Published by RunningPoint on Friday, 26 Sep 2014 10:56 EDT
I have a confession to make. I hate shoes and have for the majority of my years on this planet. Until about 4 years ago, I drank the Kool-Aid that life outside of my home or casual situations required some sort of formal foot covering. This even intruded into my inner-sanctum of me time, the gym and running. I spent my life at home barefoot, and my casual life in a mixture of discount store flip flops, Teva, Chaco, or Birkensock sandals and for the life of me couldn't figure out why. I did some online research (OK I really just Googled “cheap minimal footwear”) and found the magically blossoming world of huaraches. I ditched the gym when they wouldn't allow me in the door without a shoe, and I trashed the running shoes to embark on the much hyped and tirelessly discussed transition to “barefoot” running and never looked back.
Published by RunningPoint on Tuesday, 25 Mar 2014 08:24 EDT
I have been a long time fan, supporter, and promoter of Xero Shoes (originally Invisible Shoes). My first pair of truly minimal shoes was the 4mm Vibram Cherry DIY kit, which I still run in on occasion, and the 4mm Connect & 6mm Contact have become my “go to” road (4mm) and trail (6mm) shoe. I have logged easily 95% of all my running mileage (literally thousands of miles) wearing a Xero Shoes product over the last 4 years, taking breaks from them only to test and review other products. Why go on and on and on about the past? Because you, the reader, need to understand that I know this product, I LOVE this product, I live this product. When there is a fundamental shift in design of such a simple, effective product, it is a big deal to those of us who have a history of not only using the product, but also reviewing and promoting it. Now with that out of the way, let's get to the fun stuff.
Published by RunningPoint on Monday, 13 Feb 2012 16:47 EST
My first and greatest passion in minimal footwear is a good pair of huaraches. I fell in love with the idea of returning to one of the oldest and most basic forms of footwear as I was first researching minimal shoe options, and when I ordered and constructed my first kit I was sold. Back then, there was only two major choices: Invisible Shoe or Barefoot Ted's Luna sandals.
I was excited to see that there was a newcomer on the sandal scene called Unshoes who was offering a lightweight custom made pair of huaraches at a very reasonable price called the Wokova Feather. I was even more excited when I browsed their website and realized that they were also pushing the limits of modernizing a design based on traditional huaraches, most notably updating the lacing system.
The lacing system has always been the biggest complaint that I have seen from people who don't fall in love with their huaraches right away. A traditional style lace is made of a material such as leather, hemp, or a synthetic cord. What's the common issue with all of these materials? They are not at all elastic. There is no “give” in them which can be uncomfortable if they are not tied just right. There have been attempts by other companies to make a more elastic lace, but Unshoes has taken a unique approach to the problem by using a rigid strap with a flexible loop in it.
Published by RunningPoint on Monday, 21 Nov 2011 11:46 EST
Stem Footwear is one of those companies that caught my eye while their product was in the very early phases of development. I was reading an article one day and saw them mentioned and something compelled me to click on the link and check them out. What I found was a rarity in today's market, a company who put just as much (possibly more) effort into promoting their philosophy and values as they did promoting their product. After a thorough reading, I was convinced that Stem was on track to join the list (which I hold close to my heart and take very seriously) of shoe companies where I genuinely admire both the product and the people behind the product.
I contacted them immediately, but they were so early on in the design process that there was no product to test yet. I was completely blown away when I contacted them a second time after the product had launched and they actually remembered me from many months ago and offered to send me the shoe of my choice to test and review. I chose the Survival Origins because I liked the brown color (color is the only difference between all 5 models that Stem offers). They worked closely with me to make sure that I would have a shoe that fit me perfectly, even to the extent of sending me two different sizes to ensure that I would have the best experience possible. I was excited when I got the shipment notice and I thought to myself “If the shoes are even half as good as the customer service, I am in for a treat”.
Published by Ronald on Tuesday, 15 Nov 2011 09:55 EST
Derek introduced me to this small company named Altra in February of this year, which was just around the time we started RunningPoint. He has been following the Altra Adam since they were first announced and he contacted them to get some samples. I asked Derek if he could mention that I wanted the Altra Instinct because at the time, I was running in the Invisible Shoe huaraches and I longed for something that was more of a traditional shoe. I really wanted something with more protection, but not something that might mess up my running form. The Instincts sound perfect for that. They are quite different from any running shoe that I have owned before and my first impressions are very positive. I haven’t run this easily and well for a long time.
Published by RunningPoint on Friday, 11 Nov 2011 15:28 EST
New Balance has released some more info on their upcoming NB Minimus Zero Road and Trail shoes. This time they walk through the design process for the uppers and chronicle some of the challenges they had to overcome. Check out the article on the New Balance site, A Brighter Geometry: Inside the New NB Minimus Zero Uppers
Published by RunningPoint on Thursday, 03 Nov 2011 16:23 EDT
Altra Running was the first company that I contacted when we started RunningPoint. They were also the first company to show any significant interest in what we were about and what we were trying to do with the site. I like to attribute this to that fact that RunningPoint and Altra are very similar in approach and motivation, although we produce an extremely different product. We were motivated to start a website that was written from the perspective of two normal guys who love to run in and talk about minimal shoes, much like the guys at Altra who are runners that decided they could design a better shoe because they couldn't purchase anything that made them happy. We have followed the development of the Altra line and were overjoyed when the time finally came that they could send us a sample of their shoes to test and review. I received a pair of their “barefoot” shoe, the Adam, and Ronald got a pair of Altra's road shoe, the Instinct, which he will provide an initial impression of soon.
Published by Ronald on Monday, 31 Oct 2011 17:53 EDT
Considering the few months that this site has existed and the shoes that we have graciously managed to get from companies to review and give our feedback on, the Mizuno Wave Universe 4 has been a shoe I wanted personally and was very excited about so I decided to purchase a pair for myself. I liked the way it looked and how it was not entirely minimal but pretty close to it. It still has a 4mm heel to toe drop but this was hardly noticeable. As courageous as I am I ordered it blind from the runningwarehouse website without ever having tried a Mizuno brand shoe on before. Thankfully I ordered the right size.
My first impression of this shoe was very positive. Mostly because I like how they look, they just look fast and slightly different from the competition but in a good way. On my first run, I was excited and loved how light they felt. I could really notice the difference in weight compared to some of my other shoes which gave me a rush, thinking I could go a lot faster. I obviously couldn’t, but not many shoes give me the feeling of being able to run a marathon with ease.
After a few more runs, however, I got a blister on my heel because I wore summer socks that were too low. The heel cup on the shoe kept rubbing on my foot. Every run I was forcing myself to believe that I like and enjoy the shoe. I paid a lot for them but they just weren’t doing it for me. Something felt off and I couldn’t really figure out what it was.
Published by RunningPoint on Friday, 23 Sep 2011 15:51 EDT
When we were contacted about Sony Ericsson sending us (free of charge) their new XP111 Fitness Experience Pack for Android based devices and a Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 Mini Pro Android based smart phone to pair it with, we were very excited. We had some good response with Ronald's running app reviews and really wanted to move into reviewing some running gear other than shoes. Thank you Sony Ericsson for giving us the chance to get our “foot in the door”.