Friday, April 8, 2011

Friday, 04/08/11 I Like Shoes

Not to be outdone by Imelda Marcos, I have been working on quite the collection of shoes over the years and recently felt the urge to post some pictures and a few comments about each shoe. Many (most) of them are test shoes where I have written reviews (or am currently testing) and given feedback, some I have actually purchased and a few were given to me by friends.

My obsession began way back when I was a little tike and my mom would take me to buy new shoes at Reds Shoe Barn in Dover NH. As a wide eyed toddler, it seemed like the biggest shoe store in the world and I would enjoy wandering around indefinitely handling just about every shoe that caught my interest.

Since then, I have worked in a sports store selling shoes (when I was 19), sold cycling shoes at bike shops, have been testing shoes for Pearlizumi since 2005 and most recently have been testing shoes for Competitor Magazine. The most recent testing opportunity with Competitor has by far been the best (thanks to John Tribbia for hooking me up), as I have been able to get into a wide variety of brands, types/models and I get to keep them afterwards. I keep the ones I like most and have been able to pass along a few pairs of shoes to friends along the way as well, which I enjoy doing.

Here is my current line up of shoes in no particular order and perhaps a brief comment or two on each.  This post could easily be in the running for the most boring the blog World has ever seen (can't say I didn't warn you!!).

La Sportiva Electron.  Just got them yesterday and have not used them yet, but I am intrigued by the innovative sole.  They feel really comfortable just wearing them around thus far.

La Sportiva Crosslite 2.0.  Just got these yesterday as well and have not used them yet, but can't wait.  They seem like the ultimate mountain shoe, incredible traction, stability, protection, reasonably light weight.

La Sportiva Wildcat GTX.  Got these a year and a half ago in a larger size to accomodate a thick wool sock and only use them for the coldest/snowiest days or for Winter peaks (have used them on several 14ers in Winter)

La Sportiva Barr Trail.  Won these in Bill's runners vs. biker series a few years back (2006 I think).  It is a nice shoe (sturdy), but never fit my foot well.  Would be happy to pass them along if anybody is interested (size 10, but fit more like a 9.5)

Helly Hansen Pace Trail (was surprised to see a running shoe from HH).  These are a bit stiff and heavy, but have great traction and protection.  Would be great for really rocky high stuff.

Great shoe, excellent traction, not particularly light, but reasonable.  A good day to day trail shoe.

Old PI Peak XC.  This was a big jump for Pearl, light and comfortable, but traction is lacking.  Would love to get my hands on the newer version, but it has been a year or so since I have tested a pair of running shoes for Pearl, not sure what is going on there, but the Competitor gig is more than making up for it. 

PI Streak.  Absolutely one of the lightest, most comfortable and fast feeling shoes I have ever put on my feet (which is why I am eager to try the trail version).

ISO Seek IV WRX (softshell prototype version test pair from last year)

ISO Seek IV WRX (studded)

Montrail Rogue Racer.  About as good as any trail racing shoe out there, super light and comfortable.  Top of the line.

Montrail Streak.  Another one of my faves (that I actually bought).  They no longer make them, but have been replaced by the Mt. Masochist.  I used these for the RRR last year and would probably use them again there (have not worn them since and am saving them for special occasions).

Vasque Mindbender 7510.  Another favorite.  Light, fast feeling, great protection and traction.  You could use these for an all day outing.

Mizuno Wave Elixr 6 road shoe.  Something between a clompy overbuilt road shoe and a race flat.  These are light but sturdy and cross over nicely to trails (except that big groove in the heel picks up rocks on occasion).

Keen A86 TR.  When I first saw these, I thought WTF?  Keen making a trail race flat?  I almost passed them by, but thought what the heck.  Turns out they are a true favorite.  Super light, traction is AMAZING and they are really comfortable and well ventilated.  Protection is reasonable for a flat, but I would probably not run in them for much more than 3 hours if on rougher/rocky trails.  I even scored a second pair from my friend Andrew before he moved to Florida.

Saucony Kinvara 2.  They look like you are wearing bananas on your feet, but they are amazing light, comfortable and fast feeling.  Though made for road use, the tread is sufficient for trails.  Without a rock plate, my trail runs in these might be limited (they make a trail version called the Peregrine with a little better protection for trails).  The upper on this is really worth checking out, super sleek and unique.

Brooks Racer ST5.  Go Broncos!  Unfortunately I am not nearly as fast as this shoe looks, but it is fun to pretend in them.  Very light and comfy, burly enough for trail use too (with caution though).

Brooks Trance 10.  A favorite road shoe, not the lightest, but great comfort and cushion.  Excellent traction and is easily at home on the trail (just about any trail).

Brooks Ravenna 2.  Very similar to the Trance 10.

Brooks Cascadia 5.  Another favorite, reasonable weight, great traction, stability and protection for fast running on rough trails.  My only complaint is that I wear the tread bald off the toe after ~80-100 miles.

Adidas Adistar Mana.  A really killer lightweight road race flat.  Another shoe that I am not nearly fast enough for.

Asics Gel Trail Attack 7.  A good daily mid weight trail training/high mountain shoe.  Great traction and protection.

Lafuma Speedtrail.  Another sturdy mid weight trainer with good traction and protection.  A unique lacing system that I am not particularly sold on (hard to get it adjusted and then tucked in just right).

Saucony Triumph 8.  Comfortable and well cushioned road shoe.

Salomon XT Wings.  I bought these on sale last year while in the middle of a shoe draught (my how things have changed).  I had high hopes, as I have always been a big fan of Salomon shoes, but was not all that impressed.  They are overly padded and black, which makes for a hot shoe in the summer, are not particularly light (or light feeling) and rock protection in the forefoot is non existent which surprises me with such a shoe.  They make a better shoe for day to day wearing around town, as they are comfortable and easy to put on.

Salomon XA Pro 3D.  I bought these a few years ago.  Overall a great shoe, but rock protection in the forefoot is lacking.  I have since cut the back off the right shoe (as suggested by Jeremy for my achilles) and just use them for civilian use and dog walking.

Patagucci Specter.  Another great day to day, mid-weight trail training shoe.  Burly with great traction and protection, they look cool too.

Hoka Mafate.  I used to chuckle to myself when I saw these, but this is another favorite.

Hoka Bondi B.  Not as stable as the Mafate, nor is the traction as good, but it is lighter and faster feeling.  Very snug upper and great rocker feel to the toe.  I look forward to running in these more.

Oboz Lightning.  This is a low top hiker disguised as a trail runner (in my opinion).  Very well built, excellent traction and protection, but I don't feel at all inclined to run in them, much less run fast.  Would make an awesome hiking shoe though.

Zoot Ultra TT40.  Easy and fast to put on tri shoe, light, comfortable, well ventilated.  These are ideal shoes to put on quickly and walking the dog (but do not attempt when snowy as they have 0 traction).

Zoot Kapilani.  Another tri based shoe, great for road running, comfortable and light/fast, but no traction for trail usage (as you can see, I tried).

Saucony Paramount 3. Comfortable and well cushioned road shoe.

Chaco casual dress hiking shoe.  A test pair from a few years ago.  Too nice to hike in, so I just wear them when I am trying to look nice (which is hard for me to do).

Salomon Boots (I forgot the model).  Purchased these a few years ago for really cheap and use them when I want a little more protection than a trail runner for the high mountains.

Nike whatevers (again, I forgot the name).  These have great sticky rubber and are very much like a climbing shoe, but you can hike all day in them.  I use them for the more difficult peaks that involve class 4.

Bought these at REI, super warm, great traction boot for serious cold Winter 14er days/snowshoeing etc...  These boots are super comfy and waterproof and my feet have never gotten cold in them even on high peaks, sub 0 temps and knock you down wind.

Raichle boots.  Again, purchased from REI a few years ago.  Good for using crampons and mixed climbing, very sturdy and waterproof, but very stiff, heavy and klunky.  I hate wearing them, unless I absolutely need them for a snow climb and they work over my heel like nobodys business, even with two pairs of socks and duct tape for good measure.

My Sportiva climbing shoes.  I like the high-toppyness so when I grovel and flounder for dear life I don't scrape up my knobby ankle bones.

Go-Lite slip ons.  Dave hooked me up with these a few years ago when he was running for Go-Lite and I wear them all the time for trips to the garage, mailbox, taking out the garbage, the dog at night for a pee, grilling and to the store.  They are getting ragged, but I will wear them until they turn to dust.

Chaco Z-1 Unaweep.  I got these yesterday at REI yesterday, as I was long overdue to replace my 9 year old Z-1s that had been re-soled a few times (they needed re-everything this time around, so it was cheaper/easier to get a new pair that were on sale).

Most recent PI road test shoes.  These are middle of the road, but are probably better than most top line shoes just a few years ago.  Stiff, light, comfortable, ventilated, sleek 

Sidi Dominators.  These shoes rock.  Got them many years ago and they are just as good today as the day I bought them.  They are not great for hike a bike though, as the hard sole is a little skaty on rock.

Freebie PI test shoes from years ago.  Great for commuting/civilian use or if you know you might be doing some hike a bike.

Old PI road shoes.

My house slippers that I got for Christmas a few years ago (REI).  As Adam Carolla warns, with a soled slipper, you can easily be lured into doing too much with them, like running errands and such.  Thus far, they have not gone beyond the driveway.