I got the latest version of my running sandals from my guys late yesterday afternoon and I was looking forward to the next afternoon when I could take my first test run in them; hoping those improvements, the fourth, would be the be the last.

The running sandals have the same DNA as my other sandals – the foot bed and the upper both made from fine leather with a thin midsole, all stitched to a sole taken from recycled airplane tire. It weighs slightly more than the Minimus but the difference is totally inconsequential.
I was nervous since I got them yesterday knowing that the first run in them would quite possibly be a majorly disappointing ordeal. I even snapped at some chatty Kathy in the Mercado who was disturbing my breakfast meditations with the usual incessant prattle about how I need to practice my Spanish [all the time] to learn it. This was coming from the same over caffeinated fool who spent 15 years in the US and didn’t learn but 10 words of English. I was so distracted I forgot to tell Gabby not to salt my eggs and so I sat and fumed through each bite; angry for loosing my temper and angry that someone could dump so much salt on 2 innocent eggs.
And I was angry even though I knew that my anger was really only sublimated anxiety over the coming test drive of the new running sandals.
I squirmed through Spanish class even though Salvatore delivered a better than average lesson; we’re reading Coello’s ‘The Alchemist’ in Spanish, working through all the unknown nouns, verb tenses, and trickily placed pronouns.
When I got home I powered up with pinole and a couple of bananas then slipped into the new sandals and locked the gate.
The first 50 yards down the hill and I was thinking that there was possibly something missing until I remembered that running down hill is not a very comfortable proposition in minimalist shoes period. The street finally flattened out and I was able to get a better feel of the sandal and my feet were sending back lots of information. So I was running, processing, running, processing until after about 15 minutes my feet sent back this huge collective sigh and this kind of ‘oh shit’ like ‘this is what it’s all about’. And the next 30 minutes was just this repetitive ‘oh thank you’ and ‘I can finally do this and this’,
as my feet reveled in their new found joy in being free at last.

So the running sandal gets 5/5 stars vs., 4/5 stars for the Minimus. I think the difference is that the foot is unbound and it is finally able to do all of the things that a foot likes to be able to do. I think that one of the reasons why the Minimus doesn’t deliver the true minimalist potential is that binding of the foot bed acts as a constrictor, promising motion control and support that your intuition tells you really isn’t there. And another thing is that your foot hesitates when it touches ground or leaves ground as it feels only part of the ground. The foot doesn’t get a chance to open up and splay when it needs to once again because of the binding of the foot bed restricts its motion.
The binding of the shoes keeps trying to give these reassurances that the foot is protected, not to worry, but your feet know better. Consequently your feet are always operating in the ‘safe’ mode – I don’t know if that is the right metaphor – because they are not
getting all of the data back. So the subconscious knows it is being tricked because the data isn’t right; this then has the brain primarily listening on the pain channel, ‘you’re on the heel’ – ouch – ‘get off the heel’ (or get off the side of your foot, etc.) so with
the feet in safe mode it is no wonder that runs are not full spectrum as they should be.
I found that the running sandal allowed my feet to feel the terrain better. And my feet could open up and splay and move around more as the terrain changed. The straps held my feet loosely to sole and offered no promises of protection or support so consequently my feet went ‘yes, we get to do our job’ and I could feel my feet opening and closing as they grabbed the earth.
Please forgive all of my recycled ‘Born to Run’ analytics and instead just hear that these sandals are the most comfortable things I’ve ever run in and in the days to come I look forward to giving them many a thrashing over on the canal roads east of town.Image