Thursday, November 18, 2010

Invisible Shoes, Steven

Well I had the pleasure to meet Steven and Lena of Invisible Shoes.  Steven came to Austin Texas for a retailer's convention.  I participated in a 5k race put on by the convention sporting the Invisible Shoes and a Invisible Shoe race shirt.   Needless to say, the competition was more than fast, crushing me in their wake.  Still I had a great time.

It was awesome hanging out with Steven and talking about where the company is going.  The future looks bright for Invisible Shoes.

The Invisible Shoes booth

This is a picture of a proto type for the new line of Invisible shoes.

The Invisible Shoes are also getting new colors.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Invisible Shoe - Review

I was graciously sent a pair of the Invisible Shoes to test out.  In general I think these are a blast to run in. 

Observations for dry warm conditions
  • When running in Invisible Shoes it is like the world has been carpeted with rubber.
  • The shoes give you the ability to run on roads like chip-seal, that you could never run barefoot on.
  • When running in these, you get a sense of freedom, that covered shoes simply don't provide.
  • You will still need to watch your step, because the occasional rock will still hurt if stepped on (I know this from experience).
Observations for wet conditions.
  • I don't think these are the best solution when the weather is rainy and wet. Your foot tends to slip (at least mine do) within the sandal.  I do wonder if the soles were reverse if this might help with the inner traction issue. 
  • Running on morning grass also seems to be a problem if there is a lot of moisture. 
  • I did notice that tightening the rope more than normal helps keep the foot secure during wet conditions.  I will probably have to try this a few more times to see if I can find the optimal lace-up.  
Observations for cold conditions.
    • I don't have any data to go on right now.  It is still quite warm here in Austin, Texas.  Oh yea.

    • Invisible Shoe are a fantastic deal.
    • Definitely get the custom kit.   It is actually quite fun designing your own shoe.  
    • You will most likely need thicker soles if you're going on rough terrain.  
    • Another neat factor is the minimalist look you have when running in these sandals.  Observant people will often stare wondering what the heck you're running in.  
    • Invisible shoes also give you plenty of options on how to lace up the sandals.  If something feels a little weird, you have many other options to choose from.

    Thursday, October 7, 2010

    Barefoot Running

    Here is another great book called Barefoot Running by Michael Sandler.   

    Learn how to transition into barefoot running with step by step instruction on form and technique.

    The book also covers
    • Building balance, strength, endurance
    • Building strong feet, legs, hips, muscles, tendons & joints
    • Developing strong pads on the bottoms of your feet
    • Training routines including cross training
    • How to use shoes as a helpful tool
    • Adjusting to different surfaces & terrain

    Tuesday, September 28, 2010

    The Barefoot Running Book

    Looking for some advice on Barefoot running, you might want to check out "The Barefoot Running Book" by Jason Robillard. 

    Jason has a website called the Barefoot Running University.

    Injinji, Toe Socks

    When the temps drop, Injinji might be just the ticket.  Barefoot running can be a little cold during the cooler months, so it would be nice to have something to cover those feet.  Injinji makes Toe and Split Toe socks. 

    Saturday, September 25, 2010

    Born To Run

    Here is an excellent book to get you pumped for barefoot running.  Born to Run presents a philosophy of exercise that is as old as the human race, but somehow has been forgotten. 

    The essence of running is not grim determination, but sheer enjoyment.

    Anatomy of Barefoot Running

    Here is a great picture of why barefoot running can be better than using traditional running shoes.

    Luna Sandals, Barefoot Ted's Adventure

    Here are some more Huarache Running Sandals known as Luna Sandals produced by Barefoot Ted's Luna Sandal Company.  They are made in the Pacific Northwest of the U.S.

    Leadville - Luna Sandals ($84.95)

    Luna Sandal with Copper Brown Suede Top ($64.95)

    Wednesday, September 15, 2010

    Hyper Vest

    The Hyper Vest by Hyper Wear is a fantastic product.  The first run I did with the vest was an hour.  The vest was awesome.  It felt like a second skin.  I next wore the vest on an extremely hilly 5 mile run.  Again the vest worked perfectly.  I found given the same workout I lost about a pound more in weight.  The next day I ran without the vest and I felt like I was flying.  Nothing like instantly loosing 5lbs.

    The Pros
    • Side Slide Cords allow for a lot of adjust-ability
    • Ability to increase weight of the vest from 5lbs to 20lbs for the small and medium vests and 5lbs to 40lbs for the large and extra large vests.
    • The vest acts like a second skin once zipped up and adjusted.
    The Cons
    • The vest gets a little warm on hot days. Not much you can do about this.
    • It sometimes is hard to zip the vest back up if zipped down during hard workout sessions.
    What I Would Change
    • Add Slide Cords to the shoulder area for more adjust-ability.
    • Add some type of hooks to the front, which would allow the vest to be unzipped yet still secure.
    My Modifications
    • None
    Usuful Tips
    • Get the base model first with 5lbs. You may find that is all you need in your workouts.
    Overall Evaluation
    • 9 out of 10

    Friday, September 10, 2010

    Nathan Sports HPL #020

    Nathan Sports' HPL #020 is an amazing hydration vest. I say vest because it is worn more like a vest rather than a pack. I had heard many great things about the Nathan HPL hydration vest, so I being new to Ultras, was ready to give it a go. The first run I did with the vest was a short, but hilly 10 miler. The vest felt great and seemed to move with me as I ran. When I needed some fluids I simply grabbed the bite valve and sucked some fluids in. One thing that stood out immediately for me, was how noisy the water was sloshing around. It became pretty annoying after a while, but at some point I tuned it out. The 2nd run I did using the Nathan vest (20 miles), I decided to swap out the Nathan badder for a Camelback one that I had laying around. This was an immediate improvement and drastically reduced the sloshing noise. Now on some of the other Nathan vests they have included pegs to hold the Nathan bladder more securely in the pack. I am not sure why this was omitted from the HLP, but it would be a welcome addition.

    The Pros
    • Front pockets allow for easy access to GUs, Power bars or whatever nutrition you carry.
    • Shoulder straps really feel comfortable.
    • The shoulder straps are wide, but still lightweight and breathable.
    • Having bungee on the back of the vest allows for extra storage of cloths.
    The Cons
    • The vest gets a little warm on the back.
    • The Nathan bladder makes a lot of noise when running. This could be reduced by including the bladder pegs.
    • The actual pack (not the vest) needs to be more durable. The pack materials seem cheap in comparison to a Camelback.
    What I Would Change

    • Redesign the Badder to be more secure in the pack. This would reduce the sloshing. You could do this in two ways, either redesign the pack with some type of compression mechanism or redesign the bladder.
    • Raise the pack off the back to let air flow. Adding small ridges or some other design to allow airflow between the pack and a person's back would make using it cooler.
    • Add two more pockets to the front. Having additional pockets would allow for more food/trash.
    My Modifications
    • Nixed the Nathan bladder and replaced it with Camelback bladder. Another option would be to go to Michael's and buy some bungee cord and some wooden pegs. The HPL bladder has holes where you can pass the pegs through to secure the bladder to the bag.

      Useful Tips
      • Keeping a front pocket empty is perfect for holding trash, such as bar rappers and used GUs/Gels.
        Overall Evaluation -
        • 9 out of 10

        Vibram - FiveFingers Bikila

        Vibram just came out with a running FiveFinger shoe called the Bikila.  The Bikila retails for $100.

        Sunday, September 5, 2010

        Invisible Shoe - Huraches Running Sandles

        I came across a great site called Invisible Shoe.  They sell Huaraches, the running sandals worn by the Taruhumara and give you the freedom of barefoot running while protecting your feet.