A lot of my running friends have blogs where they regularly review minimalist footwear. Because of this, they get free shoes and running gear from various companies. Although I’ve dabbled in reviewing minimalist shoes, the result hasn’t been great for me. The first shoe I reviewed cut both my feet and that scared me off.
Although I prefer to run completely barefoot, sometimes that’s not possible. The terrain might be too rough, the sidewalks too hot, or my soles might just need a break. But I don’t want to stop running. So I really need something – a thin layer between my feet and the earth – to allow me to continue doing what I love.
I’ve had my Vibrams since October and I now have 1104kms on them. They don’t fit me anymore because my feet have grown longer and wider. I tried cutting off the straps as well as cutting slits into the sides so they will expand, but they’re still uncomfortably tight.
A while ago I was lucky enough to win a pair of Unshoes from my friend Christian’s blog, which I’ve been wearing as sandals. However, when I try to run in them, they just don’t work well for me. So I’m down to zero minimalist shoes.
Two weeks ago I took on a job where I was required to wear dress shoes. I thought fine, no big deal. I ransacked my closet and pulled out all my old pairs of shoes from before I started running barefoot. To my horror, it was a scene from Cinderella. I was the ugly stepsister who couldn’t get her fat foot into anything.
Suddenly it dawned on me: I have no shoes. I have NO SHOES I can wear outside. Literally zero. I’m like a real live hobo.
My employer already scolded me for wearing my Unshoes to work, so when I emailed him recently and told him I couldn’t meet the dress code again for my next shift because I had no shoes, he thought I was the weirdest female on earth. I later learned that my employer personally owns over 100 pairs of shoes. And he’s a dude. He shakes his head at my shenanigans and mutters, “You and your running…”
Somehow I manage to stumble through life without any real shoes. When I was in school, I’d run to class in my Vibrams. During class I’d throw on these dirt cheap slippers that looked like boots on the outside, but had no soles. So I couldn’t step outside for lunch or anything because it was winter and they’d get wet and everyone would see they were just slippers (not actually boots).
Then one day I gave a presentation on barefoot running in class, and after that I could get away with walking around in socks. By the end of the school year, a few other classmates were also walking around in their socks and I thought that was awesome.
For work recently, I managed to find a pair of black sandals I could slip into. I wore black socks underneath so they kind of look like a shoe, and nobody notices that they’re not. For running though, I still have a problem.
I wrote to both Merrell and Luna this week to see if they could send me some shoes to review. Merrell was pretty quick to turn me down in what looked like a form letter. It made me wonder whether anyone had read my email at all. But Barefoot Ted responded to me personally and generously offered to send the next version of the Original Luna Sandal – the same sandal that my uncle Pat Sweeney runs in.
I’m really excited about the Lunas because I’m going to be doing a lot of running in sunny California this fall, and I have a feeling the Lunas could be a perfect fit. Plus Sweeney is one of my idols.
I recently read my friend Christian’s incredibly detailed review on seemingly every minimalist sandal known to man and thought, what can I possibly say that hasn’t already been said in a shoe review?
I mulled on that question for a bit, and here’s what I came up with:
1. I can put shoes through hell and back.
I trash shoes. I run them on mud, through tall grass, on gravel, on roads, pavement, dirt, roots, I even climb trees. My feet are where shoes come to die. If a shoe can survive me for a week, it’s a damn good shoe.
2. I can put shoes through incredible mileage.
In a short time, I got my Vibrams up to over 1104 km and my mileage is only getting higher. I could run forever in a shoe and see if it actually holds up. I can take it beyond the shorter trots generally used for review purposes. I can test what it’s like when running for 5+ hours on rougher trails and uneven ground. I can tell you if it’s going actually stay on your foot for an ultra or if it’s going to break your heart at mile 30 (my last shoe review ripped and cut me at 34 miles).
None of the minimalist shoes I’ve tried have lasted very long when put up to the mileage and terrain that I really need them for. So I’m eager to test the new Lunas.
I’ve admired Ted from afar for a while now, so climbing where he took some of his barefoot steps in his shoes (literally) will be an experience not lost on me.
I seem to be slowly finding my place as a barefoot/minimalist runner and I think Lunas might be part of my development. I’m lucky to be part of such an inspiring community.
HOLISTIC NUTRITION BOOK GIVEAWAY WINNER
The winner of last week’s Holistic Nutrition Book Giveaway is….. KRISTIN OVERTON!
Congrats Kristin! Email your address to firstname.lastname@example.org so I can send out your prize!