05 July 2012

Other Minimal Shoes

My minimal trip through shoeville continued with further purchases for more "everyday" wear, and a continuing search for cross training shoes (which I've just about given up).

I bought a pair of Soft Star Shoes for winter wear.  My biggest issue with VFFs is that my ankles were getting cold.  I wanted shoes I could wear socks with.

So I ordered my Soft Star Original RunAmoc in smooth leather, size 8.5 as per a conversation with Soft Star (they were really helpful).  My only complaint about them is the width.  They are hugely wide, especially in the heel.  I've caught my shoe on stuff walking/jogging/jumping around my house, that I have never caught shoes on before (like the dogs' water bowl as I hopped around it).  And it is all due to the excessive width.  Since these are unisex, I suppose the width makes sense.  However, I have a B width forefoot, and probably a slightly narrow heel, so these are sloppy, sloppy, sloppy. 

Those "Original RunAmocs" are heading to the donation pile, because I got much better SoftStar shoes.  The above are a lovely size 9 narrow sheepskin lined Ramblers.


Oh, ah!  They fit so much better.  I no longer feel as though I am wearing too big hand me downs.

As per SoftStars measuring table, I am the small side of their normal width.  Being that I just so happened to catch their spring sale, and they had two narrow size 9s up, I bought them both.  A subsequent purchase or two on another sale netted me two more 9 narrows, and I wouldn't buy another normal width SoftStar ever again.

I am quite happy with close fitting, though not tight shoes.

I am now the happy owner of two pair of RunAmocs: black and chocolate - both narrow size 9s.


And my last (latest?) SoftStars are one single pair of Merry Janes, also size 9 narrow.

An actually cute, no foolin' pair of girly minimal shoes.  Bronze leather.  There are, however, two issue with these: lining and velcro.

Lining -  Holy blackened feet, Batman! The lining dye's my feet every wearing ... each and every single time.  Not something I can comfortably slip off and go barefoot after a couple hours use.  I look live I've got a serious fungal infection.  Yes, it does wash off, but yuck!

Velco - This is a minor quibble, and due mostly to old fashioned opinions and a high instep.  The strap is held on by a length of velcro sewed to the side.  You can see it in the bottom most picture.  And that is my problem, velcro is for kid's shoes, and my shoes should not show velcro!  If the bit sewn on the shoe was shorter, it would not be an issue as it would not be visible.  Still, very comfortable.

SoftStar is now offering several of their shoes in a narrow without charging extra, but there is still an additional charge with narrow Merry Janes.  I think it is worth it.

After all of this rigamaroll, I still didn't have anything for aerobics, since I don't actually work out in my Soft Star shoes, those are my nice shoes!

So I purchased three minimal-ish running shoes.

The Ecco Biom, Women's size 41, (another awesome discount sale), and I do not like them.  They do not feel right, nor do I like to run in them.  They have spent the majority of their wear time as walking shoes on vacation.  If they weren't such a pretty color, I'd donate them.

Additionally, they are wearing quickly, so I do not expect them to last long.  They have less than 100 miles on them, and I'm not sure they will make it to 200.

The Vivobarefoot Neo (sale), Women's 42, and I do not like these either.  I've hardly worn them ... which is a good indication that they need to visit Goodwill.  I feel like I am strongly inverting when I wear these, an extraordinarily disconcerting sensation.

Finally, the Saucony Kinvara 2.  These work very well for running, but very poorly for aerobics.  These have a lot of width stabilization built into the sole, which makes for a trippy (literally) experience when trying to perform any kind of side kicks, grapevines, or box steps ... especially when tired and coordination goes flying out the window. 

Behind my VFF KSO Treks, this is probably my second favorite running shoes.

When I read about Micah True having disappeared on a run and rescuers were looking for the triangle shaped imprints from soles of his shoes, I suspected he was weary a Kinvara.  Finding out he had a relationship with Saucony kind of confirmed the impression.  A strange result that, "Hello, I represent Saucony ... yes, the ultrarunning Micah True was wearing our shoes when he died."  It was a sad day when that legendary heart gave out, he had a remarkable story to tell!

So to conclude this long journey, SmartWool Toe socks turned my 0 to 30 minute exercise only VFF KSO Treks into 80 minute plus cross train and running shoes and winter shoes.  Thank goodness for woolen socks.  :)


Eric said...

Hello, I like your mini reviews on each of these shoes. I'm a huge fan of my Runamocs. I've actually had my originals resoled by a local cobber. The Original Runamocs do run really wide, but the Dash's cure a lot of that with the use of laces. Do you still have the pair of Neos? I was thinking about getting a pair for my wife and I think a 42 would fit her. Those European sizes always throw me.

Kira said...

Thanks Eric.

The major problem I came across for Vivo's (and this is from reviews I read, not personal experience), is that their sizing is inconsistent from release to release.

I normally wear a 9.5/10B in women's "American" shoes. Some of the more recent ones I have tried are loose in the width.

European shoe sizing can be even more crazy and weird. Than our own First off, their normal width might be more like our narrow width. I have run into European shoes that are too narrow for me, a rare pair of Ecco and Josef Seibel spring to mind.

And I have worn 4 different European shoe sizes depending on the company: 40, 40.5, 41, and 42.

I am usually in a 40: Birkenstock, Sanita, and Pikolinos. I wear a 41 in some Ecco, Josef Seibel, Spring Step, and Fly Flot. And, of course, my only 42 was the Vivo Neo.

I did buy the Neo online and had to go by spotty reviews to guess at sizing. The exterior heel to toe measurement is 10 and 7/8ths. The width measures at 3 and 15/16ths.

I hope this helps.