I just love the creativity and innovation around barefoot/minimalist running gear, and BarePadz have to be one of the coolest things I've come across in a while!
As you may know, I love to run barefoot, but I certainly don't do it enough. I love it as a form check, and I love the feeling, but I know I don't have the dedication or drive to run barefoot full time. So from that point, anything that can simulate barefoot running, but allow me to run more is a cool thing in my book.
Here's Greg to give you a look at the BarePadz, and I'll give you my first impressions below that...
Ok... I've run twice in these... two 5K runs, over terrain that included dirt, rocks, asphalt, sidewalk, and gnarly nasty chip seal..
Positives: These by far have the closest to barefoot feeling out of any foot covering I've tried. Having contact with ground with 70% of my foot, including my toes was awesome. The longest I've run straight barefoot was 4 miles, and I did that last year after working up to it over a few months. I was able to run over 6 miles in these (without working up to it), and my feet felt great. AND, I ran over some nasty chip seal that I can't even really walk on barefoot. My toes got a little tender, but that was about it. Granted, I run a lot in sandals and very minimalist shoes, so my feet are strong, but the soles are sensitive since I don't run pure barefoot enough. I wouldn't recommend someone running a 5k in these if they haven't run barefoot/minimalist at all before. Also, these were very comfortable, and easy to put on and take off.
Negatives: The only negatives I have are kind of conditional. I ordered the right size, and I found that these fit very snug, and I don't need the velcro strap. So, if you have really wide feet, it might be an issue, but hard to say. The other issue I had is with some wear on the outside of the Padz, in the area outside of the reinforced foot pad. Now this issue came about because I have a very strong tendency to pronate, and more so when I am barefoot. I really really have to concentrate on landing more towards the inside of my foot, and even then its difficult.
As you can see by the dirt line, I am shifted way over, and the chip seal (aka cheese grater) has started to wear down the neoprene. Again, I think this would be an issue if you pronate a lot like me, and you run on some nasty terrain.
That being said, I am really enamored with the BarePadz! I love the whole concept and idea behind them. I've often wished that there was something out there that could just take some of the sting/sensitivity out of barefoot running, but couldn't figure out what that would be. Greg at BarePadz took that wish and brought it to reality.
As Greg notes in his Kickstarter campaign, the goal is to get this first generation product out there and then gather as much feedback and data from users so that those ideas can go into future iterations to refine this product to be everything I, well and you all, want it to be ;-)
Congrats Greg on a successful Kickstarter campaign, and I look forward to seeing BarePadz continue to be successful!
As always, if you have questions/comments, leave them below or on the Facebook page.