“ Brand: Earth Spirit / Type: Sandals „
I'm very fussy about shoes, or should I say my feet are! I walk everywhere and my feet tend to cause me problems if my shoes aren't supportive enough. This has always been more of a problem in summer when its too warm to encase my feet in well structured trainers but unsupportive shoes such as flip flops and wedges are de rigeur.
I discovered Earth Spirit shoes randomly as I was walking through a branch of TJ Hughes in order to get somewhere else, they caught my eye because they were a wide range of summery sandals but with seemingly moulded and supportive looking soles. I had just been in Clarks trying to find something but the prices were a bit high so I was delighted to find that these shoes were all between £10 and £20.
The styles aren't the trendiest around, if your main concern is following fashion then these aren't for you I'm afraid, but if comfort with a little bit of a nod to attractiveness is what you want then these are great. I'd found that lots of comfier sandals seemed far too old for me in my late twenties and while these aren't super-cool they are a bit less old fashioned than many.
As for comfort, well, where to start! All their shoes have moulded, cushioned soles so the impact of walking is less harsh on your feet and legs and the arch of your foot is supported as in a trainer or good work shoe. The sandals tend to have a decent amount of straps around the front of the foot and the toes so that your foot doesn't slip out of the side as in some wedges. Nearly all of the styles have a slingback type strap around the heel so that your foot is properly 'contained' and you don't have to grip with your toes to stop them falling off. The strappy bits are flexible and don't dig in but feel secure enough that you could run or play sport in many of these shoes. Basically you can walk around all day wearing these and happily forget that they're even there, which is exactly what I want from a practical shoe!
My Earth Spirit shoes have all lasted very well, I have several pairs now and the oldest are probably 4 years old and just as comfortable and supportive as the day I bought them. They've been in the sea, up mountains, through forests and in big dirty cities and I expect them to last for many more years to come.
I highly recommend these to anybody who suffers from sore feet or fallen arches and struggles to find summer shoes that are comfortable without being too frumpy and ugly. I get mine from TJ Hughes where they are normally reduced and a great bargain so if you have one near you that's where I'd head to now that summer is on its way!
I have massive feet, I'm a size 8.5 or 9 usually if they don't do half sizes. This makes getting good quality, well made shoes a bit of a nightmare as for sandals. Forget it! Therefore, when I was looking rather wistfully at the collection of earth spirit sandals in my local garden centre I was more then a little surprised when the assistant told me to try them on. They only go up to a size 8 but despite my protests she insisted that they should fit - thankfully, she was right! So, I quickly left with these, a pair of beaded black leather sandals. The only sandals that actually make my feet look good that I've owned for probably going on 5 years now.
You'll have to forgive my description here. Biology never was my strong point, 'foot' and 'toe' are the only parts of my feet that I can name!
Anyway, this sandal has five black leather straps each of which are about 4mm wide. The first runs just above the line where my toes join my foot with the second following this line almost exactly. The third strap runs across the thinnest area of my foot almost half way down my foot itself and is the only one with any elastic, this is on the inside of the sandal. The fourth strap runs down from just in front of my ankles and the fifth starts close to the third and runs around the back of my foot and is held closed with a very small metal buckle.
I'm not usually one for beads but the beaded detailing on these is very well done. They cover three circles, each one getting larger as they progress up my foot. The first circle is where the first and second straps are attached and the largest third circle is where the third and fifth straps are attached. The beaded detailing all start with large purple beads in the centre and then imitate the circle pattern for the rest. All the layers of the beaded circles have beads of different shapes and slightly different shades of a browny/silver.
Earth spirit sandals are "built with an overpadded arch, biodegradable outsole and impact absorbing sole" (Information taken from the label attached to the sandals). As far as I'm aware this is true for all their sandals and not just this particular pair.
As you can probably already tell, I adore these sandals. The straps frame my feet perfectly and make them look good, something I believe every shoe (or at least summer shoe) should do. The detailing in the three circles and beads draw just enough attention to my feet for them to be noticeable without detracting from whatever else I am wearing.
They are exceedingly comfortable. In fact, the label that came with them is printed with the slogan "comfort with an attitude" I think that says it all! The sole is soft with just enough padding so that it feels soft and almost like I was walking on sponge without compromising on support when I'm walking, especially under the arch of my foot. I know that Earth Spirit say that they have "over-padded" the arch however although on some shoes this is very noticeable that's not the case with these. It's only when I stand up that my arch really even touches this padding. The support is there and I can tell this when I'm walking it just doesn't get in the way or feel uncomfortable when I'm wearing them.
When I first put these sandals on I had trouble deciding how tight I wanted the strap - to fit my feet properly I seemed to need a hole between two others. Reluctant to make an extra hole in brand new shoes I did them up to the hole that seemed a little too tight, this also meant that the buckle, which by the way does up on the outside of the shoe, rubbed against my skin slightly. However, after a couple of hours walking in them the leather had stretched and worn in to a position where it sat comfortably and held my feet in just the right position. The leather didn't stretch any further then this so you don't need to worry about it stretching too far and since it only took two hours to wear in this is very quick.
The grip on these shoes is mainly on the ball of my foot and my toes, however I've found this to be plenty and never slipped no matter what surface I've walked on. I would be slightly cautious walking in the rain or other conditions that make the surface slippery which I know is unlikely but it's always possible to get caught short. For normal summer conditions though this should cause no problems.
As this is black and leather it does attract it's fair share of dust and dirt, however cleaning causes no problem. I have leather wipes that work perfectly well and a quick wipe with these work well, alternatively if there is dirt that this doesn't remove a quick wipe using a damp cloth and washing up liquid works well and doesn't damage the leather.
I bought these as a day sandal and for this purpose they work perfectly well and go with just about everything I wear. The only thing they do look slightly strange with is jogging bottoms but then jogging bottoms and sandals never were designed to go together! Along with day wear though the strapping and beaded detail also make them perfectly suitable for a night out. I have worn them with a little black dress and the two went together perfectly.
As for the sizing these come in size 3 to size 8 with no half sizes. However, these are on the large side. As I said I'm usually an 8 and a half having to go up to a 9 in styles that don't do half sizes but the 8 in these sandals fit me perfectly well so I would go down rather then up if you also usually take a half size.
I have owned these sandals for around 2 months and have worn them almost every day since the weather warmed up. They are still as good as new, none of the straps have stretched more then they should have, the stitching is still intact and neither the grip or the padding in the sole
has begun to wear down. I would say that I will easily get two summers out of these sandals and may even get a third.
Price, Availability And Recommendation
The RRP for these sandals are £45. I bought mine for £35.99 and have seen them online for £35 with free postage so it's definitely worth shopping around.
I have no problems in recommending these, even in the relatively short time I've owned them they've proved themselves to be durable. They wear in well and are extremely comfortable, they're versatile in that they are equally well suited to day and night wear and despite attracting a bit of dust they are easy to clean. They are, therefore, getting the full 5 out of 5 from me.