Sunday, February 26, 2012

Latest hiking sandals

Hiking sandals

Hiking sandal soles

One more pair of sandals made. I have tried everything and this is the culmination of every test. This has all the elements of a good hiking sandal.

This style of sandal is stable uphill or down and on side slopes. Huaraches hurt between the toe and are not stable. Huaraches also require a lot of retying and tightening. Theses do not.

Most tab sandals like these have a closed heel. An open heel is better for hiking because I get pebbles stuck under my feet and it's easiest to roll them out the back. Other sandals I made like this with a closed heel caused chafing on the heel. It can be hard to get the heel stiff enough to prevent chafing.

The soles are Vibram Newporters. They wear long and have good traction on wet rocks. The traction on trails is pretty good. Sometimes pebbles get stuck in the tread, as does mud and dog poop. But the tread is best of all the products available to me.

There is 1/4 inch of "cloud" cushioning between the sole and the upper leather. Padding lets me hike fast without having to run. Minimalism is fun but it is not fast. I can handle the sharpest rocks with this combination.

The surface is suede. Suede can be slippery when wet. But the lacing is stable so this should not be an issue.

The whole upper is leather because leather is easier to work with and leaves no rough edges to chafe like nylon webbing can. Being sandals, it should not be a problem to get them wet. They'll dry fast enough and my feet can breathe.

The only issue is lack of protection for socks in areas with foxtails and stickers. I may see if I can make a sock cover for that situation.

I took them for a walk. They're great. I really like them. I look forward to hiking in them next weekend.

I'm almost out of shoemaking supplies and I'm thinking that these sandals are as far as I want to go with it. I think I'm done making shoes for a while.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Feeling great

I'm feeling great these days. I try to convey this to The Man, but it's just hard to describe. I feel like Super Woman. Eating all this grass-fed and pastured beef, butter and chicken, lots of liver and no grains or sugar or vegetable oils makes me feel like a completely other animal. I'm not the same person at all.

I have been taking a core fitness class twice a week. We do things like squats, sit-ups and push-ups. In the 50 minute class only about 20 minutes of it are the hard strength things. So it's not too bad. I do everything the wimpiest way possible so far. Knee push-ups and knee planks, for example. It really helps though. It has made me feel so much stronger while hiking. I feel great.

I continue to lose weight slowly. I can wear my PCT 2009 hiking pants again. I can wear lots of stuff I buried in the closet again. This diet is great. Lose weight and put big hunks of butter on your mashed celery root and sweet potatoes. Eat roast duck until you are ready to puke and lose weight.

What I do now is I drink a "bulletproof" coffee that is made with melted butter, coconut oil and unsweetened chocolate, emulsified in the blender, for breakfast. Then I eat canned fish for lunch around 1 or 2. Sardines or salmon usually. Then I eat dinner. I like to make meat of some sort with a starchy root or tuber and some veggies and plenty of butter. The Man tends to make lighter fare like skinless chicken and steamed veggies. I just put a ton of butter on it. The bulletproof coffee with the fish is kind of austere but I don't feel hungry. The total calories for the day is probably pretty low. But I feel great all day, energized, focused and not hungry.

I just ordered a bunch of pemmican from US Wellness Meats. I looked at making it myself but it looks too difficult. Pemmican is just beef tallow and dried meat mixed together. Theirs is not completely dry so you have to keep it refrigerated or frozen. Sounds like you can carry it for a few days in a backpack, so I figure this will make great backpacking food. You can eat it as is or melt it into a soup for dinner. Some people spread it on crackers. Apparently it takes a bit to get used to the taste. It was quite expensive. I hope that I like the taste.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Finally my hiking huaraches are dialed in

At long last my homemade hiking huaraches work.
Hiking huaraches
I found these little buckles at Art from Scrap. I was able to loop one end of the buckle into the side strap piece with the leather lacing. It's at the inside, which would seem like a problem but actually isn't. Then I wrap the lacing around my ankle a few times, loop it through the front toe strap for security and buckle it in. No adjusting, no having it come untied. The buckle never touches my skin so it does not chafe and it's in the right place to give the sandal good lateral security. Feels really secure and comfortable.

I could actually cut off a lot of that extra lacing and simply slip the lacing under the front toe strap and then buckle and make these really simple. I had to order these laces and have not wanted to cut them yet in case I made a mistake and wanted them long again. Perhaps I will order another pair so I'll have a back-up in case I make a mistake.

Here's a close-up of the buckle:
Buckle closeup
These are not exactly minimalist huaraches. I purposefully used 1/4" of cushioning so that they would be more comfortable for hiking and for faster walking. In regular minimal huaraches I have to run to keep up with my friends and that gets annoying. To me the big benefit of the huaraches is no raised up heel and not having my toes be all cramped. Nobody makes shoes wide enough at the toes.

The other thing I have done is purchase a pair of Zemgear ninja booties. I usually wear my huaraches with socks when I am hiking because my skin chafes very easily at the side straps and sometimes between the toe. But socks pick up too many stickers and foxtails. The Zemgear booties are like thick spandex socks. They do add a bit more stiffness to the sole, but the idea would be to use them for backpacking. Our backpacking trails have a LOT of foxtails.

With Zemgear tabi
Here they are with my Zemgear nija tabis. They are sort of like thick spandex socks. There is a plastic sole on the bottom. I should have bought the indoor "wellness" version. Next time I will. So far they feel really cold when it is cold out. I hope they aren't too hot when it's warm out. I will need to see if I can wear socks with the tabi. Otherwise, they are comfortable with the sandals, feel secure like hiking boots and the plastic sole really doesn't bother me when coupled with the sandals. I even tried it with Dirty Girl gaiters and it works great. Can't wait to try these on a real hike.