Mar 14, 2012 | 15 comments »
Guest post by Joe Salter
Most didn’t think it’s possible. I mean, how would you swim and juggle? How about biking and juggling? Well, I’ll explain briefly how I got to this goal of juggling while competing in a triathlon. I am a runner, juggler, and joggler.
Joggling (running and juggling) has been around for at least 30 years. I have joggled many marathons in the last 4 years. In juggling, or any endeavor, it’s always a human curiosity to see what’s possible (See this video of demonstrating some joggling tricks). To explore the unknown. To attempt to be the first to “tri” something. I finally decided to embark on the journey of figuring out how this could be done. And to do it safely, efficiently, and gracefully. The Triathlon I am running is the Flora-Bama Mullet Man Triathlon on April 21, 2012.
I’ll be sporting my KSO Vibram FiveFingers for the biking and running legs of the race. They seem to do well on the bike and they are my favorite for running. I just need to practice putting them on fast, so I can save time. Believe it or not, a little fear of mine is how do you get off all of that Florida Beach sand on your feet after the swim and before the biking and running? I guess a bucket of water and a towel should do the trick?
While that question may be dogging me, what your probably wondering is more fundamental: how do I juggle while swimming? Biking? Running? So glad you asked!
Mar 13, 2012 | 14 comments »
Here at BirthdayShoes.com we've provided exhaustive coverage to the new New Balance Minimus Zero line-up for 2012 — including wide reviews of the Minimus Zero Road (MR00) and Minimus Zero Trail (MT00) and a multi-user review of the Zero Road and Trail; it was only a matter of time before we got around to the last Zero from New Balance, a review of the Minimus Life/Wellness (MWOO).
You'll recall that the original New Balance Minimus Life in 2011 was one of my favorite shoes to hit the market — despite the fact they had a small, 4mm differential in sole from heel-to-forefoot.
The new Minimus Zero Life/Wellness is a total reload of the original Life; like the Zero Trail and Road Zeros, New Balance effectively went back to the drawing board with these. Unfortunately, the new shoe leaves a lot to be desired, at least by comparison to the originals — it's minimalist on the things I loved most about the original, it's heavier, isn't as comfortable, and has a swath of other changes that comparatively don't work as well as the first LIfes — but it is "zero-dropped" and if you have no idea what the originals were like, you might really like these (what do I know?).
Read on to learn more and see plenty of photos, per usual!
Mar 12, 2012 | 9 comments »
I suck at distance running.
I won’t say I don’t enjoy it. I do. Running along single tracks through the hilly forests and open fields that surround my Oregon community is pleasurable. (For about a half-hour, especially.) But everything is relative. I mean, when my mountain bike is in good working condition, for example, I could take that on the same trail, with a bit more pleasure for everything over a half-hour. If I have a conflict between a trail run and a pick-up basketball game? Unless the weather is heartbreakingly beautiful, I’m going to ball up.
So why am I planning to run a half marathon?
A half marathon is hundreds of steps longer than I would normally consider a pleasant run. It—at least this one—is also all on streets and paved bike paths. Not a patch of dirt or a single stream crossing. Boo!
Contempt for horses, that’s why.
Mar 8, 2012 | 22 comments »
Altra Footwear made a splash in 2011 as they brought to market a handful of shoes designed to accommodate a natural running style — shoes that were neutral from heel-to-toe—zero-drop—with an anatomically correct design and a foot friendly toe box (Fun-fact: Altra's founders coined the term "zero-drop"). This included offerings like the Altra Instinct (just reviewed) and the beefed up, trail-ready (ultra-ready) Altra Lone Peak. And while the Instinct and Lone Peak have a decent amount of cushion to their soles, not all of Altra's line is so plush: a few weeks back I reviewed Altra Footwear's Adam, a super minimalist shoe that is almost like a pair of KSO FiveFingers without the individual toe pockets.
Fast forward to today and we see Altra Footwear is expanding their more minimal line-up further with the release of the Altra Samson. If I had to characterize the Samson in rapid fashion, I'd say it's almost like a cross between the Altra Instinct and the Altra Adam. The Samson has traditional shoe features like laces and it also has a sewn-in-place midsole with the 3.4 mm rubber outsole of the Adam. It's styled more traditionally (and a bit retro, which is in step with the overarching look of the Instinct and Lone Peak).
Let's dive into a bit more detailed overview and full-on actual comparison to the Adam, including a little video goodness after the jump!
Mar 8, 2012 | Leave a comment »
Merrell just launched an effort to reach and encourage women who are curious about the barefoot/bareform or barefoot-style/natural running movement. You can check out their micro-site here.
This move by Merrell Barefoot is an extension of their ongoing efforts to understand our little weird world of barefooters and minimialist shoes enthusiasts — you see, back in September of 2011, Merrell had a bunch of us bloggers and runners up for the NYC barefoot run, threw us in a windowless room*, and forced us to talk about what's going on with the whole barefoot, barefoot shoes, natural running, etc. movement. They really wanted to hear what we had to say, and incidentally, women and barefoot was a focus of the roundtable discussion we had. This microsite launch is Merrell's first move to take that feedback and run with it.
Why are women and barefoot-style running such a big deal? Well, it turns out it's not, and that's a little curious. You see, I didn't realize this, but according to the National Sporting Goods Association, there are now something like 16.9 million women runners—a 23% increase since 2006—yet women seem to be a minority voice in the minimalist/barefoot running communities.
So Merrell's micro-site is focused on creating awareness about barefoot or barefoot-style running for women. After the jump I'll share a video produced by Merrell that features a few women runners, talk just a little bit more about what you can find on their micro-site, and end with a very cool interview with one of the women in the video — Emily Snayd. Emily is an enthusiastic, super-friendly person who's day-job is spreading the word about Merrell Barefoot — she's been my primary point of contact with Merrell. What's really cool about Emily is that she lives out her interest in barefoot-style or full-off barefoot running when she's not at work&mdsah;it's not just her job and that's pretty cool.
Mar 7, 2012 | 7 comments »
I got a great user story from Evan, who has made it a habit of gifting FiveFingers to his wife Crystal on her birthday! Given the name of this site and it's foundations in FiveFingers, I can't think of a better birthday gift than a new pair of "birthday shoes" — except for maybe a birthday shoes cake!
And that's exactly what Evan did. But before I show off the culinary masterpiece (and cause a little bit of salivation, if I do say so myself), I want to share Evan's story because I think it will really resonate with a lot of you — so many of which aren't runners and didn't get into FiveFingers for running, but rather just wanted to be more in touch with the ground, more comfortable in your shoes, and all around healthier!