Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Great Stride

Here's a guy whose stride is worth studying.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Best Tee Shirt Ever!

I ran this morning in the Lake Mary Community 5K, a fund raising event for Lake Mary High School. It was a first-class event sponsored by my friends Eric and Stacey Bartos, the owners of Fleet Feet Sports Orlando. As I was lining up for the start, I noticed a woman wearing this tee shirt. To tell you the truth, when the race was over I didn't have the heart to see whether or not she beat me but I'm sure that plenty of people got a glimpse of the back of her shirt as she flew past them!
My favorite race tee shirt of all time.

Friday, April 29, 2011

The Inestimable Ken Bob Saxton

The Godfather of barefoot running featured on WABC-TV in New York.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Even The Thinnest Soles Make A Difference

In my last post, I mentioned that I prefer running barefoot to running in any of the minimalist shoes on the market. Today, I came across this post from the alway excellent Matt Fitzgerald that provides some support for this position:
It bears mentioning also that running in Vibrams is not running barefoot. Vibrams have as much weight as the lightest racing flats and they alter running mechanics. Research suggests there’s a binary difference between shod and unshod running. Even the thinnest soles change how we run.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The VIVOBAREFOOT Neo by Terra Plana

Let’s start out with this premise: For all but the most doctrinaire, it’s simply not practical to run completely barefoot all the time.While I run barefoot whenever I can and generally prefer barefoot running to any sort of minimalist footwear, there are certain situations in which I’ll always opt to have something on my feet. A few of those:
  • A route that is know to be sharply textured, especially one with sharp gravel fixed in asphalt
  • Any route that is substantially unknown
  • Running at night in areas that are not well lit
  • After a rainstorm when there’s lots of standing water
Up until a couple of weeks ago, I’d tried a few different options and gotten decidedly mixed results. One was the footwear that most of us seeking a minimalist alternative have tried, Vibram FiveFingers, another was huarache sandals from Barefoot Ted (now rebranded as Luna Sandals), and a third option I explored was the Nike Free 5.0.

The Neo: A great option when barefoot isn't possible.
Vibrams might be a great alternative for runners with perfect feet but, unfortunately, I don’t fall into that category. I’ve got a mild instance of Morton’s Toe (both feet) and a moderate bunion (left foot), two conditions for which Vibrams are not particularly accommodating. Huaraches provided an inconsistent experience for me, with pretty dramatic variations depending on ground conditions and how skillfully I lace them up on any given run. Also, as I worked my way through several pairs of huaraches over a period of months, I seemed to find myself encountering equipment problems (both laces and soles) regularly and always at the most inopportune times. Compared to most running shoes, the Nike Frees are certainly a step in the right direction but let’s not kid ourselves: Only the most expansive definition of the term “minimalist” would allow this model to fall into that category. (Are they more minimalist than, say, the Brooks Beast? Absolutely. Do they provide for a barefoot feel and stride? In a word... no.)

So, what’s a barefoot runner to do? One great answer for me came when the folks at Terra Plana sent me a pair of their new VIVOBAREFOOT model, the Neo.

Even before you’ve finished unpacking the shoes, it’s easy to see that you’re dealing with a carefully crafted product. Like Apple, Terra Plana uses its packaging to communicate something about the company, its products, and its values. The message is simple and straightforward: We care about our products and pay attention to every detail.

And when you lace these babies up, they don’t disappoint. The Neos look great and feel even better.

Actually, I’ve reviewed Terra Plana products before and, to tell you the truth, I’ve always been keenly disappointed that the company never adopted a line from that review that I thought would have been a great slogan: A shoe doesn't have to look like a glove to fit like one. Terra Plana's inexplicable failure to recognize my copywriting prowess notwithstanding (!), that line works just as well when it comes to this shoe. My Neos fit perfectly and, unlike Vibram FiveFingers, wearers don’t need a set of instructions to put them on properly.

Resting after a comfortable 10k race.
Which brings us to the point at which the rubber meets the road. (Normally, of course, that would be a cliché. In this context, though, it’s literally true!) These shoes feel terrific and barely insinuate themselves between you and the ground when you’re out running. I’ve taken my Neos out for several training runs as well as a 10k road race and enjoyed every mile. The toe box is ample, allowing your feet to land as naturally as possible. And the sole is thin enough to keep you connected to the ground but strong enough to provide some protection. And they’re puncture-proof.

Terra Plana’s previous entry into the running shoe market, the EVO, was a fine shoe but a bit on the pricey side. The Neo, on the other hand, is priced at $130.00, not far from the “sweet spot” in the still-developing market for minimalist running shoes.

Will I adopt the Neo as an everyday trainer? Probably not; I still prefer the Full (barefoot) Monty whenever possible. But on those occasions when barefoot isn’t going to work for me, these beauties could be my shoe of choice for the foreseeable future.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

New VIVOBAREFOOT Model Arrives

Well, these beauties—Terra Plana's new Neo model—showed up this afternoon. I'm looking forward to putting some miles on them over the next few days and reporting back to you. As for initial impressions, the quality is impressive and the design is elegant. More soon...
New from Terra Plana

Friday, March 4, 2011

Dr. Betty Smith... Incredible

You will absolutely want to check out this interview from VIVOBAREFOOT featuring Dr. Betty Smith, a 70 year old barefoot-style runner. Amazing.

Dr. Betty Smith Interview from vivobarefoot on Vimeo.