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Not much break-in is needed. I wore them hiking with little break-in, and it was fine. I didn't have any problems with debris, but small particles could enter around your foot, as with any sandal.
The thick, tough soles made my feet feel very supported. I feel like I can walk on any surface without the fear of feeling rocks beneath my feet (my feet are protected from the environment). The traction of these sandals was pretty good. I hiked downhill during some points in the path without fear of slipping.
The sole of these sandals (inside and out) is waterproof and it dries quickly after being wet. Even though the straps are cloth, they didn't feel uncomfortable when wet (they dried in the sun fairly quickly). I haven't had any trouble with smell, as well.
I have used these sandals over the course of one summer (so far) and I feel that they are going to last for many summers to come. They are well-made and don't show any signs of wearing out yet. I have used these sandals to hike up mountain paths (uneven, rocky surfaces), walking around town (shopping), and even in the canoe.
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