My first minimalist shoe ever was the Invisible Shoes Contact (6mm) that I started running in late last summer. This was before I started my blog, and before I got wrapped up in the crazy fun of reviewing minimalist shoes. While my Invisible Shoes took a back seat to other shoes over the winter, you never really forget your first barefoot shoe! That is why I was really excited to see the re-branding of Invisible Shoes (they are plenty visible in the minimalist market right now!) to Xero Shoes. Of course, working for Xerox, I really like this name a lot :-)
Steven Sashen, CEO at Xero Shoes was kind enough to send me a few pairs of the Xero Shoes Connects (4mm) to try out (and a pair for you as well!). As you know, I've been bitten by the trail running bug, but I do my share of road miles, so was really looking forward to giving the 4mm a go.
BUT... before I get into the performance of Xero Shoes, let me tell you a little bit more about the ordering process. You can order your Xero Shoes by the length of your foot in a DIY kit, or you can have them custom cut and pre-assembled for a few extra bucks. Custom is cool, but let me tell you, "building" your own shoes is a lot of fun! For some reason, there is just something satisfying about getting out a few tools and a flame.. but perhaps that's just me! Anyway, I'll show you how the DIY kit arrives and the simple steps to build your own!
|Soles arrive in the size you ordered, color of lacing, a bobby pin, and a super cool hollow punch!|
|Follow the simple instructions to mark the spot between your first two toes for the lace, and punch the hole.|
|BAM! Simple as that..|
|Now take the hi-tech lacing tool (bobby pin), hook in the lace....|
|Use pliers to pull the lace through the toe hole...|
|Now, after tying a knot per the instructions.. light it up!! Fiyah! Ok.. word of advice, do this in the garage so as not to upset your spouse with the cool smell of burning nylon in the house!|
|Then quickly squeeze the crap out of that knot and get it as flat as you can...|
|Finally, follow instructions on pre-lacing, and then check out all the great ways you can tie your huarches .. great videos are available.. click here|
Now get out there and get running! And while there is no substitute for barefoot running, in my opinion, the 4mm Connects are about as close as you can get to it. The rubber is thin and super flexible. Perhaps a little heavier than some materials, but the proprietary sole material (FeelTrue) used by Xero Shoes is warranted for 5,000 miles! Now, it does take a bit of playing around to get the lacing tension right, and since the cord is thinner than some strap systems, you kind of have to get used to that feel as well. There are other easier strapping methods on other huaraches, but along with those comes a higher price. However, once you do get used to the tying and the feel, running in these is very cool.
Now, these are in the Electric Mint color, but I like to call them "Gumby" green after my hero. The lacing style I like is the pull-on/pull-off style and you can find a great video on the Xero Shoes site that will show you how to lace this way. Once I get them fitted, I only have to adjust them once in awhile.
Another thing to pay attention to is the knot you melted and squeezed flat. It will rest in the gap between your toes, and flatten out nicely. However, keep an eye on it because eventually it will wear out. Make sure to catch that early and simply pull more cord through and repeat the steps for a new knot (yes you get to burn stuff again!). I only mention this because I didn't check on my Contacts and came very close to losing one on a run. Then again, how bad is that really? Just means more barefoot mileage :-)
And as we head into cooler weather, no worries! Xero Shoes work awesome with a good pair if Injinji Toe Socks.. Check out my review here of how they performed with Xero Shoes. And, before I forget, Xero Shoes are some of the most affordable minimalist running options out there! Connects start as low as $24.95!
So... would you like to try a pair?!
Xero Shoes will provide 1 pair of custom or DIY huaraches, either the 4mm Connect or 6mm Contact to one lucky winner.
Follow the instructions on each option below to earn entries. Contest will close on Monday, October 8th, at 10PM MST. Winners will be selected at random from all entries using random.org. Contest limited to residents of the U.S. and Canada.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Thanks for following and happy trails!