Review of the New Branca Running Sandal

by Editor on August 25, 2011

Branca Running is one of the newest faces on the ‘barefoot’ sandal landscape. Launched in April 2011, the passionate, educated team is already introducing its second lines. We have provided some information about this hip youngster company, as well as a review and a special deal on their newest offering – leather sandals. (Say it with me….oooh….ahhh!)


About Branca Running

The face behind Branca is the two-man team of Brant and Caleb, old friends and co-conspirators in the running game. Brant started running minimally in November 2009, after Caleb told him about Chris McDougall’s book Born to Run. Brant had been suffering of knee pain at the time, and thought it couldn’t hurt to try something different from the big, clunky running shoes he’d always sported. Several months after moving toward barefoot, Brant’s knee pain was gone. Brant and Caleb decided they wanted to start a running sandal company. So they did. They named it Bran(t)ca(leb).


Like other Huarache style sandals, Branca sandals are light weight, durable and extremely comfortable running sandals. They come in an almost inexhaustible variety of color combinations, thanks to 15 lace and outsole color choices. Each pair is custom built to the wearer’s precise measurements, and the wearer can cut the toe box to the specific shape of each foot.

Some of the most unique features of the shoes include a totally flat outsole, thanks to the omission of a knot under the toes. The heel features a one-inch thick elasticized strap for maximum comfort. These babies weigh no more than six ounces and are built for durability.

Like any young company, Branca has learned much from its early adopters. Clearly, they’ve been listening. The new leather Brancas are real winners. We asked one of our reviewers, the amazing Chicago Barefoot Michael, to conduct a review of the Branca sandals. Before we give you his thoughts, we thought you might want to know a bit about this reviewer.

Michael has been a motivated barefoot runner for more than five years. This year, he is training toward five marathons in five months. Last May alone, he ran 2.5 marathons. We put Branca’s new leather shoes on his feet, and this was what Michael had to say.

I have worn the New, improved Branca’s with the leather tops, and they are FANTASTIC!. They are very comfortable from the First time wearing them.  I am wearing them for over 8 hours a day, everyday for the past two weeks.

The rubber strap on the heel has a lot of advantages, as it does not dig into the skin.

With the Oil-tanned High Quality Leather it does add more weight and it is thicker than their original branca.? ?As an All Barefoot-No Minimalist Shoe runner, I need the strongest, thinnest material between the foot and the ground.

The new sandals feature a 5mm Vibram Newflex Sole, and there is a Limited Edition high-quality perforated leather attached to the Vibram Newflex sole.  This will have a lot of advantages for the one that is wearing the shoe all day.

This is the ONLY footwear that I am wearing.

On August 28, Barefoot Michael will be a running in the Merrell Naked Foot 5K (Grand Rapids, MI) with the Brancas! If you’re there, make a point to check them out.

Not too bad. Definitely worth a try for anyone who wants a unique, fun, thoughtfully designed Huarache style running sandal. And Branca is offering you a buy-one-get-one free deal on their Limited Edition Black Perforated leather sandal. Simply enter two sizes on the site’s “Shoe Builder” and the code word BRUS to take advantage.

Get your Branca Running Sandals here.

Stay tuned for the newest addition to our “Linchpin Series” as we interview Brant.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Ariele M. Huff August 25, 2011 at 6:05 pm

I always look with interest at minimalist shoes and have used several over the years.
My question about the Brancas or any shoe that has a thong between the toes is: How can that be comfortable?
Personally, I’ve never found any thong between the toes comfortable enough for any kind of prolonged wear. I especially wonder about running where the strip would have to rub continuously between the inner parts of the toes.
Is there some trick I’m missing? Or is this only for people with feet constructed a certain way?

Branca August 25, 2011 at 11:17 pm

The wide laces are a lot more comfortable than you might think. Yes, they will chaff a bit during the first 10 miles or so. Before you know it, you can barely feel them. Our bodies have an amazing ability to adapt (and develop callouses) We barefooters/minimalists know that! ; )

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