Good morning! Hope those of you impacted with this weeks weather are staying warm! It's been hanging around 0F (-18C) here, so plenty chilly!
Anyway, I am really excited to share with you today another new minimalist shoe company that is right here in Colorado! SOM (Sense of Motion) Footwear is a Made in the U.S.A company that is a result of a 3 year labor of love by founder Olivier Marchal, which started when he found that he wasn't impressed with the minimal shoes available on the market. So what did he do? He started making them himself... I love that.
A few months back, I was asked if I would be willing to give the SP-L models a try, with the caveat that they weren't built as a true trail running shoe, but more of a casual/hiking minimalist shoe. I love supporting new and local companies, so I was happy to give them a go. Want me to cut to the chase? I LOVE these shoes... I reach for them often lately as my go to casual shoe just because they are so comfortable.
But, before I give you the specific details and review that I normally do, I wanted to share with you that SOM has a Kickstarter project running right now that will be ending on Weds, Nov 26, 2014, or two weeks from today. I'll let Olie tell you about SOM Footwear in the video below:
You can also see the full Kickstarter Project by clicking HERE. Go check it out, and consider backing them!
Ok.. now back to my impressions of the shoe. First of all, the toe box and general roominess of the shoe is awesome. As you can see, they are plenty wide, yet they still snug up nicely with the wide-pattern lacing. Also, I need to point out that I tested the SP-L model, and the model available on Kickstarter is the SP-L 2. The key difference is that the eyelets are now on a leather strip, versus directly in the upper, and also there is another layer of EVA added to give them just a little bit more cushion versus the pair I have.
The Vibram soles on the SP-L have a decent tread pattern, and overall the stack height of 12 mm provides some good protection, but still maintains a decent, albeit muted, ground feel. Also, they are just about as flexible as the various huarache sandals that I run in that have the same stack height which is great. Considering the construction of the shoe, the weight is pretty light, with my size 10 coming in at 8.25 oz.
Here is a better picture of the new SP-L 2, where you can see the leather eyelet band, and also the USA Flag tab on one side (Red/black/yellow.. the charcoal will have a Made in the U.S.A tag). The upper is comprised of a Weather Max 65 and Cordura fabric, combined with a 3D mesh interior. I know.. a lot of technical stuff, but what it means is a sturdy, comfortable shoe that breathes well, and sheds water very well!
Ok... now onto the important stuff... how did they perform? As I noted earlier, for a casual or hiking shoe, these are truly amazing. I can always tell which shoes I really really like, because I will reach for them first anytime I am not specifically testing for a review.. and these keep getting grabbed when leaving the house for just about anything (including riding my motorcycle!).
But you know me.. of course I am going to run in them! While not specifically built as a trail running shoe, I took them out for a run anyway. While not my first choice to run in, they performed pretty well. Better than some true running shoes that I've tried! I would prefer a little closer fit for running, but my foot didn't slide around too much, and the traction was great. The protection was very good as well, especially for a shoe as light as this one. So, if you are out hiking in your SOM's and some wildlife appears, have no fear that you can hoof it out of there in a hurry!
So, there you have it. Again, you have a great opportunity to score some of the first pairs of the SP-L 2 via the SOM Kickstarter project! Not only do you get a great shoe, but you'll be helping SOM Footwear develop more styles and colors, all here in the U.S.A!
As always, if you have more questions, or if I've missed something, just leave a comment below, on the BI Facebook Page, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks... stay warm.. and happy trails!