Episode 38: Geniale Sandale Bio-Leder Hazelnut
Updated: Jun 20
I had seen the Geniale Sandale sandals on Instagram quite a few times and after seeing a documentary about Tarahumara Indians running long distances with minimal sandals, I was very interested to try them out myself.
There is only one style of the Geniale Sandale however the sole comes in either organic certified leather or a vegan "pinatex" pineapple leather. The real organic leather comes in 2 colour variations, coal and hazelnut, and the pinatex comes in black and brown. From there you can personalise the sandal with various colours of paracord or 100% natural hemp cords.
The Geniale Sandale sandals are handmade in Vienna, Austria, they cost 48 euro plus shipping and are available in sizes 20 - 49 eu.
Who are we
We are a small business, located in Vienna, where we produce all our sandals carefully by hand.
What we do
Walking completely barefoot is a healthy pleasure, but it`s oftentimes hard to accomplish. That`s why we made a sandal, as thin and light as possible, which keeps us from hurting our feet while stepping onto not-so-yummy-stuff. Like sharp stones, broken glass, chewing-gum, dog poo and other stuff.
You can roll our sandals up, to carry them in your bag easily. They are not only perfect for backpacking, travelling and vacation, but also for everyday-use or as emergency-shoes. (In case of very uncomfortable high-heels, for example)
The top layer is made either from real leather or vegan pineapple-leather. This layer is glued on the bottom layer - thermoplastic natural rubber. It`s resistant to abrasion, durable and very flexible. The lacing is either made from Paracord - a really durable lightweight nylon kernmantle rope - soft enough to comfort your feet, though strong enough to last for years, or you choose the sustainable rope of natural hemp.
Manufacturing and Sustainability:
We only use organic leather from Bavaria. This is it IVN, Biokreis and ECARF certified as particularly environmentally and allergy-friendly.
Due to the naturalness, different color shades and surface structures can occur. These give the leather its liveliness and individuality and are a sign of quality.
Pinatex: This so-called pineapple leather is not only completely vegan, plastic-free and sustainable - it is also obtained from a waste product . Pinatex is also biodegradable, robust, soft and durable. What more do you want?
The packaging for the sandals are CO2-neutral and 100% plastic-free, with as little packaging waste as possible
Shipping and Returns:
Shipping costs are shipping costs (2.70 euro within Austria, from 5.90 euro Europe-wide, and 15.10 euro to the rest of the world! You can email them if you are having any trouble or don't see your country available.
Incredibly minimal with a barely there feeling
Strong materials despite how paper thing it was
Sizing and Fit:
My foot is approximately 235mm, with my 1st toe being the longest. At the time that I measured my foot, the width was approximately 95 mm.
I wear a size 38 in the sandals and the width is great mine measured 112mm at the widest part, but you're able to cut it down to the shape of your foot if you wish.
Geniale Sandale provide sizing charts which you can download from the bottom of their website, as well as instructions for lacing. There current instructions are not in english however you can figure it out via the visuals and they have a number of youtube demonstrations to help. You can really just have a play and find your own way of lacing them up. That's the great thing about these sandals is that you can personalise the lacing style to suit you.
After you choose your size upon purchase you can then further tailor the fit and sizing to your own foot by tracing around your foot whilst wearing the shoe and then trimming the sole as desired. This is a great way to get a true and personal fit. I haven't attempted to trim mine yet and I don't mind them how they are, I like having room for my toes to splay. They aren't overly big with out trimming but this depends on your foot.
The Geniale Sandale sandals are paper thin and really allow you to have a true barefoot sensory experience whilst having the sole of your foot protected against the elements
I'm still working out the perfect way to lace it that suits my foot and feels comfortable but in general it is a comfortable shoe. You need to get the right technique of lacing to ensure that your foot feels secure. I had some trouble with the laces coming a bit loose on one shoe, so I definitely need to practice the technique
Another hard one is getting both sides to look the same, had some trouble here but with practice and a mirror this should be fine.
I do feel my foot gripping more when I walk because I feel like I need to hold my foot into the shoe more, but this may stop as I get used to the open minimal feeling
I'm also not usually use to something between my toes, so this was a different sensation
This is the most barefoot shoe/sandal I own and it was really interesting to feel so much of the ground underfoot as if you were truly barefoot
Sole: Organic leather from Bavaria
Weight: 150g per shoe
Drop: 0 mm
Stack Height: 3mm
Available sizes: 20 - 49 eu
Price: 48 euro
Vegan option available
It would be great if the sole came in even more colours, they've just added beads and pendants to the online store which is really cool for customising you sandals
Leather lace cords would also be a great option for personalisation or for a more formal look
Where and how to wear:
These are perfect for the beach, you can run in them as is done with the traditional sandal of Tarahumara Indians but I haven't attempted that yet. I'm not sure my feet would be accustomed to barefoot running with out some form of very minimal cushioning. I would wear this with dresses and out and about on the weekend during summer. We've put a diagram below of some ways you can wear them. There are lots of videos on how to tie them, but get creative and find what is comfortable for you!
I love the concept of Geniale Sandale. I can picture them being a great travel companion because they can fit into any bag. They are flattering to wear as you can wrap them up your ankles and they would go nicely with any summer dress in my wardrobe. I like that you get a different experience to other sandals I own where you can wear a nice looking sandals but feel as close as possible to absolutely barefoot.
This sandal would be great for anyone who enjoys being barefoot 99% of the time or who travels often and wants a pair of shows to throw in their bag. For me this sandal would be more of a holiday, beach or weekend shoe, for others this could be an everyday sandal depending on where they live and what they do for work.
I definitely recommend having a pair as part of your barefoot collection. It's great to have different options of minimal soles when you want to engage in your sensory walking experience too. Sometimes I really just don't want to wear shoes, and this sandal would be great for those days.
Disclaimer: This shoe was sent to me for a review, but my opinion is my own.