Invisible Shoes Impressions by a skeptic

Published by Ronald on Thursday, 04 Aug 2011 10:16 EDT

InvisibleShoe huaraches

InvisibleShoe has been kind enough to give both Derek and I a pair of their new 4mm Connect and 6mm Contact huaraches to test and review. This is extra fun because we have never owned the same footwear and this is the first time we can compare our opinions. Derek is interested because he already owns the 4mm Vibram Cherry Invisible Shoes huaraches and has absolutely fallen in love with them. I don't think I have caught Derek saying anything negative about them, but I am not sold on huaraches yet. It will be interesting to see how our views differ from each other and how differently we approach running in the huaraches. 

Derek lives in the mountains in the eastern United States, and I live in a colder and mostly rainy country (The Netherlands). Sandals are worn here on vacation when you go camping in a country like France or Italy. They are worn when the sun is shining all day and the lovely warm sand is slightly too hot and you have a cold beer in your hand enjoying the sunset. That is when I am accustomed to people wearing sandals/flip flops/huaraches/thongs. So yes, I am a little bit skeptical of the huaraches, but Invisible Shoes has offered me these to test so I will attempt to do so with an open mind.

I will be testing both models from my point of view alone which is very different from Derek’s point of view. He already loves the huaraches and he will post his impressions later. Below is a collection of my observations and ramblings about these sandals and really just my experiences figuring out if they are any good. I have been testing both models for about five days straight, walking in them during the day and doing a short run each evening.

Initial Impressions VIVOBAREFOOT Neo

Published by Ronald on Wednesday, 27 Jul 2011 15:44 EDT


I have wanted these shoes since I had the opportunity to test the VIVOBAREFOOT Evo at a barefoot race in Tilburg a few months ago. They felt excellent, but at that point I was still a new runner and investing such a large sum of money (160 euro) was not in my budget at that time. I kinda regret not getting them now because I could have been running in minimal shoes for the past two months instead of starting now with the VIVOBAREFOOT Neo.

It took a while to receive the shoes, so that gave me ample time to do some research.  I am a worrier, and the more I found out about the VIVOBAREFOOT Neo, the more I worried. I started to wonder if this was more of a casual shoe in lieu of a running shoe. I worried: Will they be too heavy? Are they way too minimal? Will they ventilate properly with so much fabric? They market the Neo as a performance shoe which could really mean just about anything.

Initial Impression of Soft Star Shoes Moc3

Published by RunningPoint on Monday, 25 Jul 2011 14:35 EDT

Soft Star Shoes was one of the first companies that I discovered when I started searching for a truly minimal shoe over a year ago. Their products always caught my interest but as a beginning barefoot runner I just couldn't commit to buying a pair of RunAmocs. They were a bit too radical in appearance, minimalism, and honestly price. Now, as a more seasoned barefoot runner I was excited to see that Soft Star was introducing two new models, the DASH RunAmoc and the Moc3. Soft Star graciously offered to provide me with my choice of either model to review and test and encouraged me to explore their website so that I could make the choice that would fit me best. I was very impressed by the Soft Star Shoes “Elves” (as they call themselves) who were nothing but gracious and helpful while I made my tough decision on which model of shoe to choose. I was finally won over by the Moc3 due to the fact that the shoe was a slip-on and that the sole was a 2mm Vibram specially cut to allow extra flexibility while running.

Mizuno Wave Universe 4 Initial Impressions

Published by Ronald on Friday, 15 Jul 2011 07:43 EDT

Mizuno Wave Universe 4 shoes

I got these a few days ago and, even though I was supposed to take a rest, I couldn’t resist doing a short thirty minute run in them just to see how they feel. I was curious about how they would perform because they were very light and pretty flexible compared to what I am used to. 

I like the way the shoe looks. They look much better than the Mizuno Wave Universe 3 and, being Dutch, the orange color fits me perfectly. The decorative flames make the shoe look fast as well and helps keep the upper mesh in shape when you take the shoe off.  

Review of VIVOBAREFOOT Ultra

Published by RunningPoint on Wednesday, 06 Jul 2011 15:56 EDT

I have been interested in trying out some VIVOBAREFOOT shoes for quite some time, but have been wary to blindly order shoes on the internet since there is no place close for me to try their shoes on before I purchase. When VIVOBAREFOOT offered to send me a pair of shoes to test and review I was very excited. I decided that since they were nice enough to send me a free pair of shoes, I should go for a model that I normally would not purchase. I love to run in sandals but the idea of a zero drop, fully molded foam, waterproof running shoe quite frankly piqued my interest so I jumped on the chance to get a pair of the VIVOBAREFOOT Ultra. After a great initial impression, I set out to take the Ultras through the paces of daily life with me which involves standing for 40+ hours a week at work, chasing kids after work and on the weekends, and of course running in the mountains of Western North Carolina.

VIVOBAREFOOT Ultra Initial Impressions

Published by RunningPoint on Friday, 10 Jun 2011 08:13 EDT

VIVOBAREFOOT was nice enough to send me a pair of their new Ultras "a light-weight barefoot amphibious running shoe" for me to put through the paces. I received them yesterday just before Noon and was off for a run by 12:30, I can't stand to get new running shoes and not run in them within an hour. This gives me a very quick and very early impression of how the shoes will perform without clouding my judgment by standing around in them and going about daily life for a few days before I get to run. My first impression of the Ultras? I'm pleasantly impressed, and I'll tell you why below.

Review of Merrell Trail Glove

Published by RunningPoint on Thursday, 19 May 2011 14:23 EDT

Merrell Trail GloveI know that I have stated in an earlier post that I probably wouldn't do a review of the Merrell Trail Glove due to the fact that there were already so many reviews out there and that they are all so nauseatingly positive. Well, I'm going to recant that statement and do a review anyhow, but with a bit of a different spin. I do not run in my Trail Gloves and I really have no desire to. I have put a few miles on them and they performed beautifully. My main issue with running in them is that they were designed to excel on trails and at this point in my running life, I live on asphalt. Another issue is that I am fully in love with my huaraches and the more natural running experience that they provide. The Merrells are an awesome minimal running shoe but compared to the huaraches, they still have a lot of structure and therefore they alter the way your foot interacts with the ground. I personally prefer the way running in the huaraches makes my body feel and therefore have not taken the Trail Gloves out much at all, I probably have 10 miles of running on them. Why do I ramble on about why I haven't run in my Trail Gloves? Because I wanted it to be fully clear that this is not a review of running in them, but a review of wearing them daily for general use. They have become my new favorite shoe for general use and I love them dearly.

Review of Runkeeper app

Published by Ronald on Tuesday, 22 Mar 2011 08:56 EDT

runkeeper logoRunkeeper is a running app that will work on android, iPhone and blackberry (my bad its not available on blackberry). It’s a pretty popular app and recently their pro version became free making it perhaps one of the most feature rich apps available.

How does it work?

Besides having tons of features, it’s still quite easy to use. You can pick what activity you want to do. Then just press start activity and you are done. There is one small note though, It will start the activity whether or not you have GPS signal. I often startied an activity and had to press pause really quickly and then wait until it had a good GPS signal to start my run. I found this pretty annoying.

The first time I ran with it, Runkeeper scared the hell out of me. Apparently it mentions every 5 minutes how far you have run and what your pace was. It does it in a pre-recorded (I think) voice making it sound quite nice.

Review of running app Sportypal

Published by Ronald on Wednesday, 16 Mar 2011 15:54 EDT

Sportypal logo I really wanted to find the best running app so I decided to check out a few of them and write a concise but complete review on them. I’m starting with sportypal since I know that one the best. However at the time of writing this I’ve already been testing other apps. So if there are any questions on how this compares to other apps feel free to ask.

What is Sportypal?

Sportypal is a running app that can track your runs, walks, cycling or any other activity. Sportypal aims to be intuitive and very simple to use which it seems to do very well. It works on any android, iPhone, Symbian or blackberry. I briefly tried it on my old Nokia and it seemed to work very similar to the version on my android phone.

Review of Invisible Shoes Huaraches Part 2

Published by RunningPoint on Tuesday, 08 Mar 2011 16:00 EST

In case you haven't read Part 1 of my Invisible Shoes huaraches review, here's a bit of recap. Huaraches are one of the most basic forms of footwear and consist only of a material that protects the bottom of the foot and a lace to secure them. They have been used specifically by the Tarahumara Indians and have been popularized by Chris McDougall's book Born to Run. Steven Sashen of Invisible Shoes decided to modernize the huaraches and offers a DIY kit on his website or he will custom make you a pair.

Part 1 of this review chronicled the process of me measuring, cutting, and assembling my DIY kit. Part 2 is my review of running in the huaraches.


huaraches side viewWhen you are dealing with a shoe that is designed for this extreme level minimalism, I'm not sure that appearance is even a factor. I personally like the way the huaraches look. When the laces are tied in the slip on method (which I use), they retain a bit of shape and look like a very stripped down version of any sport sandal from manufacturers like Teva or Chaco.

The only area to add a splash of personality to these shoes is in your choice of laces. There are quite a few choices for lace color with the DIY kit and I chose the black laces. I am glad I did so since I have adopted the huaraches as daily wear around the office and out in public. huaraches at workThe black laces help to not make my footwear a focal point, especially around the office. I am proud to wear them anywhere and have gotten nothing but overwhelmingly positive comments about them. There are no second thoughts involved with wearing the huaraches out in public like there would be with FiveFingers.


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