Product Type: Karrimor shoes
Newest Review: ... that goes along the outside of your foot (presumably for added stability) and bears the Karrimor name in red lettering. This means that th... more
Walk this way for Karrimor sandals!
Karrimor Amazon Sandals
Member Name: Drifter_2000
Karrimor Amazon Sandals
Advantages: Comfortable to wear, very stable and secure
Disadvantages: Takes a week or so to break them in
You might have noticed that I've done a few reviews of summer footwear. Admittedly it's because I have quite a collection, but it's also because one day I hope to invent 'the perfect sandal' that would revolutionise the sandal market and would become an indispensable part of every summer wardrobe. But what might this sandal look like? Might it be a complex feat of engineering or might it be a triumph of simplicity, that makes people wonder how on earth they'd never thought of it? In short, would the sandal be Concorde or the paper clip?
My research into 'the perfect sandal' continued in earnest when I bought my first pair of walking sandals last summer. I wanted a versatile pair that could conceivably be used for beach holidays, or for summer sightseeing in hot and crowded cities. In such places flip-flops are pretty much worn by everybody, whereas walking sandals instantly mark you out as a tourist, so I knew that I had to tread carefully. I found the Karrimor Amazon sandals in Sports Direct for the very reasonable price of £15. Teva (perhaps the most well known sandal brand) have walking sandals starting from around £29.99 but are often a lot more so £15 seemed a very attractive pricetag. In addition, they looked like Tevas, with their visible arch-support and jazzy pattern on the straps. So far so good, I thought.
The Karrimor Amazons follow a fairly conventional design. One strap goes across the base of your toes and another goes across the area where your ankle meets the top of your foot. These two straps are joined to each other by a smaller strap that goes along the outside of your foot (presumably for added stability) and bears the Karrimor name in red lettering. This means that the inside of your foot is left uncovered, which provides useful ventilation in the heat. Both of the large straps are fully adjustable, although I tended to keep the strap across my toes fairly loose because it's more comfortable and the sandals felt stable enough anyway. The sandals also have a heel strap that can be adjusted (but not removed as with some sandals) and substantial areas of cushioning underneath all of the straps and fastening areas.
While I'm usually a UK size 9, I found that the size 8 for these sandals was ample for me. Karrimor generally tend to underestimate sizes and I've noticed this for their t-shirts and jackets as well, so it's often worth buying a size smaller than you're used to. I must confess that I wasn't taken with the pattern on the straps, which looks like a series of black arrows on a grey background. Unfortunately this was the only pattern that the shop had, although I can see from the picture above that the women's version has a more cheerful pattern, appropriate for an exotic holiday rather than a sombre prison uniform.
The sandal's tread is slightly more 'technical' looking that with Teva sandals and is remarkably similar to the tread of Karrimor's walking shoes. It certainly looks as though it would stand up to rambling and light hill walking but I probably wouldn't climb Ben Nevis in them.
The footbed is a made of a firm but spongey rubber and has a noticeable rise in the middle to support your arches. I found this slightly uncomfortable at first because my arch was not in the exact same place as the arch support but after about a week's wear, the sandal (rather than my foot, I hope!) changed shape and I there wasn't any more discomfort. That said, I would have liked it if the footbed had been slightly softer as I think a day of walking on roads and cobbles in these sandals can be a little hard on your feet.
Once the sandals were broken in, I no longer noticed I was wearing them. The cushioning is very effective, although the padded areas do prevent the sandals from drying quickly when you get them wet. I found them fine for a summer trip to France, although I really wish I'd had them for last year's holiday to Sri Lanka because I would have lived in them. I've worn them for country walks and they've been fine and the open part on the inside of your foot means you can easily remove any small stones or leaves that get stuck. I wore them around the house this morning (without socks- bear in mind it's February!) and it was nice to get reaquainted with their comfortable feel.
These sandals are very easy to wear and the added stability of the heel strap makes them suitable for activities such as cycling, rambling and rowing. That said, you do risk getting muddy or wet feet but often the comfort and ventilation of sandals is a fair price to pay for this. Luckily the openness of the design means that the sandals can let out water as fast as they take it in. The sandals are very easy to clean- run a shower or a hose over them and dirt and grime can be removed in no time. Get these sandals wet and the footbed area takes no time at all to dry- in fact leave them in warm sunshine and you can literally see the water evaporating off their surface. Despite this, the cushioned areas tend to retain water, so unless you don't mind a bit of dampness it's worth giving them a while to dry.
Overall, these are a great pair of sandals and I'm looking forward to getting loads more wear out of them. Karrimor have delivered a sandal that feels a bit rigid at first but does a great job for a very low price.
My quest to find the perfect sandal continues...
Summary: A very good pair of walking sandals at very reasonable price