Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Cool and Casual Shoes I: Xeroshoes Ipari Hana Review!

Xeroshoes Ipari Hana

Because life isn't all running, as fun as that would be, it's great that there are minimalist options out there for casual shoes.  I've reviewed a few in the past, but it's been a while, so it's a great time to catch up!  And, to kick it off, I have a quick review of the just released Ipari Hana from Xeroshoes.

Wait... what?  Yep.. a shoe from the company famous for minimalist sandals. The just went on sale today!  Normally $79.99, but now $64.99 through the end of the month.. but I digress.. let's check out the shoe!

So... Xeroshoes first venture into an actual shoe, is really kind of a sandal in disguise.  The sole of the Hana is patterned after the 5.5mm  FeelTrue® sole from the Z-Trek Sandal.  On top of that is a 2mm insole that can easily be removed as well. 

The upper is a vegan constructed canvas, with a microfiber liner.. however I have eaten bacon while wearing these, so probably nullifies that.. ;-)    What is cool is that the strap slot along the ankle is still part of the sole, like the sandal, but integrated now into the lacing. 

As you can see, the upper lace pulls through the side strap for a nice fit.  Also, along side of the laces is an expanding elastic, so once you lace up to the tension you like, they are pretty easy to slip on and off without re-lacing... nice feature for casual shoes. 

The toe includes some nice reinforcement to prevent any wear through on the canvas upper..

The 2mm insole can be removed.  The interior is built pretty well, and the microfiber makes for a comfy interior if you go without socks.  I normally don't, but you certainly can in these. 

Almost forgot the obligatory fruit roll up flexibility pic!  

Finally... not a bad weight for a size 11.  It's funny how shoes can often feel heavy or light, and it doesn't always correlate to the exact weight.  These certainly feel lighter than 9 oz, but the bulk of the weight comes from the 5.5mm sole (which includes a 5,000 mile warranty). 

Ok.. so what do I think of them?  For a first go at a shoe, I think Steven and Xeroshoes have nailed it.  These are super comfortable to wear...  not quite as much ground feel as the Z-Trek sandal, but I attribute that to the 2 mm insole.  The upper is soft, and from what I understand, will stretch a bit.  Not too worried about it as I'm not running in these, so loose and comfortable is fine by me.

I've done a few long walks/hikes in these, and so far they are holding up really well... can't ask for much more from a casual shoe... and they look great too!

The only kind of funky thing is that there is kind of a gap alongside my ankle the collar doesn't really snug up.  It doesn't present an issue, however, just seems like stuff could get in there, but again, not trail running in these so not a big deal.  Curious to see how these stretch and shape to my foot over time. 

So.. there you have it.  If you are looking for a well built, comfortable, and well made casual minimalist shoe, take a look at the Xeroshoes Ipari Hana... and ladies, stay tuned this spring for a women's version called the "Lena".   But for now, grab a pair of the Hana's while they are on sale..  great shoe from a great company with a great warranty :-)

As always let me know if you have questions by leaving a comment here, on the Facebook page

Happy Trails!


Thursday, October 6, 2016

US Trail Running Conference 2016, Estes Park CO

Fun Run Saturday morning

Happy October!  Hope you all are having a great fall.  My October got off to a GREAT start at the US Trail Running Conference in beautiful Estes Park, CO on Saturday 10/1.

This was the 4th annual conference, and my 2nd one.  Last year I had an incredible time there representing Fuel 100 Electrobites, and I was blown away by the workshops and panel discussions. You can read about last years conference HERE.

From L to R: Carrie Wilson (Carson GM and shoemaker extraordinaire), Everett Carson (the man, myth, and legend!), Rachel Kelly (Carson Ultrarunner), and some goofy guy photo bombing!  Photo courtesy of American Trail Running Association

This year I got to attend as part of the Carson Footwear team, and I was really excited to spend the day talking about shoes... I mean who wouldn't??

But really, the US Trail Running Conference is just  a cool event.  The conference is put on by a partnership of Active at Altitude and the American Trail Running Association (ATRA).  Terry Chiplin from Active at Altitude and Nancy Hobbs from ATRA (plus all of their minions) do an amazing job of running a very heavy schedule of great topics and workshops. The 4-day event takes place on the doorstep of Rocky Mountain National Park at the famous (infamous?) Stanley Hotel, famed for its inspiration of "The Shining" from Stephen King.

Terry Chiplin of Active at Altitude
The first 3 days of the event are full of informative workshops and panel discussions targeted to Race Directors and Vendors. The final day on Saturday was just for folks like you and me... trail runners!!

Getting ready to head out for a run

Just in time to catch the sunrise

Views were so-so..  ;-)
Carsons on the trail.. Red Zombie Racer, and Stinger

The day kicked off with an early morning fun run (all the pics above), and then it was off to work the Expo at 8:30.  The event schedule was pretty full, but here are some highlighted topics:

Future Technology, Trail Shoe Development panel (with Brian Beckstead, Jeff Browning, Aaron Saft, and our local CO phenom, Peter Maksimow), Future Trends in Trail Running, Healthy Nutrition & Hydration, Healthy and Engaged Trail Running,  Women's Panel, and Healthy Lifelong Running Panel (Which had a lot of great advice for an old dude like me).

Steven Sashen of Xeroshoes..  and that photo bomber guy. 
But, besides the amazing discussions that day, one of the coolest aspects of this conference is the opportunity to network and meet all kinds of folks.  I got to finally hang out with Steven Sashen of Xeroshoes and check out the cool lineup for 2017.  And yes, Steven is the fun and nutty guy you would expect.. we had a great time!  I also finally met up with Josh Sprague of Orange Mud, and fellow ambadassador Kevin Goldberg...  but I forgot to get a pic!!  ugh... oh well.  I am planning on an adventure soon to check out "the basement" in Castle Rock, CO where all the Orange Mud magic happens so stay tuned! 

Besides these guys, I also got to say hi to a number of folks I know, plus I got to meet a lot of other cool people.  And, I got to talk about trail running, and trail shoes (Carson Footwear of course), almost all day!  And yes.. the day went by really fast, but we had a great time!  Hanging out with Everett Carson and the Carson team was pure awesome.

Almost forgot to mention our buddy the Red Zombie Racer!  Which reminds me.. While talking with ATRA's Nancy Hobbs at our table, someone was reaching for a shoe by this zombies arm... to be helpful, I reached in to grab the shoe and inadvertently moved the arm upward... and Nancy shot up about 3 feet off the ground!  Too funny...  well to me at least :-)

Almost forgot the swag!!  I love this Headweats trucker hat handed out at the conference.. already broke it in on a run today!  Most vendors had cool stuff to giveaway (at the Carson table we had some very awesome headband/buffs). So that just added to the fun of the day..

Anway, there you have it.  The sure sign it was a great conference was the fact that I'm already looking forward to next year.  I'm sure it will be even bigger and better, so put it on your calendar!

Happy Trails!


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Still enjoying Presbyopia... ThinOptics update!!

OK...  This is just a quick update on some cool new happening at ThinOptics...  Who or what are ThinOptics??

Well... if you are like me and are experience the joys of presbyopia, or "I can't read anything small without reading glasses", then this is for you.  First of all, click HERE and read my full review of the incredible ThinOptics.

A truly innovative and amazing product that I can't live without! Seriously...   I have two smartphones (work/personal), and I have a universal case attached to the back of each.  I mean, that is where you need them the most!

And they are perfect...  not only are they super light weight, easy to use, and comfortable, but they are backed by an incredible warranty!  I did manage to have a pair break along the bridge, and I was so sad, but one quick email and they were replaced immediately!

So, besides working amazingly well, they are backed by superior customer services.

Now.. here's the latest!  ThinOptics now come in a wide variety of colors, and some cool case options (metallic is available) which weren't available when I first reviewed these.  But the coolest thing?  This sweet new keychain version... check it out!

Is that cool or what??  And, once extracted, the readers simply pop off to be worn, and then snapped easily back into the case.

Anyway, don't take my word for it...  check out ThinOptics by clicking HERE, or on the banner on the left and you can get 15% off PLUS free shipping...

OK.. thanks for stopping by.. have a great week!

Happy Trails!


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Summer's last hurrah... chee... Earth Runners Elemental Review and Giveaway!

Ah yes....  just had one of those crispy mornings a few days ago here in Colorado, and the trails have that tangy sweet smell of fall.

So... before Summer is completely gone, I thought it only appropriate to give you one more huarache review!  I'll close the season out with a great pair Elemental sandals from Earth Runners and a giveaway to boot! (or sandal)

First of all, sorry for the worn look... I normally take my photos fresh out of the box, but in this case, first out of the box (or envelope in this case) meant straight to my feet for some summer adventures.

Now, if you've followed my blog for a bit, you'll know that I started reviewing Earth Runners way back in 2012 with their first Kickstarter campaign and the Quantum sandals.  And as I noted in subsequent reviews of the Circadian, Alpha, Bio, Circadian-X sandals, Mike Dally and Earth Runners continue to improve each new iteration of sandal, and the Elemental extends that growth.

So, what's new with the Elemental?  Well, a few things...   first off, these are the first Earth Runner's I've tried with the new vegan nylon straps.  In the past, the choices were a basic nylon strap, conductive strap, or leather.  Now you can get the vegan nylon like I have, or a combination of leather/nylon, all of which are conductive.

What I noticed right away were that the straps were not quite as wide as the older straps, and certainly more comfortable.  I still used the "racing" style of lacing which works great for me, and each pair of Earth Runners comes with very detailed directions on lacing and dialing in your fit.  I've alway loved the simplicity of adjusting Earth Runners with the single hinged buckle.

Speaking of the buckle, a great improvement here as well.  The older style is above, and if you weren't careful, you could break the dividing piece between the openings (I did this once, but it was quickly replaced).  The new and improved version is thicker, more sturdy, and seems to latch down better as well, so all around A+ on this improvement.

The sole of the Elemental is an 8mm Vibram Grip tread, and as you can see, is really nicely flexible, considering the thickness.  The 8mm stack is a nice in between from a sandal that will allow you to feel everything, to a 10+mm stack that has a tendency to mute the feel, or be less flexible.  This same sole is available on the latest Circadian model, only that model includes a 1mm suede leather foot bed.

Finally, the Elementals are nice and light...  great sandal for kicking back all summer, hiking, or trail running.   I did log some miles trail running in these, but not as much as I would like.  Between Plantar Fasciitis plaguing me all summer, and never really getting my feet sandal conditioned, I just wasn't able to.  However, I did do a lot of walking on vacation and a few road trips and these were terrific.

So there you have it.... goodbye Summer!  But that just means Fall colors, and winter snow running and skiing!  All of which are good in my mind.  Check out Earth Runners on their website HERE to get more info, or shoot me a note.

OK!.. for this last hurrah(chee), let's give away a pair of Elementals!

I'll run this contest until 10 PM MST, Monday, September 19th, 2016.  Enter via the Rafflecopter dealie bobber below.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks as always for tuning in! Comments/feedback always welcome here or on the Barefoot Inclined Facebook Page.

Happy Trails!


Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Kick it! CrossKix 2.0 Review!

CrossKix 2.0 Red Dawn

I am sure your first comment seeing this picture is...

And actually, I've gotten that question several times when wearing these cool CrossKix 2.0's out and about. So... what are those??


They are a cool new shoe from CrossKix... a company that was started via a Kickstarter campaign back in 2013, taking on the EVA shoe market, which is basically owned by Crocs.   And yes, funky as they are, I do enjoy wearing Crocs for casual wear around the house and yard.

So, when the opportunity came around to give these a go, I was more than happy to check them out!

So.. as you can tell, the CrossKix 2.0's are kind of like Croc's...    on steroids.   A rugged design, decent tread, and lots of toe room!

Features of the 2.0

So, of course my first question back to CrossKix after receiving them was... what is the drop?  I couldn't find it on the specs.  Turns out they are a 4mm drop, so not bad... I can go 0-4mm without issue, and more so on a casual shoe.  But these are a little more than casual..   although similar material to Crocs, the reinforced shank, and out sole make them quite a bit more substantial.

Of course the design makes these shoes totally adapted to the water.  They drain really well, and my foot didn't slip around too much inside when wet.  They also come with some foam heel pads for the back of the shoe, but I didn't really need them.  I guess it would be helpful if they were a little big, or if they rubbed funny on the back of the foot.  Wasn't a problem for me.

And, while not exactly super duper flexible, considering the stack height (I am estimating about 15 mm or so), they aren't bad.

What I liked about them is that the toe box is really wide... super roomy, and even though it's all EVA, doesn't really pinch or rub weird anywhere.

Finally.. the size 11's come in under 11 oz, which was a little surprising, as they felt lighter on my feet. But, considering the construction, not bad.

Ok.. I know the question you've been waiting for me to answer..  can I run in these?  For me, not really.  Primarily because of the roominess inside, and the squishiness of the sole, they just aren't cut out for running.. at least for me.  But for short hikes, working in the yard, boating or fishing etc?  You bet...   and, they are comfortable with or without socks.

Check out the 2.0, as well as the APX model on the CrossKix website HERE.  The 2.0's retail for $69 and the APX $64.

Anyway, two thumbs up for these Croc killing shoes...  lots of fun, even if you get a few "What are those??!!" comments :-)

As always, questions/comments/feedback are welcome here, or on the Facebook Page!

Happy Trails!


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received the CrossKix 2.0 for free from CrossKix/Deep Creek PR in consideration for a gear review. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Shamma Sandals 2016 Warrior Review!


It's huarache season!  Well, ok, I realize it has been for sometime now, but as usual, I am behind.  Combined that with being injured and unable to run (grr.... Plantar Fasciitis) has had me lagging a bit.  But no worries! I finally realized I should spend this time that I can't run on blogging/reviewing, and perhaps bike riding/cross training as well.

So, to kick it off, I have my first of two new huarache reviews!  As you know, my first foray into minimalist running was in sandals, so I have a soft spot for any trail running huaraches out there.


So today, I have an updated review of the Shamma Sandals Warrior.   If you've been around a while, you may remember my original review of the Shamma Sandals Mountain Goat and Warrior which you can check out HERE.  And, stay tuned at the end to win your own pair of Shamma Sandals!


Today's review is of the updated Warrior sandal that I had originally tested almost a year and a half ago.  Like many of the new up and coming companies I've tried, Shamma Sandals has been hard at work continuously improving and enhancing their product for the better.

So what's new since the last time I reviewed the warriors?  Well, quite a bit.  

First off is a new "Y-Post" connector on the inside of the sandal, replacing the original "fold over" of the straps as they wrap around the sole.  Shamma has done a nice job with this... streamlined, relatively smooth, and comfortable.  Combined with the dual velcro adjustments on the heel and across the foot, the Warriors are easy to dial in a good fit. 

Another big change is the grip top foot bed now available.  My original Warriors had the goat skin foot bed, which I really like, but the performance of this new grip top is really great.  I like it as much or better than the MGT found on the Luna sandals..   Nice and tacky, but not overly so, and they retain a decent grip when fully wet, and dry out/drain nicely. 

When you combine that foot bed with a super flexible Vibram sole, you get a sandal that wraps to your foot, keeps your foot stable, and grabs the trail well.  Now, keep in mind, these sandals are 5mm at the tread, and 2-3mm at the base of the tread, so you are going to feel everything... so watch your step! 

And as you can see, the tread is good for trails.. nice grip, but the treads don't get too gummed up either. 

Finally, the new Warriors come in at a trim 3.6 oz (size 10.5), which is pretty lean and mean!

So.. overall, I really like the new and improved version of the Warrior.  I've logged about 35 miles in these, so hopefully when I get back to running more, I can log more and see how they hold up, but so far they seem really sturdy, especially considering how minimal they are. The only slight improvement I would hope for would be to eliminate a little of the scratchiness that is sometimes felt at the seams, but that is fairly common, and I've noticed it lessening as I log more miles on them. 

Power Strap

Also, a very recent addition is the new "Power Strap" for those that want added stability and security for running those really gnarly trails... These straps fit across the front of your ankle to help lock down your fit. 

Want to give them a try?  Thanks to Josh at Shamma Sandals, I'm stoked to be able to give away one pair of Shamma Warriors to one of you!  Enter via the Rafflecopter thingamabob below... and good luck!

I'll run this contest until Thursday, July 21st 2016 (10PM MST). Open to the US only. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

As always, if you have any questions/comments/feedback/heckling etc, leave a comment below, or on the Facebook page HERE.

Thanks again, and stay tuned for more reviews to come!

Happy trails!