In our previous product review we looked at an excellent product, the Earth Runners Minimalist Outdoor Sandals, footwear which combines the barefoot benefits of earthing shoes with the functionality of minimalist running sandals. Much to my delight I received an invitation to review the latest product by Earth Runners, the Shoe Sync Earthing Shoes DIY Kit which allows you to convert your favourite pair of flat-soled shoes into grounding shoes which provide an electrical connection back into the earth. Why would you want to do that? Recent studies have shown that there are many health benefits from being in contact with the ground, after all that’s what your body was designed to do!
The Health Benefits of Grounding Footwear
Why be electrically grounded?
According to Dr Mercola in his article “Might Electron Deficiency Be an Underlying Factor in Most Chronic Disease?” published May 05, 2013, being in contact with the earth may be critical to human health and may prevent many diseases .
“Electron deficiency syndrome is a ground-breaking discovery that could be an underlying factor in all chronic disease. Industrialization and the introduction of plastics and other synthetic materials have disconnected us from the earth, which has interrupted the natural flow of electrons between the earth and you. Electron deficiency has been shown to increase inflammation in your body which is a major risk factor for disease. Bringing yourself back into contact with the earth via a process called “Earthing” can help reverse this deficiency, decreasing inflammation and reducing your risk for all of the diseases that are inflammation-based, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, arthritis, and many others.”
The article cites many sources and references which provide additional reading if you’re interested.
Grounding essentially recreates the natural electrical state of the body, and that can only be a beneficial! It’s just like all those other natural things that common sense would tell us are healthy, that researchers keep ‘discovering’ which promote good health, such as ‘superfoods’, eating fresh natural food with no artificial additives, spending time outdoors to receive exposure to a healthy amount of sunlight, getting a good night’s sleep and engaging in regular moderate exercise! Who would have thought that living more naturally could be good for you!
The Shoe Sync Earthing Shoes DIY Kit
The Earth Runners Minimalist Outdoor Sandals I reviewed earlier are an amazing product, I’m quite attached to mine! I would love to be able to wear them all year round, but realistically you can’t do that with open-toed footwear. There are activities and seasons of the year where they wouldn’t be ideal. I was delighted to hear that Earth Runners addressed that matter when they announced the Shoe Sync Earthing Shoes DIY Kit, which allows you to convert your favourite shoes into a grounding shoes. Thanks Earth Runners, problem solved!
There are various reasons for converting different kinds of footwear to provide a grounding benefit. Winter cold is a good reason, as are shoes appropriate for different social occasions. A big one for me was footwear specific to certain recreational activities, in my case it’s tai chi.
I’ve been practising tai chi for a few years now, and in tai chi training practitioners tradition ally wear ‘kung-fu shoes’ which look like black cotton slippers with thin rubber soles, but are a bit more like a flat-soled lightweight sports shoe. It’s what Bruce Lee wears in many of his movies, so you’ve probably seen them before! Even though many long-term practitioners nowadays invest in more expensive lightweight shoes specially designed for martial arts practice, the older style kung-fu shoes are still popular. Training tai chi outdoors is much more enjoyable, so I wanted a suitable shoe I could wear for training that was also grounding. Converting a pair of kung-fu shoes using the Shoe Sync Earthing DIY Kit made that possible.
Bruce Lee wearing his evening slippers? No they’re traditional ‘kung-fu shoes’!
Turning comfortable everyday flat-soled shoes into grounding shoes is also a practical solution for certain other ‘more technical’ activities. I’ve heard that some electronics enthusiasts working on static sensitive components, in addition to using their anti-static straps and mats, advise working barefoot to minimise the risk of damaging delicate electronics. A pair of grounding shoes would be ideal for this purpose and would be a much more comfortable way to work.
Now that we’ve covered the applications of such a product, lets look at the product itself.
This product is a DIY (do-it-yourself) kit. I must confess I’m a DIY kind of guy, I’ve been fixing, making and tinkering with things all my life, there’s a real sense of personal achievement and satisfaction that comes out of making something (that works!) When I was first contacted about the Shoe Sync Earthing Shoes DIY Kit, which allows you to convert flat-soled shoes into grounding shoes that provide an electrical connection back into the earth, I loved the idea. To be honest, I wasn’t sure how easy something like this would be to do until I saw the instructional video on the Earth Runners website.
Being an instructional writer myself, I was very impressed with the quality of the step-by-step instructions provided, both in printable form and video. I found them very clear, thorough and easy to follow. I’ve never done this type of work on footwear or used leatherwork copper rivets before, and by watching the short video once then following the printed instructions, I was able to complete the build in around 30 minutes.
The DIY Kit Contents
The DIT kit contains the following items which are pictured below:
- small rivets x3
- large rivets x3
- washers x6
- conductive tape x2
- hole punch
- rivet installer
- cutting board
- large clippers
The only two things which don’t come in the kit which you will require are a hammer, and a pair of flat-soled shoes of course!
The instructions specify the requirements for the shoes, which are listed as follows:
- Sole thickness (stack height) must be less than 1/2" (12mm)
- Must be able to unlace shoe to access the insole with tooling.
I must admit I didn’t quite stick to the second requirement, luckily the footwear I used had a lot of flex which allowed me to get the tools in there, but the instructions give good advice in using lace-up footwear, they’re a better choice.
An Overview of the Construction Steps
Earth Runners provide an excellent video, which you can watch here to see how straightforward the process is:
I decided to document my experience with a brief series of pictures with short descriptions to give people a feel for the steps involved.
- Remove insoles from footwear.
- Mark the sole of the shoe at the K1 (Kidney 1) acupressure point as shown on the instruction sheet provided.
- Punch a hole using a hammer and the provided hole punch and cutting board.
- Insert long copper rivers through the holes from underneath.
- Stick down self-adhesive conductive tape (which has holes pre-punched) over rivets, along the sole, inside the back of shoe, and over the edge. This is actually a bit more involved that it looks, there’s a series of easy to follow steps which are clearly explained in the instructions in great detail.
- Punch a hole into the other end of the conductive strip using a hammer and the provided hole punch and cutting board.
- Insert short copper rivers through the holes from inside, then place the washers over the rivets.
The washers will only go part way down as they’re designed to be force-fit onto the copper rivets.
- Punch down washer nearly all the way down (90% off the way) using the provided rivet installer tool.
- Rivet with washer set, ready to be clipped plush with large clippers provided in the kit.
- Rivet cut and hammered flat with provided cutting board underneath the back of the shoe.
- Both copper rivets at the back of the shoes completed, then rivets inside shoes have washers set down 90% of way and hammered flat.
- Properly set rivets are roughly flush with the sole, ever so slightly inset just below the surface of the sole so they can’t snag or catch.
- Insoles are then reinserted, shoes are now ready to wear. The way it works is that the copper rivets above the heel and the conductive strips running along the back of the shoe conduct electricity through your skin (and socks) to the copper rivet in the sole, which then conducts the electricity into the ground.
Testing the Shoe Sync Earthing Shoes DIY Kit
It’s fine to explain how it works in theory, but we can test it all using a multimeter to determine how well it all works.
Firstly we need to ensure that there is a good electrical connection between the copper rivets at the heel and sole of the shoe along the conductive tape.
Setting the multimeter to “Ohms”, a measure of resistance (to the flow of electricity), we see there is zero resistance, in other words, the electricity flows freely with no resistance, which is exactly what we expect if the conductive path is sound.
Zero resistance to the flow of electricity, all conducting well indicating an excellent electrical connection.
The next testing step is a bit more involved. In this step we’re measuring the flow of electricity from the body into the ground. To do this, we need to connect the negative lead of the multimeter to a ground point and hold the positive lead while the multimeter is set to measure volts AC (alternating current). Sitting in front of the computer, with both feet off the ground, we see that the electric fields from the electronic equipment create a voltage in my body that is 4.22VAC higher than the ground voltage potential. That’s a lot!
My body ungrounded when sitting if front of the computer is 4.22VZC above ground!
Since I’m not standing outside on the ground, I can artificially ground my shoe by connecting a grounded lead to the copper rivet. In this test I’m only grounding one shoe while wearing a wool/synthetic blend socks.
When we look at the multimeter once again, we see that the voltage of my body above ground drops from 4.22VAC to 2.89VAC, that’s a significant drop of 31.5%. I’d bet I would get a far better result if I was wearing sock made of a natural fibre only such as cotton.
My body grounded when sitting if front of the computer drops from 4.22VAC to 2.89VAC above ground.
After testing, I can definitely say that the Shoe Sync Earthing Shoes DIY Kit works, it definitely does what it claims and grounds the body of the wearer electrically, even with socks on.
The kit is well thought out and the instructions provided are excellent. I’m pretty sure that anyone who’s moderately handy can covert a pair of their favourite shoes into grounding shoes in around thirty minutes.
I’m very happy with the result, I’m looking forwards to more outdoor tai chi training now that I can wear grounding training shoes.
Thanks to Earth Runners for another innovative product!
My custom grounded tai chi shoes for outdoor training using the Shoe Sync Earthing Shoes DIY Kit, now I’m more ‘grounded’ in my training!
Would I recommend this product? The verdict – yes I highly recommend it, if you’re into grounding and earthing for health benefits, you’ll love this DIY kit, provided you have at least some basic DIY skills to install it. I’m impressed with how well the kit is put together, like the rest of Earth Runners products, a lot of through has gone into this to deliver a quality product once again.
Deep Green rating for Earth Runners Minimalist Outdoor Sandals is 5 stars!
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