Coming today on Runner’s Tech Review

I’m back to my regular running schedule and that means a rest day today. I am mending well and yesterday’s run assured me that my injuries will not get in the way of my workouts. I plan to be out again tomorrow morning, ready to face the road again at 4:00 AM.

It’s been a long time since we’ve posted on Runner’s Tech Review, but we’ll have a write-up on Invisible Shoe running huaraches on the site by the end of the day. It was interesting to see how Adventure Girl and I took to this minimalist footwear and, perhaps, a little surprising what each of us thought about the shoes. Let’s just say that I won’t be giving up my Hattori’s anytime soon.

I’ve found my minimalism threshold

Dare I say “a little too minimal”?

It wouldn’t meet the definition of a “Two-a-day” but I did get out late in the afternoon on Sunday for a bike ride. My wife and daughter had gone over to the middle school to play tennis and I thought I’d surprise them with a visit. After I saw them I did a ride around the neighborhood and followed a route that I commonly run. Once again I was amazed how quickly I covered the roads on my bike compared to when I run them. It’s also a lot easier to ride these roads, especially the hills, but there’s something about the simplicity of running that I far prefer. Must be this minimalist mindset I’ve adopted.

Regarding minimalism, I made my second attempt to run in the Invisible Shoes huaraches yesterday and it didn’t go well. I tried the sandals with socks (much to wife’s horror) but kept in the backyard to prevent her any further embarrassment. I’d hoped the socks would protect my toes from the lace but it actually exacerbated the discomfort. I shed the socks and tried another run but it was so uncomfortable I had to stop.

I really wanted to reach the point of minimalism where all that existed between my bare foot and the road was a thin layer of rubber. The Hattori’s get me very close to that and it feels correct and natural. The huaraches may be a good solution for others, but I know I’d need to invest a lot of time acclimating to the feel of these “shoes.” The Hattori’s work for me already. I think I’ll stick with them.

Weekend video report: running huaraches

Today’s run (street): 3.55 miles

No, I didn’t do today’s run using the Invisible Shoes huaraches but I did manage to get them laced up for a short run in the back yard. The website for the shoes provides videos with detailed instructions on how to prepare your huaraches. You can choose between full DIY, where they send you a square of Vibram Cherry material that can be cut to size, semi-DIY where you receive shaped soles based on a supplied foot measurement, or custom made huaraches created from a tracing of your foot.

I went the middle direction and had to punch a hole for the toe area and then lace up the shoes using the supplied material. Adventure Girl went with the custom options and she and I will be putting up our review of the Invisible Shoes huaraches on Runner’s Tech Review in the coming weeks.

After preparing the huaraches, I made a few rounds in the yard, running on grass. I think I understand why this form factor would appeal to barefoot wannabe runners, the 4mm soles deliver plenty of ground-feel while providing some protection from things that you may want to avoid with bare feet. While this is almost as minimal as you can go, I couldn’t get comfortable with the feel of the laces between my toes. I will do some runs in these huaraches to inform my review but I’m probably not a candidate for transitioning from running shoes to this platform.

When I put on the Hattori’s I couldn’t believe how luxurious they felt compared to my run in the huaraches. An ASICS Nimbus couldn’t have provided a better sensation of security and cushioning. The funny thing is that the Hattori’s actually provide no cushioning, but the way they hold and guide my foot makes it feel as though they do. The Hattori may seem to be a very simple shoe, but Saucony has put a lot of engineering into that design.

I did a relatively short run around the outside of my neighborhood, going clockwise to maximize the hill challenges I’d meet. Much of the run was shaded by trees and this was good because it was hot (82 degrees) and humid, according to the electronic sign at the local fire station. I’m planning on a long run tomorrow morning and, since we’re going out early, I’m hoping we’ll miss some of the heat. I’ll write more about the Invisible Shoe huaraches when I try more runs in them. But tomorrow, I’m going out with my much more comfy Hattori’s.

My running hauraches have arrived

The first pair of running shoes I ever received in my mailbox

Today’s run (street): 2.5 miles

A few weeks ago I was provided an opportunity to test a pair of running huaraches made by a company called Invisible Shoes. These shoes, provided either ready-made or in kit form, are copies of the sandals worn by the Tarahumara natives that were featured in the book “Born to Run.” I decided to try the kit option which involves punching a hole in the supplied 4mm Vibram rubber outsoles and threading the laces to achieve a correct fit.

These huaraches will provide an even more minimal experience than my Hattori’s and while I was confident that my transition from Kinvara to Hattori would go smoothly, I have some concerns about how I’ll do with these sandals. It’s not that the huaraches provide zero cushioning that concerns me, it’s the form factor. I don’t like open shoes or flip flops and I worry about the lace rubbing against the inside of my toes as I run.

In the past I thought that the lighter the shoe I wore, the faster I’d run. I’ve since changed my viewpoint and I’m not expecting to run faster with these huaraches. This morning I returned to the road at 4:00 AM and ran my usual course wearing the Hattori’s. My pace today was no faster (actually a bit slower) than my normal pace, despite the fact that the Hattori’s are half the weight of my Mirages and almost a third the weight of my GTS-10’s. Despite these differences I usually run at about the same speed. Perhaps the huaraches will surprise me.