Aspen Times Weekly: Superfeet Sandals | AspenTimes.com

Aspen Times Weekly: Superfeet Sandals

by Stephen Regenold

Big promises come with a plush new sandal offering from insole-maker Superfeet. At $60, the flip-flops are sold as a superior open-toe option, absorbing shock, supporting the arch, potentially relieving plantar fasciitis, and even "great for body alignment," as the brand puts it.

Superfeet is a leader in the insole category, with decades of experience making products that interface with the bottom of bare feet. Sandals seem like a natural brand extension, and this spring the company launches a line for women and men.

I tested Superfeet's Outside Men's Bison model, which come with a deep heel cup, synthetic leather straps, as well as the aforementioned bio-mechanical claims.

I'm not sure about "body alignment," but if that term is a stand-in for foot support that translates to comfortable ankles, knees, and above, Superfeet gets a pass. These sandals exude a firm, confident fit the moment you step in.

The footbed is a firm foam textured with tiny dimples and scored with concentric lines. A half-inch depression cradles the heel, and the sandals contour subtly with your arch before flattening at the toes. A thick midsole cushions as you walk. The straps are lined with neoprene for comfort against the skin and a secure fit — the sandals stayed on my feet while walking on a steep trail.

The outsole is touted as "slip-resistant," though there is minimal tread underfoot. I had no issues with grip on dirt, stone stairs, or around water.

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The forefoot is flexible and molds to the terrain as you walk. I have hiked for a couple of miles at a stretch, including on dirt trails, pavement, and sand.

Don't expect anything beyond good-fitting flip-flops, however. These will not stay on in a river. The design is made for casual walks and everyday wear.

In the end, the Superfeet sandals delivered on most of their touted claims, though at a high price. You can purchase multiple pairs of less expensive flip-flops for $60, though you'd be forgoing support and some style.

But as go-to summertime kicks, the Superfeet sandals are a solid choice. They are versatile, easy to wear, and good-looking enough to pass in any social scenario where bare toes are allowed.

Stephen Regenold writes about outdoors gear at http://www.gearjunkie.com.

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