Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Back to Basics

Well by now I’d worn the VFF’s a few times and even though I’d been initially impressed I’d started to get a little tired of the endless comments, feedback and looks and also a little concerned by the lack of grip on the trails.

I’d invested in a pair of Injinji Performance Midweight Toe Socks as the VFF’s were rubbing the post-op scars a little to the point they were regularly getting infected (nice I know) so I brought these to add a little comfort. Out the box I must say they seam (ha ha) very well made. They weren’t the cheapest buy as they say….. money spent on comfort is seldom wasted. The other main different of these versus normal socks was the fact they have matching toes like Vibrams.

What I didn’t think about until I got them was that these are probably good for wearing even with normal footwear. If anyone has ever suffered blisters on toes surely these can help? Also in the military, if on guard during a cold night, these must keep your feet warmer as each toe is covered? Well I tested these and found them great! http://www.climbers-shop.com/9862016/products/injinji_performance_midweight_sock.aspx

As mentioned above, I was growing a little frustrated by the VFF’s so started to look at other options. By now I’d decided that road running for me was a thing of the past so I needed some true off-road trail options. Since reading Born to Run I’d been fascinated by the running flip flops (huaraches) of the Ramurai and heard that Barefoot Ted from the book had started his own sandal company in Seattle USA. Called Luna Sandals after Manual Luna from the Copper Canyons of New Mexico (also in the book), I had a look at their website https://www.lunasandals.com/ and decided I’d try some Leadville’s as they featured the thickest sole that would work with stone trails of the UK and ATS “laces”.

Well what can I say? Simplicity doesn’t come cheap! $100 later the order was placed and all I had to do was wait for them to be custom made. I’d read many reviews on these sandals and as the name of them suggests, they were born from quality ultra trail running roots. As well as the desire to get back to basics with running with the purist footwear before going true barefoot (ouch) another reason for trying them was the fact that they could never rub my scars! Well a few weeks later they turned up with a free t-shirt J. I decided to break them in by wearing them around town first.

As you can see, they are a traditional “toe” design flip flop and to those not in the know would probably think they were 99p from a beach shop! Well like the 99p items, I was initially concerned that my toes would be soon a bloody mess and I wouldn’t be able to run anywhere. I needn’t of worried though as they were very comfortable from the start. I decided the time was right to give them their first run so I took them to work for a 4.5m jog around Laindon Hills Park. They felt great with nice off-road grip thanks to the Vibram soles and the feeling of being almost barefoot brought me back to my childhood (almost). The only down side was on road they did sound a little silly as they “slapped” along but I’m sure that will change when I fully convert to forefoot striking.

Later I wore the Luna’s at least once a week with 6.5 miles being the longest run yet. I have to admit they are my current favoutite shoes with the only down side now being in the wet they are a little slippy on the footbed and on uneven surfaces the foot does move, but in the dry on trails they are awesome!

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