Tuesday, April 5, 2011

New Shoes!

New shoes, skull socks and sexy legs!
After the Moab Spring race, I knew I needed a new pair of trail shoes.  The VFF's have a lot of advantages, but weren't quite there.  My LaFuma's feel like bricks now.  There's got to be some middle ground....

So I went down to the local running shoe store to see what they had.  I was determined to stay with a minimalist shoe, but I needed something trail oriented.  I first tried the New Balance 101's.  The felt mostly good, but they squeezed my outer toes.  The Merrell Trail Glove felt good with a larger toe box, but I felt like was going to slide around in them.  So after reading a review of the Innov-8 Bare-Grip 200's and a recommendation from a friend, I ordered a pair from runningwharehouse.com. 

With the option of sending them back before I wore them outside, I tried them on inside.  They fit well in the toe box, had a nice flexible sole with no heel lift and a great bright lime-green color so people can find me if I get lost...

Aggressive lug, very breathable uppers and a color that can be seen from space.

I decided I like them enough to try them (i.e. use them so I can't send them back) out with the High Plains Harriers group run tonight.  Luckily, we decided to run on "The Prairie" so I could give them a proper test.

The first thing I noticed is that they suck on pavement.  Lots of flexibility with large cleats on pavement means that your feet really feel the cleats.  But once we hit the dirt they worked great.  Now those big soft cleats were giving great traction.

Being a "minimalist" shoe, it was very similar to the VFF's I have been running in.  No shock absorption meant my feet had to work, it felt great.  I was very happy.

But soon we were on the "slick rock" covered with rock, similar to what gave me problems in Moab.  It was here where I really wanted to test them!  First of all, with the soft sole, I could feel the rocks.  Ouch!  But the aggressive lug also helped to soak a lot of it up.  Ahh!  As we put in a 10k run, alternating between soft dirt, slickrock littered with rock and just rocky trail (and some snow!), I grew to like them.  I did fall behind a bit on some of the sections of slickrock.  I had to pay close attention to where I stepped.  I think that is going to come to with any minimalist shoe.

By the end, my feet were sore, but I think that will get better with practice and conditioning.


They are lightweight!  I can't emphasize how great this is...  This will also make them better to pack on other AR's.

They have a big toe box.  After running in VFF's, I can't stand anything that mashes my toes.

They have the flexible sole with no heel lift.  My feet can perform like they need to.

The aggressive tread.  No slipping with these; your feet stay where you plant them.  They really dug in on the hills.

Demonstrating the flexibility of the sole.


The flexible sole.  I could still feel the rocks.  I do somewhat miss the hard strike plate like my LaFuma's have.  The Merrell Trail Glove has this too.

The big cleats.  Paired with the flexible sole, it makes these an off-road only shoe.

Overall, I am very happy with my purchase.  And now that I know where "The Prairie" is I will be trying them more often.

Happy Trails!!