Sensori Venture Xero Shoes (P)review!

Sensori Venture Xero Shoes (P)review!

Xero Shoes has started teasing their impending release of the Xero Shoes Sensori Venture, an out-of-the-box ready, huaraches-inspired design that takes the guesswork out of tying a pair of everyone's-favorite-barefoot-sandals, employing a wholly new lace configuration.

Well, I'm happy to throw fuel to the fire as I've snapped a slew of photos of the Sensori Ventures to share with you via a "preview" today thanks to Steven shooting me an early pair to check out. Soon, we'll have a full review from James, our veritable huaraches (and Xero Shoes) expert!

Read on!

Read the rest of this post »

VivoBarefoot Rooty Kids Minimalist Shoe Review

VivoBarefoot Rooty Kids Minimalist Shoe Review

As my oldest daughter's feet grow, her options for kids minimalist/barefoot?healthy?shoes increase. Unfortunately, the number of not-so-healthy, heavy, and clunky shoes also increase (Avi's four-year-old friends all have light up shoes, which generally are anything but light?and mommy and daddy recently cavedgranted her birthday wish and got her a pair).

Today I'll be reviewing my 4 year-old's Vivo Barefoot Rootys. VivoBarefoot sent the BirthdayShoes household a pair of size 25 (US size 9) Rootys a few months back for Avi to try out and "review" (via me!). The short of it is that they are a great choice and have held up well to kid-sized wear and tear.

Read on for photos and details!

Read the rest of this post »

Golf-Specific Barefoot/Toe Shoes to Come From Vibram FiveFingers?

Golf-Specific Barefoot/Toe Shoes to Come From Vibram FiveFingers?

Philip recently reviewed the Vibram FiveFingers Speed XC Lite from a golf perspective and there's been a lot of talk about Vibram bringing the toe shoe concept to the golf shoe market—something that wouldn't be surprising given there are other "barefoot" golf shoes out there (See these reviews: Vivo Barefoot Hybrid, True Linkswear, and Barefoot B.E.R.B.S).

Well, looks like Vibram (at least out of Italy) is dabbling in releasing a "true" five-toed barefoot shoe with a new Vibram FiveFingers sole that is unquestionably meant for golfing. See: the photo above.

Will this shoe actually shoe up sometime in 2014? Your guess is as good as mine. For now, I'll share what we know about these Golf-Specific FiveFingers as well as a few more candid photos of them after the jump!

Read the rest of this post »

Review-Merrell Bare Access Arc

Review-Merrell Bare Access Arc

Guest review by Nicole

The Merrell Bare Access Arc 2 is my first barefoot shoe, and I'm incredibly happy to have this as part of my hiking gear.

I always thought I disliked hiking long distances, as my feet would feel heavy even in normal cross-trainers. However, two months after switching to the Bare Access, I can easily do 10-12 miles, and am now working my way up to longer hikes.

I used the Merrells in Glacier National Park last week and took them on 46 miles of a wide variety of trails. Trail conditions included well-groomed packed-dirt, areas of large and small rock, and even crossing narrow areas of waterfall. I was very happy with the grip and stability on all surfaces.

Review-Merrell Bare Access Arc
Crossing Grinnell Glacier Trail waterfall

After hiking Grinnell Glacier trail, which had the most areas of small and medium sharp rock, my feet were pretty tender. On all other days my feet felt like they had a workout, but were not sore. I wore them with wicking sport liner socks as well as lightweight merino socks, and my feet always felt dry, comfortable, and light. The shoes got a bit of internal and external wear on the trip but the sole tread still looks very good and I expect them to last another hundred or so miles.

Prior to this trip, I wore these shoes 2-3 miles a day in and around NYC without socks, and took them on about 40 miles of primarily well-groomed, packed-dirt local trails with a wicking liner sock. They performed really well in both situations. On one of the hikes, we were caught in a rain storm on the way back to the car. During the light rain, my feet felt comfortable even though damp, so much so that I praised them to my hiking partners. However, probably like just about any shoe, once it was raining hard and I was walking through puddles, they got a little heavier and squishy. They took about 5 hours in the sun to completely dry out, and lost their "no-smell" properties.

After my experience in Glacier, I am ordering the Vivobarefoot Neo Trail Running shoe for extra protection when I know that trails will have areas of sharp rock, but plan to continue to wear these as my primary city footwear and for soft or short trails.

Thanks for the guest review, Nicole!

Note: If you're looking to pick up the Merrell Bare Access Arc 2, it can be found online at REI?on sale, incidentally.

Topo Atheltic RR Split-Toe Shoe Review

Topo Atheltic RR Split-Toe Shoe Review

Guest review by Christian Messerschmidt

Introduction

After an incessant rainfall during early summer had confined my runs to the pavement because of tough mudder-like (I'd guess) trail conditions in South Carolina, my feet were begging for a little tender love and care. I have been running mainly in New Balance Minimus Zeros and Vibram Bikilas and so I was looking for something a bit more cushioned on my 10+ mile runs. I am a rather recent convert to Vibram Five Fingers and numerous racing flats- it has been two years since I have ditched my prescription of running shoes from the traditional stability category. In addition to the above shoes I have also been using an Altra The One.

There has been a sizeable amount of publicity about the newly launched Topo Athletic shoe company. Tony Post, former CEO of Vibram USA and lifetime top distance runner, conducted a great pre-release campaign that generated lots of publicity among runners and fitness enthusiasts alike. In fact, I was reminded of the marketing initiative that the Korean car company Daewoo used in Europe in the mid-nineties. Both utilized tactics that were supposed to generate strong brand recognition and a pull from consumers asking their retailers for a chance to check out their products.

In the case of Topo Athletic, the shoes they have released are the RR (the performance trainer/race model reviewed here), RT (all around running shoe) and RX (fitness/gym shoe). Today, I'm reviewing the racing model?the Topo Athletic RR. After the jump!

Read the rest of this post »

Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in TrekSport FiveFingers

Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in TrekSport FiveFingers

I got the following photos and user story in the mailbag from Jerry, who recently completed section "J" of the Pacific Crest Trail (more on this here ? east of Seattle, Washington) . Jerry did the hike in Vibram FiveFingers TrekSports.

I wanted to hike the popular 74 mile section J of Pacific Crest Trail in central Cascades for some time and this year I finally found time to do it. I have been day hiking in VFF for years, and really loving it. But those were all day hikes. And as I was curious to see how the VFF would hold up to a long backpacking trip, I decided to do it 100%, with no backup shoes.

Things I was a little worried about was ankle stability, which all the hiking boots advertise so much. The other thing that is constant hazard is kicking a root or rock with a single toe, which happens frequently if you don't pay attention to every step. But unlike sprained ankle, a toe is just painful and doesn't limit your ability to hike. Last thing was the unknown, what will the weight of the pack do to my feet, and also the long miles I need to cover every day to complete the section in 4 days.

Day 1: All great and especially the first 20 miles were just great, it felt just like any day hike I've done before. After that, my feet started to get tired and by mile 25 I could feel every single muscle in my feet.

Day 2: Perhaps doing so many miles on the first day was a bad idea, as my feet were really painful and I wasn't able to do more than just 13 miles then next day. All the muscles in the feet were very sore and I also started to get some blisters from the rocky trail. I thought I wouldn't be able to complete the trip and seriously considered looking for some way out.

Day 3: It was still a bit tough in the morning, but by noon it felt like the feet were getting a bit numb and I had no problem hiking 20 miles and could go more if I didn't meet other hikers and decided to camp in a great spot with them.

Day 4: Again, the previous day was probably too much, but it might just be cumulative stress for the feet. My feet felt a little swollen and I felt unpleasant pain around the arch area with every step. It didn't help that the last 16 miles of the trip is on rocky ridges. It was a real challenge to make it, and it literally felt like the Passion of Christ.

After the trip, I had really hard time walking, especially barefoot, for the first day. Two days later I could walk and run normally. All the blisters have actually healed, didn't come off.

Even though it is very rugged trail, I never felt my ankle was in any danger, felt always stable and safe. I had advantage in creek crossings compared to those wearing boots.

Final thoughts: As 'civilized' people, we haven't walked barefoot in decades. It will take long time to get used to it again. It would be smart to do two day trips at first to see how the feet handle the weight and rugged terrain. The rocks and roots on the trail will cause blisters, but the added weight will effect every muscle and the arch structure of your feet.

It was an awesome experience, especially conditioning of my will (and feet). I will certainly do some more overnight backpacking trips and by next summer, another 120 mile PCT section comes to mind.

— Jerry.

Thanks for sharing, Jerry! It reads as though you had a bit of a trial by fire but that all in all you felt pretty good about it (given you're anticipating another, longer hike!).

Thanks for sharing!