I could count on my hands and feet the amount of times I’ve been asked, “Forgot your boots?” while out hiking a fourteener or trail running. And it’d be convenient too, since I do all my favorite outdoor activities in sandals. While somewhat of a trend right now, being minimalistic when it comes to the outdoors is what the majority of backpackers, thru-hikers, bikers, and outdoor enthusiasts love most.
I’ve been running since the days of high school track and field. I was introduced to minimalistic running after reading “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougall. While I’m by no means running ultra-marathons, I’ve logged over 1,500 days and countless miles in the trails of Colorado and Alaska, and haven’t worn running shoes or boots for any of them. Delving into the sandal running culture, I researched Chacos, Lunas, and everything in between. Finally, I got my first pair from Bedrock Sandals, a company based out of Richmond, California. The appeal of this company was their dedication to the lifestyle; growing organically, living what they preach, and constantly striving to make the best sandal on the market. After reading more articles on minimilistic running than I thought could possibly exist on a seemingly simple topic, I set out for the Sangre De Cristo range outside Alamosa, CO. It was my second trip to Blanca Peak, and being a proud owner of an ‘87 Subaru Loyale at the time, the seven mile 4×4 access road to Lake Como was a Nomo.
My initial love for the sandals developed before even putting them on my feet, all 15.6 ounces of them. With the lighter footwear option, I was able to take more of the gear I wanted (i.e Hot Cheetos and Canadian Mist). Water and mud crossings became a breeze, and oftentimes I’d even go out of my way just to get a little extra wet and mud-coated. The intentionality of where and how you step also fuels my high opinion of them, pair them with a nice wool toe sock (no, seriously) and there’s nothing you won’t be able to scramble up.
You will most definitely come across fellow backpackers who stare wide-eyed as you charge up 14ers with “flip flops”, however, behind every astonished look will be a hint of envy as you hop streams without a second of hesitation. Savor those stream crossings.