|March 4, 2014||Posted by Melinda under Product Reviews|
I bought a pair of unshoes the end of last year.
I had intended to run in them, hoping to make my favorite barefoot running shoes (Runamocs from Softstar) last longer. I love them, but Runamocs run $100 a pop so they not cheap. I was also have problems on really rocky trails and was looking for more sole protection. Unshoes are substantially cheaper and there are various sole options.
I had a great experience with the customer service (I ordered them the day before a big sale and when I emailed them, they gave me the sale price) and had great hopes for them……but the first run didn’t go so well.
The sandal wouldn’t stay put on my foot, the sole was too thin for gravel still (I ordered the featherlight version and in hindsight should have gotten the thicker sole if this was my goal), and I was getting rubbing from the strap between my toes.
I was disappointed, but since I didn’t have a pair of sandals for every day and I got a ton of compliments on how they looked, figured it was worth it to have an everyday pair of barefoot shoes. It keeps me from wearing my runamocs and putting non-running miles on them (or wearing “normal” shoes too much which causes issues with my achilles, planar facitis etc.).
So, since November I’ve been wearing them on a regular basis for every day stuff.
Today I was walking from class to my car, in my running clothes, to pick up Tess and my running shoes so I could go for my lunch time run. I was parked REALLY far away and I started to stress that I by the time I got out to where my car parked and started my run, I wouldn’t have enough time to actually run!!!!! So, I just started running. In my unshoe sandals.
And it was fine!!!! They stayed put, didn’t twist, didn’t rub.
When I initially went barefoot (2010 or 2011?), I tried running and it didn’t work. But then I set up a standing desk and realized my feet hurt less when I kicked off my shoes. Standing barefoot at my desk morphed into doing all my non-running activities like walking around barefoot. Which eventually morphed into running barefoot when I realized that running in shoes wasn’t comfortable anymore.
The same things happened with these sandals. I had worn them in my every day activities for 3 months. Today when I ran in them it was a very different experience than at the end of November. It’s a reminder that “going barefoot” for both humans and horses, and the protection methods we choose during our run or ride activities are very much a LIFESTLYE choice – not just a choice for the actual events.
I am addicted to the ground feel that the thin soles my runamocs, 2mm merrels, and the feather unshoes give me while I run – but I’ve learned the hard way I ABSOLUTELY need better protection for rocky trails. Much like the endurance horse that may benefit from pads during an especially hard, long, rocky ride – I too need additional protection for some trails. I have a chronically bruised ball of my right foot that was caused by one too many rocks. It never quite heals before I manage to re-insult it.
So here’s what I’m using for human barefoot running right now
– Softstar Runamocs 3: My hands down favorite running shoe. Next time I order I’m going to see if they will customize with the thicker sole – but even if they won’t, these are still my go to running shoes if I’m doing fast work on relatively groomed surfaces.
– Unshoe Featherweight sandals: Great for every day wearing, cheaper than my other 2 barefoot shoe options. Good for easy runs, and saving miles on the other 2 more expensive shoes. Attractive :). I will likely reorder when these wear out, but will consider a thicker sole or adding a cork footbed.
– Merrel Vapor w/ 2 mm soles – have added some very thin flat insoles to the inside to add a bit more cush. Mostly use for rocky rough trails (and using them more often to get the ball of my foot to heal up. Also experimenting with the laces to reduce any sort of pressure on the top of my foot, which is giving me issues with extensor tendonitis. Very close in “feel” to the runamocs but I feel like they don’t “grip” as well on the trail and confine my foot a tad more than I would like.
– I’m still using my orange merrel shoes for riding and endurance rides….It’s amazing how much human and horse feet change after putting in substantial barefoot miles. When I got them they fit dang good. Now they are too narrow for me now and they give me blisters and pressure spots! Since switching to trail running, I also notice I tend to catch my toes and fall in these shoes because of how the toe of the shoe is designed …but I’ve been able to manage the issues during riding. The vapor shoe is a little more fragile than these and it doesn’t take much to put a wear hole in the top of the shoe, so I’m keeping the orange ones for my saddle shoes as long as I can.