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.