Deliberate Life Designs Pursuit Huarache Sandals Review

I tested the Deliberate Life Designs Pursuit Huarache sandals and this is my verdict.

June 15, 2023
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The Deliberate Life Designs Pursuit Huaraches Sandals are a Huarache-style sandal with a single strap attached to a 10.5mm Vibram sole available in five different foot shape options and tons of strap colors. They’re made by hand, so you can customize just about everything about these simple, lightweight, and high-performing sandals.

Product Overview

Deliberate Life Designs Pursuit Huarache Sandals

Price: $114 - $149

deliberate life designs pursuit huraches sandals

✅ Comfortable

✅ Simple

✅ Great fitting

✅ Customizable

✅ Stable

✅ Grippy


❌ Strap system takes some getting used to


  • Weight: 12.1 oz
  • Thickness: 10.5 mm
  • Heel Drop: 0 mm
  • Material: Vibram Newflex outsole, Vibram footbed, Nylon webbing

The Deliberate Life Designs Pursuit Huarache Sandal is a comfortable, durable, and customizable minimalist sandal. At 12 ounces for the pair, these sandals are extremely light. They use a huarache-style strap made of high-quality webbing and a 10.5-millimeter Vibram Newflex outsole. This outsole is extremely grippy and works great on the trail. On the whole, these sandals are simple and effective.

The Pursuit Huarache Sandals are the most customizable of any sandal I’ve seen. These are made in a small shop, and the founder of Deliberate Life Designs is also the sandal maker. This means you can customize almost anything you want when ordering a pair of Pursuit sandals. You can even trace the shape of your foot and have them make you a pair of sandals for your exact foot shape. When ordering a non-custom order, you can choose between five different foot shapes, four different outsole colors, 12 footbed colors and thicknesses, and 14 different strap colors.

These are some of the best sandals I’ve worn for running, hiking, and simply being outside. They’re light enough to use as a camp shoe when backpacking but are capable enough to be your backpacking footwear if you want to leave the shoes at home. These are a great choice if you’re looking for a high-quality, ultra-minimalist sandal that’s versatile enough to do just about everything. If you want a lot of support or a thick sole that will fully prevent your feet from feeling the ground beneath you, you should look elsewhere, though. These are minimalist sandals for those used to minimalist footwear, and some of the best in that regard.

To see reviews on other minimalist sandals, see our post on the best minimalist sandals.

Performance Test Results

pursuit huaraches sandals review performance score graph

How We Tested:

I tested the Deliberate Life Designs Pursuit Huaraches Sandals in Colorado during the spring of 2023. I wore them on several hikes on the Colorado Trail and also spent a few days on the river while wearing these sandals. Conditions were warm, with highs in the 60s and 70s, with daily lows in the 30s.

Weight: 9/10

The Deliberate Life Designs Pursuit Huaraches Sandals are incredibly lightweight. A pair of these sandals weigh 12.1 ounces on my home scale. This is lighter than most other minimalist sandals. I’ve only seen a few sandals that are lighter than these and none with this much protection and stability.

These are about as minimal as you can get, and they’re very light because of that. They have a 10.5-millimeter thick Vibram sole with a single 5/8-inch webbing strap. They also have a minimal amount of hardware: a single tri-glide buckle on each sandal. There is nothing extra on these sandals that doesn’t serve a purpose.

hiker wearing pursuit huaraches sandals

A pair of Pursuit Huaraches sandals weighs 12.1 ounces.

Price: 8/10

These sandals provide great value for the price. They’re not cheap, but they’re still high-value sandals. They’re pretty expensive for what they are. However, they are made by hand with high-quality materials. And they’re fully customizable. If you consider everything you’re getting with these sandals, I think they’re a pretty good deal. There are less expensive sandals available, but they aren’t made to order by hand.

Most other minimalist sandals with a Vibram sole cost this much or more. The Vibram sole is one of the most contributing factors to the price, and I think it’s worth it for this sole. Other than the Vibram sole, there aren’t many more features that add to the price other than the highly customizable sizing system.

close-up pursuit huaraches sandals

Pursuit Huaraches sandals are priced from $114-$149.

Comfort: 8/10

I was able to wear these sandals all day. These are very comfortable. They’re some of the most comfortable sandals I’ve worn. I had no issues with the straps or soles chafing while testing these sandals. They didn’t cause me any blisters or abrasions from chafing, either. The soles provide just enough support underfoot. They don’t have a lot of cushioning, but for a minimalist sandal, they have enough cushioning to walk on rocky surfaces without discomfort. And the soles don’t slide under your foot, which makes them more comfortable as you walk.

hiker wearing pursuit huaraches

The soles are 10.5 millimeters thick. I find this is thick enough to be comfortable while allowing a great trail feel while hiking. Yes, a thicker sole would mean more protection from rocks, but it would also mean you can’t feel where you’re stepping, so you’d need more of that protection from rocks. They’re also very flexible. A flexible sole is usually comfortable, but extreme flexibility can be slightly tiring for your feet. However, any minimalist sandal will make your feet work harder than a less flexible, more supportive shoe.

In general, minimalist sandals are less supportive than thicker-soled sandals and shoes, which makes them less comfortable on rough terrain. This is also the case with the Pursuit Huarache Sandals, but I don’t find them less comfortable than any other minimalist sandals. If anything, these sandals are more comfortable than most other minimalist sandals despite having thin soles.

pursuit huaraches sandals flexible sole

On rough terrain, minimalist sandals are less comfortable because they provide less support.

Stability & Versatility: 8/10

Compared to other minimalist sandals, these are some of the most stable sandals I’ve used. Considering their extremely thin footbed, I was surprised by how stable these felt. But they outperform most other minimalist sandals in stability, especially when you factor in just how light these are compared to other comparably stable sandals.

This is a minimalist design, no doubt. But for a minimalist design, these sandals are relatively stable. When on uneven terrain, these sandals feel stable enough. These are light enough to give you all the natural stability in your feet while giving just enough protection to be highly versatile.

Overall, I found the Vibram Newflex outsole combined with the non-slip footbed creates a very stable sandal. These sandals remain firmly planted where you place them. They bend and conform to the surface underneath your foot on uneven terrain. This, and the sticky rubber outsole, causes them to grip really well. Need to traverse a sloped patch of slick rock? No problem. And a stable sandal is a versatile one. These work well for light rock scrambling, climbing, running, and hiking.

pursuit huaraches sandals on water

The Pursuit’s footbed and outsoles are grippy. They’re sturdy enough to wear on activities with water.

When moving quickly, sometimes I felt like the straps weren’t tight enough and that I might lose a sandal. This made me question their stability. However, I never lost one of these, even when running on trails. I think this is because they’re so light that the straps don’t need to be as tight to stay on your foot as some sandals.

They’re secure enough to wear in the water, and the grippy outsole is stable when wet, too. The footbed is also surprisingly tacky when wet. Many sandals work well in the water, but when the footbed gets wet, they can cause your foot to slide around. The Pursuit’s footbed continues to grip your foot when wet. These sandals would work great for kayaking, tubing, stand-up paddleboarding, packrafting, or anything else involving water.

pursuit huaraches sandals

Adjustability: 7/10

These sandals can and will adjust to just about any size foot. You can order them in five different foot shapes, after all. That’s exceptionally adjustable—the most of any sandals I’ve seen.

The strap system is a single piece of 5/8-inch webbing that attaches to a paracord loop. The paracord loop attaches to the footbed, where it will sit between your big toe and second toe. From here, the webbing wraps across the top of your foot and through the footbed at the outside ankle area. Then the webbing wraps around the outside of the footbed, looping around itself through a tri-glide buckle and around your heel. It then loops through the footbed and around itself on the inside of the ankle before crossing the top of the foot near the ankle. The webbing then loops underneath where it first comes over the top of your foot and again through the tri-glide buckle.

hiker wearing pursuit huaraches

The strap system on these sandals is nearly impossible to adjust while wearing them. This means you must adjust the tightness while your foot isn’t in them, then slide each sandal onto your foot. I was skeptical of this adjustment method, but I'm convinced it works well enough after using these sandals for a while. It’s not perfect, but it works.

To adjust these sandals, note how they fit when you put them on, then take them off. Tighten or loosen the webbing through the single buckle as you think will be best. I found the sweet spot for strap tightness was looser than you’d expect. To put them on when the straps are adjusted for your feet, simply slide your foot in place and pull the heel segment of the strap around your heel. You’ll want to experiment with how tight you want each segment of the strap system, but once you find the right fit for your feet, you won’t need to tighten or loosen anything to take them on or off.

pursuit huaraches sandals strap

The strap system is a little more complicated compared to other minimalist sandals strap systems.

I wish these sandals could be tightened while wearing them because sometimes I find myself wishing I had the straps adjusted a little tighter. But you can't adjust these on the fly since they’re adjusted with only the single tri-glide buckle. The design would have to be reimagined to use another buckle that would allow easier tightening and loosening. This design would inevitably be a less minimal, pure huarache style, too. This is ultimately the trade-off you make with sandals like these, and simplicity is the number one consideration with the Pursuit Huarache Sandals.

Compared to other minimalist sandals, this strap system is slightly more finicky than most other sandals. However, once you fit these to your feet, you don’t ever have to adjust them. Most other minimalist sandals require you to adjust the straps simply to take them on or off. These sandals don’t even give you that option, for better or worse.

As I said, this adjustment system works well. But other systems may work better for extreme applications where you need to tighten them while wearing the sandals. Whether you want constant adjustability or a “set it and forget it” approach to adjustability is up to you. I see benefits in both.

hiker wearing pursuit huaraches on water

Material: 8/10

These sandals consist of a Vibram Newflex outsole, a textured Vibram rubber footbed, and a single 5/8-inch piece of webbing. The footbed feels good under your bare feet. I think these are some of the most comfortable footbeds on a minimalist sandal I’ve used. They’re soft enough to be comfortable. And the textured surface keeps your foot from sliding around, which makes them all the more comfortable.

The webbing is stiff at first but gets softer as you break in the sandals. I'd use a softer webbing if I could change anything on these sandals. However, this would negatively affect the durability, and the webbing does get softer as you use them. The outsole is a grippy and long-lasting Vibram Newflex rubber. This rubber remains sticky when wet, so you’ll still have good traction on wet rocks or when on the water. These sandals also dry very quickly. The webbing will absorb some water, but not too much. When the webbing gets wet, it dries as you wear the sandals.

pursuit huaraches sandals strap

Durability: 9/10

These are high-quality sandals made of the best materials available. The webbing is strong and thick, and the soles are the best you can get. These are some of the most durable minimalist sandals available. Many have used Deliberate Life Designs Huarache Sandals for thru-hiking long trails and taken them on tons of other long-distance adventures. These are about as durable as a 10-millimeter thick sole can be.

Though there is no “warranty” on these sandals, you can replace the straps or soles when individual components wear out. Since they’re handmade by a small company, you’ll receive real, personalized service upon any request. I think this is better than the catch-all warranties that some big companies boast about.

Sam Schild photo

About Sam Schild

By Sam Schild (aka “Sia,” pronounced sigh): Sam is a writer, thru-hiker, and bikepacker. You can find him in Denver when he’s not out exploring in the mountains somewhere..

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