I am excited to announce that I am starting a new long term test. I recently received the newly redesigned Pah Tempe sandal from Unshoes. The Pah Tempe is unique in that it does not have a strap running between your toes. I was interested to test the Pah Tempe sandal after multiple people stopped me to ask about my huaraches, only to say “Those are great, but is there a version without the toe strap?” When Unshoes offered to let me test the newly redesigned Pah Tempe I was excited but also a bit apprehensive about performance.
After lots of testing, I can unequivocally say that Unshoes Pah Tempe is a legitimate contender in the crowded minimalist sandal market. Not only that, I had a hard time finding a situation that it couldn’t handle (I tried).
Comfort and Versatility
Overall performance was exceptional. They were intuitive and easy to put on and adjust. Once on, you can simply slide on and off with no need to readjust. They were comfortable, in a way that only Soft Star can match. The wide webbing distributed pressure evenly, ensuring that there were no pressure points.
I didn’t really think of the Pah Tempe as a running sandal but this is where it really surprised me. This is hard to say, since I love my Luna’s, but the Pah Tempe out preformed them in every way. I ran in them every day for over a week and never once felt any hot spots, pressure points, or slipping. After nearly 3 days of no issues I decided to come up with the most brutal tests I could find to see how far these sandals could go.
Day 1 of brutality testing: Lateral loading
I ran 2 miles sideways doing the grapevine. My RunAmoc’s are weak when it comes to lateral loading so I was shocked when I had no issues. I decided to up the ante and do some shuttle runs. The rubber gripped my feet and the webbing held everything tightly in place. Hmm, I was actually getting a bit mad that they did so good.
Day 2 of brutality testing: Hills
I sought out every hill I could find. I ran short steep grassy hills and long steep paved hills. Running up hill posed no problems at all. The heel strap and the grippy rubber kept everything in place. Now for the downhill, every shoes weakness. Again, the Pah Tempe surprised me with its ability to hold my foot. Downhills were not an issue at all. I tried to get my toes to slide off the front and never could. From an engineering perspective here is the genius behind the webbing system. One strap crosses you foot 3 times. This strap is free to move and redistribute as pressure is applied to each section. Since your foot is essentially triangular shaped in profile the straps act against the wedge-like shape of your foot. The harder your foot attempts to press forward, the harder the three straps press back, evenly distributed of course along the full length of the strap. Essentially, there is no place for your foot to go.
Day 3 of brutality testing: Wet mud
I really wanted to find some wet mud but couldn’t so I opted for the closest thing that I could find. Wet grass and sand. Ok, it doesn’t have the same appeal as mud but it was the best I could come up with. Wetness was not an issue at all. Sand was interesting. It seemed to cause less than normal problems. I didn’t like it, but did notice that since the sandal is not really strapped that tight, the sand seemed to work its way out easier than I expected. In general, I have more testing to do in the wet mud area so stay tuned.
For those not familiar with the Vibram Newflex material, it is one of the best minimalist soling options. It is light, flexible and has good traction. Combined with the 1″ webbing there is no slapping while running. Newflex provides an excellent balance between ground feel and protection.
Climbing webbing is one of my favorite options because it is strong and smooth. Webbing feels great against your bare skin. Unshoe has combined the webbing with a ladder buckle that locks the webbing in place. Once set it does not move. Over the last week I have never once adjusted the webbing. Coming from huaraches, this fact alone is enough reason to buy these.
Overall quality is exceptional especially considering the price. The webbing was all cut and sealed neatly and stitched professionally. It was even coated with a clear rubber where it could contact the pavement. However, I was disappointing with the cut of the sole. It was cut accurately but looked like my first pair of homemade huaraches looked. My Luna’s came with edges that looked extremely professional. These came looking like they were cut out by hand (see heel detail below). This didn’t really affect performance or appearance but it is a small detail could be improved
When I first saw the Pah Tempe, I wondered how likely it would be to trip in them. I will have a whole post on this topic but for now lets just say that if sized correctly (see pic below) tripping never happens. Again, stay tuned for a post full of my crazy antics involved in ensuring that I would never trip.
Comfortable out of the box
Set it and forget it webbing
Slide on and off fit
Non professional finish
The excess strap would never laid flat
This was part 1 of my long term test so stay tuned for more each week or so. On to the pictures