Archive for the ‘Träning’ Category

Review of huaraches from InvisibleShoe.com

4 mars 2012

About 10 months ago my interest in minimalistic running started. Since then I’ve been switching between regular running shoes, Vibram Five Fingers (KSO and Komodosport), completely barefooted and a light Ecco walking shoe (to protect my feet from snow and cold during winter). Then I stumbled over the huaraches from http://invisibleshoe.com and decided to try a pair out. I ordered a 4 mm Connect DIY kit and have been evaluating them for the last two months. Here is my review.

Once the shoes arrived I quickly made the toe hole and got ready to lace them up. My idea was to start using them as slippers around the house, just to get used to them. I decided to go with the slip-on/slip-off tying style and wore the huaraches for a couple of days. I really liked them, they are perfect slippers, especially if you like being barefooted. As the huaraches isolates your feet from the floor, I had no problem walking around barefooted in the huaraches, even if the floor was cold. The FeelTrue surface of the sole is soft, smooth and very comfortable. I was worried that my feet should get irritated by the strap, but after wearing the huaraches for about ten minutes, I didn’t feel the strap any longer.

A couple of weeks later I decided to take the huaraches for a first run. Because of the climate – it’s winter here in Sweden – I do my barefoot running on a treadmill in the gym right now. I usually run 4-5 km once a week to keep my barefoot shape during the winter. I was curious how the huaraches would perform on the treadmill. I had some concerns. First, the strap. Would it “eat” into my foot and cause blisters? Then the loose slip-on/slip-off tying, would it work to run in this tying? Or would there be blisters caused by the friction between feet and huaraches? I did about 4.5 km on the treadmill and was surprised how well it worked. Just as when I was walking around at home, I felt the strap for the initial ten minutes, the I forgot about it. No blisters and no pain from it. Neither did the loose tying cause any problems, it all worked extremely well. One thing that happened was that I got a blister between my big toe and the second toe. This was probably caused by the figure 8 knot which I hadn’t flattened out enough. When I got home, I tightened the knot and flattened it. The next week I did a 5 km run without problems.

My main impression from running on the treadmill was that the huaraches worked very well for running. I experienced the huaraches to be bit floppy though. Not that it bothered me that much, but it was noticeable. Maybe I could have trimmed the size of the huaraches, or tied them a bit harder to reduce this floppiness, but I decided to leave them untouched.

Last weekend the snow disappeared and streets and cycle paths dried up so I decided to do some real world testing of the huaraches. It was still a bit cold, so I used the huaraches together with a pair of Smartwool Toe Sock Mini. The first day I did about 6 km on streets and cycle paths and was amazed how well the huaraches worked. Still using the slip-on/slip-off style, the shoe followed my feet for the most time. Sometimes when I did sharp turns, the shoe didn’t follow my feet completely. This was not a big issue, and I guess that a tighter tying would have improved the situation. The ground feel also struck me. I could feel small stones, gravel and other stuff laying on the ground. Hitting small stones on the asphalt was not that pleasant though, the sole is so thin that it hurt a bit a couple of times. This indicates that you actually get a very good ground feeling with the huaraches. I was also impressed that almost no stones was getting in between my feet and the huaraches. Even if I run on gravel with a lot of small stones, it only happened once or twice that a stone got inside the huarache, so this wasn’t really an issue.

The second day I did about 8 km on asphalt and tarmac. The ground feel struck me once again, I felt stones, debris, small branches – anything. It really was like running barefooted with protection! The last day I was a bit tired in my legs, but I decided to take the huaraches for a third test. I did about 5 km on cycle paths and a bit “off-road” (grass, some small hills, etc.). I wanted to test the slipperiness of the huaraches and I was impressed by the grip they provided on moisture grass. I was zigzagging across a small ditch and I could totally trust the shoes. I was never worried that I should lose the grip or slip. Running on soft grass was a real pleasure, almost like being barefooted. One thing that didn’t work that well was running in higher, dry grass, especially running downhill in that terrain. What happened was that the outer front part of the huarache (where your little toe is) folded, so when I put down my foot, half the foot touched the ground. This was not a big issue to me, as I was just out testing the shoe, but I can imagine that it is a bigger issue if it happens during a serious workout.

To summarize: I am very impressed by the huaraches. They work as slippers at home, as well as minimalistic running shoes in different environments. As running shoes, they provide great ground feeling and performs well on asphalt, tarmac and grass. The huaraches provide great grip, even on moisture grass. In terrain, they don’t perform on the same level. The risk of folding the huaraches when running in high grass, bushes, etc, makes them less suitable for such workouts. Also, running on surfaces with a lot of sharp stones might work, but you will feel the edges of the stones and that might hurt. If you do a lot of sharp turns during your workout, you might experience that the huarache doesn’t follow your feet completely.

That said, we must remember that what I tested was the 4 mm Connect huarache, the thinnest of the available models. InvisibleShoes also provides a 6 mm Contact huarache which seem to be a bit more stable (less floppiness) and which probably gives a bit more protection. It seems like this model is more suitable for running in rocky/stony terrain than the Connect model. I would love to test the Contact model, and I’ll probably order a pair later on.

A major difference between the huaraches and the VFF:s is that I get the feeling of becoming “one” with my VFF:s. They are so tight on my feet so they really feel like a part of me. I don’t get that feeling with the huaraches. No matter how I’ve tied them, the feeling is not the same as with the VFF:s. On the other hand, the open style of the huaraches make them much more “natural” and my feet are free in them. I guess it is a personal preference which approach that suits you best.

One thing I noticed while running in the huaraches was that they really forced me to use a proper technique. While running in my VFF:s I sometimes find myself going down in cadence and taking longer strides, especially at the end of my workouts when muscles are getting tired. When running in the huaraches, this did not happen. I guess the huaraches forces you to use a proper technique or you will end up with blisters or other pain. And this is exactly what happens if you run barefooted, if you use the wrong technique you will end up with blisters. So once again, running in the huaraches is like running barefooted but with protection!

I can really recommend the huaraches from InvisibleShoes to anybody curious about barefoot/minimalistic running. The price is unbeatable, for just $25 you get the a very good minimalistic shoe. Even if you don’t live in the USA, package and delivery is cheap and my order ended up in $36, which is about 260 SEK. Compared to a VFF KSO which costs about 1200 SEK ($166) here in Sweden, I really think you should give InvisibleShoes a try before buying anything else.

Update: After writing the initial text, I’ve done two more workouts in the huaraches. I changed the tying to the “traditional” toga style, which reduced the floppiness a lot. I will continue to use this tying when running. Also, I had the opportunity to run on ice and once again I was impressed by the grip of the huaraches. I expected them to be slippery but I felt safe when passing ice covered puddles that got in my way.

Framfotalöpning och supertusingar

24 maj 2011

En artikel i DN fick mig att ta reda på lite med om barfotalöpning. Jag hittade en instruktionsfilm av någon som verkar hemma i området. Jag gillar det jag ser. Speciellt pratet om kortare steg och ökad frekvens, det är något jag jobbar själv med. Dock känner jag inget skriande behov av att bli framfotalöpare, men jag gjorde ett test idag. Jag sprang nog 3x400m på framfoten och det fungerade oväntat bra. Jag trodde jag skulle få ont i vristerna, men där kändes inget alls. Dock var vaderna väldigt trötta efter passet. Men det ska dom ju vara 🙂 . Jag kommer nog att köra lite framfotalöpning på delar av mina pass i framtiden.

Jag hade planerat att springa ”supertusingar” idag. Målet var fem tusingar i 4.20 tempo men det sket sig. Körde på fotbollsplanen och gräset där sög musten ur mina ben. Det blev fyra tusingar i 4.35 tempo och sedan var benen slut. Nu blir det vila fram till Blodomloppet på torsdag!