Feb 21, 2012 | 23 comments »
In a follow up to the first look at the New Balance Minimus Road Zeros (the red pair in these photos), I’ve recently had the opportunity to test out a wide version of the Minimus Road Zeros in a lime green/yellow colorway.
It's exciting that the Minimus Zero line will feature wide versions of the shoes as at least a few minimalist- or barefoot-style running enthusiasts have wider than normal feet. Meanwhile, others might find they'd prefer a wider fit to the shoe, a little more room in the toe box to splay your toes, and a little bit more room throughout the instep.
I really like the Minimus Road Zeros and in the initial review I commented:
Overall, they are quite comfortable and so far my only qualm has been with the narrow width of sole under the arch of my foot. I have rather wide feet and my foot strains the soft uppers and spills over onto the inside of the sole. I haven’t experienced this problem with either the Minimus Trail or the Minimus Trail ZERO (discussed below) so going up a half size here might be one potential solution.
Thankfully, I won't need to go up a half size after all: New Balance is producing the Minimus Road Zeros in a 2E wide version of the shoe! Speaking from just a visual point of view, you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference in the widths, but the minor alterations make a big difference once you have them on your feet. From what I can tell, the soles are exactly the same width, with the difference coming in how roomy the uppers are.
As comfortable as I’ve found the “normal” width Road Zeros to be, the tightness underneath my arches I experienced has been completely resolved and the 2E fits me perfectly. In addition to the arch area, I also have a little more wiggle room across the top of the toebox and by my little toe. The heel and the back half of the shoe appear to remain unchanged.
Photos and more after the jump!
Feb 19, 2012 | 13 comments »
You have seen a few posts about the new Vibram FiveFingers Speed colorways that have been released this month. I was quite fond of the Orange and Green pair as well as the Brown and Tan pair. Once I saw that they were available at TravelCountry, I jumped on the chance to pick up both of them. For budget's sake I skipped picking up the blue and white pair so I will not really be talking about those in this article.
Both of the Brown/Tan and Orange/Green pair of Speeds offer a bold new alternative to the classic Black and White colorway Vibram originally released. I know the Orange/Green pair might not be everyone's cup of tea but for some it provides a colorful new option. Meanwhile, the Brown/Tan pair provides a fantastic dressy addition to the FiveFingers family.
For more pictures of both of the colorways keep reading after the break!
Feb 17, 2012 | 14 comments »
Vibram recently posted on their Facebook fan page their take on a popular internet meme — how people see me. You know, typically a six pane knockdown around misconceptions about things you do, your job, etc. It's constructed by taking some popular archetypes — society, friends, parents, coworkers, whatever — and simplifying how they must view you. It's almost always hilarious because it really captures the difference between how things appear to outsiders versus how things really are to insiders. Anyway, you can see Vibram's take on the "how you see me" meme — it's pretty hilariously accurate, I think.
However, I think Vibram is being too nice in their "reality" pane and besides, not everyone into toe shoes is a runner, right? I thought I might do better and like any good Internet denizen, I decided to riff on their "Vibram FiveFingers fan 'How you see me'" by completing it with my own "reality" pane — one that, I think, gets at something most toe shoe fans know firsthand — something that you're very unlikely to bring up when you're pitching the shoes to your friends and family!
What do you think?
How would you complete this picture? If you want to do your own take, email it to me and I'll share it below AND I'll send you a free sticker (You just have to send it in by Monday, Feb. 20 at 5pm to get the sticker!).
Additional submissions after the jump!
Feb 16, 2012 | 17 comments »
The toe shoes market is soon to get another contender from none other than Body Glove, one of the leading manufacturers of water sports apparel, in the form of a three-toed shoe. You read that right. Three. First you had FiveFingers with, well, of course, five toe pockets; then the Fila Skele-toes with four; and now we're down to three!* I guess we've already got two-pocketed toe shoes in the form of Tabi Shoes, so Body Glove is just filling in the niche with the 3T here!
The Body Glove 3T Barefoot Technology is coming Spring 2012 and sports the following features (as noted in the official product spec sheet above):
- Three toe pockets: the smallest three toes get one pocket to "work together to increase stability and control." This should make them pretty easy to put on, to boot.
- "Just your foot, protected"
- "Hybrid" for use in and out of the water
- A "IDS" (Integrated Drainage System): through-the-sole drainage system to let out water (or let air circulate)
My contact at Body Glove indicates that these are geared specifically for kayaking or stand-up paddle boarding, though I'm sure they could be used in just about any water application.
What I don't know (yet):
- If the upper is made out neoprene or something else (I'd guess it is).
- How thick the (presumedly) rubber sole is; how flexible is the sole?
- Are these neutral from heel to toe?
My first impression, which are necessarily general given how much I don't know about these toe shoes, is that it looks like an interesting design to round out your toe shoes options. While I joke about the "three toes," I can't help but think about my experience with Flow FiveFingers, which are neoprene and separate all five toes. While many have worn Flows for winter running, it's very easy for your little toes to get cold if you're not moving enough due to the tightness of the neoprene and the lack of the little toes being able to heat each other as with a more typical "mitten" design; perhaps putting the three smaller toes in one pocket will solve this issue while still providing a greater "barefoot" feeling through separating the largest metatarsels.
All in all, toe shoes get a lot of their benefits through the separation of the toes (See: why toe shoes?) as individual pockets allow a minimal, flexible-soled shoe to move with your foot as your toes bend, splay, and flex. Could there be an ideal compromise between separating all the toes, which leaves at least one or two more susceptible to snagging on rocks (and breaking) and still maintaining some (or all) of the benefits of articulated toes? I don't know.
What do you think about these? Interested in a three toe option for water sports or winter running wear? Sound off in the comments!
* This is at least a little reminiscent of the "Seven Minute Abs? I'm going to invent 'Six Minute Abs?'" line from Something About Mary; or perhaps a reverse of the number-of-blades escalation you get with disposable razors
Feb 13, 2012 | 39 comments »
A number of readers have emailed in about Swiss Barefoot Company's "Swiss Protection Sock," a five-toed sock made of 50% Kevlar, 32% polyester, 8% spandex, and 10% cotton that laminated with "naps" of "eco-friendly" PVC that makes it cut resistant. It's touted as providing "absolute" or "perfect" barefoot feeling, presumedly because it's mostly just a sock. It sounds almost too good to be true.
The socks come in two versions, one of which (at least) is emblazoned with a Swiss cross cast in the red knitted fabric. Both of them are going to set you back a pretty penny (for a pair of socks, anyway) — upwards of $80 USD (59 EUR).
Video, pictures, and a few thoughts after the jump!
Feb 10, 2012 | 2 comments »
The Men's and Women's Spyridon LS and SeeYa FiveFingers are out! That means two things:
- You can order them online now from CitySports with Free Shipping:
- There are contest winners! See below!
We've reviewed all these shoes on BirthdayShoes (Peep our reviews here: SeeYa; Spyridon LS) if you're looking for more information. As far as sizing is concerned, these suckers size in line with the KSO/Bikila sizing (if you already know what VFF size you are).
Here are some photos of what's out there (the men's and women's Spyridon LS colorways are the same). There will be more colorways in both the Spyridon LS and SeeYa available in time, but if you want to be on the bleeding edge of toe shoes, well, you gotta take what you can get!
SEEYA Winner: firstname.lastname@example.org
Spyridon LS Winner: email@example.com
If those email addresses match yours, well, expect an email from me shortly to get your size/address information!
Sticker winners (all 20 of you!) will be emailed separately ASAP!
Finally, I've got TWO MORE email giveaway contests underway for the next month or so that I've not even announced, but the winners will be pulled from the email distribution list, just like here, and the prizes will be brand new models minimalist shoes (details will be announced soon!). So keep on subscribin'!