you can possibly get with a shoe with only the slightest width of rubber protection on the soles of your feet. The choice between 4 mm and 6 mm allows you to customize your ground feel as well. Your feet are free to move in the most natural way with no fabric upper to impede or constrict foot movement in any way. Invisible Shoes has clearly done their homework in the development of these two new fantastic products and it shows!
To purchase these shoes, visit the Invisible Shoe website at http://www.invisible.com. The site is full of information on the modern take on huaraches including detailed written and video instructions on how to make your own running sandals.
As you read our reviews, please keep in mind that our reviewers review shoes in terms of their suitability for those looking to find the highest quality minimalist shoe products. All reviews are as factual as possible. In an effort to be transparent and ethical, we will point out any defects found, even if these do not affect the usability of the product. Not all defects will be present in final production shoes as we are sometimes offered “seconds” or pre-release products in an effort to provide you with reviews in a timely manor. In the event that serious issues are found with a review sample we will give every opportunity for the manufacturer to replace to explain the review samples before the final review is released. We never accept payments for reviews. We do not guarantee a good review for any products sent to us. We do not review products that do not claim to be minimalist or “barefoot like” unless we receive a significant number of requests from readers or listeners.
Should you have any questions about our review process or would like your product reviewed on our site, please do not hesitate to contact us using our contact page.
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