The Inaugural Asheville Marathon at the Biltmore - in Luna Sandals (Venado/original)

The Inaugural Asheville Marathon at the Biltmore - in Luna Sandals (Venado/original)

You're out on a run. Your nose is getting stuffy, so you lean to the side for a quick farmer's blow. It's cold out, but you didn't realize how cold until you go to wipe your nose with the back of your glove to clear off any additional moisture -- only to find that it's already frozen around the edge of your nostril in mere seconds.

Welcome to the inaugural Asheville Marathon, held on the grounds of the beautiful Biltmore estate. "Well," I thought dramatically at around mile 20, "At least I'll die somewhere majestic."

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True Linkswear Phx (Minimalist) Golf Shoes Review

True Linkswear Phx (Minimalist) Golf Shoes Review

In early 2011, TRUE linkswear brought barefoot shoes to the attention of golfers everywhere with the first golf shoe designed to be "the closest thing to a barefoot golfing experience as possible." The shoes received rave reviews from golfers as they were the most comfortable shoe they'd ever worn both on and off the course (not much of a surprise coming from traditional shoes). I reviewed the Tour model primarily from a barefoot perspective, and while they weren't the most barefoot feeling shoe I've golfed in, they were definitely the best barefoot shoe built for golfing. You can read my original review of the TRUE linkswear Tour here.

Earlier this year TRUE linkswear released their entire 2012 line with a brand new sole and two new models (the Phx for men and Isis for women). I was able to compare the old and new Tour models, and have been testing out the new Phx for the past couple months. Overall, the new sole greatly improved the look of the shoes without altering the comfortable barefoot feel. The new Phx sports a more casual look at an extremely tempting price.

Read on for my comparison of the old and new Tour minimalist golf shoes and a review of the new TRUE Linkswear Phx.

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xkcd Immortality Vibram FiveFingers (God's Shoes!)

I *do* hear that they're the most comfortable thing to wear on your feet since sliced bread.
The xkcd comic from June 6, 2012, alluding to the magical powers of toe shoes.

Today's xkcd comic pays homage to the mystical powers of toe shoes and to the general initial aversion folks have to wearing them for the first time (despite their supposed awesome goodness). Immmortality Vibram FiveFingers? Sounds a lot like "God's Shoes" to me ...

Personally, I would gladly pay $20 to get this comic on a tshirt. Anyone know Randall Munroe? How can we make this happen? If you'd do this comment below, share this post on facebook, share it on twitter, and let's try and get Randall's attention. Maybe he'd be open to it with enough interest!

Oh right, about the "God's Shoes" — this xkcd just reminds me of the old (prescient) Married with Children episode (from 1991! — Ep. 8 of Season 6) where Al Bundy conjures up shoes with individual and calls them "God's Shoes" Check it:

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Flag-Styled Vibram FiveFingers Classics

Flag-Styled Vibram FiveFingers Classics

Back on May 1, we wrote about the possibility (and first sighting) of Classic Vibram FiveFingers fashioned after certain flags to be released around the time of the Summer Olympics — you can find that post here. At the time, we only had an image of the Denmark-styled FiveFingers; today, I've gotten my hands on all the flag-styled Classics.

There are 5 styles of Olympics/Flag-styled FiveFingers being produced — one each for the United Kingdom, Italy, Australia, Denmark, and the United States. There's just one catch: they'll only be available outside the United States — in Europe or Australia — in limited quantities (likely extremely so). As for availability in the U.S.? We're pretty much out of luck — they'll only be available for purchase in store (not via phone) from the Vibram retail store on Newbury St. in Boston, Massachusetts.

Want to see what all the designs look like (including the U.S. version not glimpsed above)? Hop on after the jump!

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Review of the New Balance Minimus Trail Leather Shoes (MT10)

New Balance recently released the popular Minimus MT10 Trail shoe with a leather upper.
New Balance recently released the popular Minimus MT10 Trail shoe with a leather upper.

New Balance's first minimalist shoe offerings hit the market back in the Spring of 2011. Perhaps their most popular "Minimus" style then, and perhaps even still, was the MT10 or the Minimus Trail (which we've reviewed in depth here and with video here). And while the 2nd generation of Minimus shoes are "Zeros" — so called because they're the same stack height at heel and forefoot — the original Minimus shoes all had a 4mm heel-to-toe drop.

Four millimeters isn't a lot and some might even like the differential, which still allows for a forefoot/midfoot running style but with a little less distance for your heel to travel as it descends and lightly touches the ground before lifting off again (as with a natural running style).

Anyway, the popularity of the original Minimus Trail is probably what led New Balance to offer the MT10 in a couple leather versions — the grey leather Minimus Trails (MT10LG) being seen photoed above and what I'll be talking about today (they offer them in brown leather, too — the MT10LR). Like the looks? Want to know what's up with this shoe? Well read on!

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Interview with Leah Sakellarides

A photo of Leah mid-adventure trekking through the Andes mountains in Peru — wearing her FiveFingers Sprints.
A photo of Leah mid-adventure trekking through the Andes mountains in Peru — wearing her FiveFingers Sprints.

Leah Sakellarides is a runner, blogger (outside of BirthdayShoes), and photographer based out of Southern California.

Below is an interview with Leah that talks about her ideal minimalist shoe (and her dislike of the color pink), transitioning to natural running, and her multifarious endeavors and outdoor adventures!

Why did you switch to minimalist shoes?

I wasn’t sold on minimalist footwear at first. I’ve been a runner my whole life so I was skeptical about all the new kicks that were coming out. I first found out about VFFs when Tim Ferriss, author of the 4-Hour Workweek, started wearing and talking about all the great things about them. So with an open mind I tried the FiveFingers Sprints on at the sporting goods store when they first came out. I couldn’t imagine that they would perform well at all, but I decided to give them a shot anyway. It took a while for me to get used to them and once I did there was no going back! I felt lighter and more nimble than ever in them. Also, my regular running shoes would cause IT band pain in my knee, but all that disappeared with VFFs. Now every time I put a regular running shoe on, it just feels like I’m wearing a platform and my ankle feels like it’s going to roll. It’s just not natural.

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Altra Provision Running Shoe Review

Altra Provision Running Shoe Review

Overview

Meet the Altra Provision as described by Altra Running:

Modeled after The Instinct™ platform, The Provision™ adds a firmer midsole and a removable varus stability wedge to assist men with fallen arches, excessive overpronation and knock knees. Built for moderate and high overpronation, the Zero Drop™ platform, foot-shaped design and stability wedge combine to provide a high level of stability without the excessive bulk and weight of traditional stability shoes. Simply remove the stability wedge to convert this shoe to work for neutral and mild overpronation.

The Altra Provision (like the Altra Instinct) skirts the boundary of the minimalist running shoe category. The Provision is definitely minimal because of its zero heel-to-toe drop and anatomically correct shape (custom for women and men) resulting in a nice wide toe box for proper toe splay and the weight is a bit more than the Instinct, 9.1 oz (258 gr) without the stability wedge, 9.9 oz (281 gr) with it compared to the Instinct which is 8.8 oz (249 gr). The stack height is 20mm which includes the outsole, midsole and removable foam insole (5mm thick). The thickness does limit the amount of ground feel or prioproception however the relatively firm A-Bound™ midsole does still allow some ground feedback.

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