Thursday, October 24, 2013

Yaktrax Run Review

With winter just around the corner, I am always thinking about what gear I need to keep running through the harsh Utah winters with all the snow and ice and cold. This last winter I invested in the nice running pants, the long sleeve shirts and jackets, the hats, gloves and all the other things I needed to keep warm. But the deeper the snow got, the more I found myself slipping and falling on the ground and the more wet my shoes and socks would get. Lucky for me, I got my hands on a pair of YakTrax Run to try out. I was so excited to get out and see how much of a difference it would make in my winter running experience.


I was initially so excited about these because they are very different than most winter traction devices that are available nowadays. On the Yaktrax Run's, the coils are only on the back, on your heel, while under the ball of your foot there are spikes, this makes it much more comfortable to run in than other models.

They are also extremely easy to slip on and off which I love. While running I found myself slipping them on and off as I went down the trail when I would hit patches that were not snowy. All you have to do is loosen the velcro strap and slip them on and off.

The sizing is very forgiving, I am a man of many running shoes, and I tried these out on many different pairs of shoes and they stretched to work with everything that I tried. Even bare feet! (kidding)

I put a lot of miles in on them and never had any pain, it is a comfortable fit and performs very well under packed snow.

They gave me an extra layer between the snow and my feet which helped keep my shoes more dry.

What I wasn't crazy about:

They do not perform very well in deep powder. Though they still give you a little more traction than just your shoe, they were designed to help more with ice and packed snow.

They did slip off of my toes a couple of times, but I think more often than not it was because of how I put them on. You just need to be careful about getting them on right so that they will stay. Not a real big issue at all.

To buy or not to buy?

Buy them! They are a cheap ($40) purchase that will save you a lot of grief trying to keep balance in the winter months. I am very happy with mine and would buy them again. Definitely more run-specific than the other styles of YakTrax, so use them with a running shoe.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

I'm back!!

I have to be honest, the last couple of months have been really tough. I have been swamped with school and work this semester and haven't been able to devote the time that I should to the blog. Come next week I am done with my first round of tests for the semester and I have some awesome gear reviews that I will post then! You can now expect reviews on my B2R and Sockwa minimalist shoes that are getting their final touches. I also have a review coming of some great winter running gear including the Yaktrax Run (ice traction device) and more! Check back next week to see the first round!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


I have been debating for a while now whether or not I should stop drinking soda. I enjoy a good soda every once in a while but lately I haven't been able to get past the fact that I don't understand and can barely pronounce most of the ingredients in the soda I am drinking! What am I putting into my body?! For those of you that may be on the fence as I am, watch this video. It's catchy.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Merrell Trail Gloves Review

Tis' the season for shoe reviews. Expect a couple more of these to come in the next little while as I have been busy testing and trying a few new different shoes.

After the first snow of the season this winter, I decided it would be a great final test for my Merrell Trail Gloves before I was ready to write my thoughts and impressions. I wanted to get a feel for these shoes in gravel, dirt, mud, snow, asphalt and anything else I could try out to make sure I really had a feel for how they perform.

I have heard a lot about Merrell's shoes, they are a very big name in the realm of running and seem to know a lot about what is wanted in a good barefoot shoe (is that an oxymoron?). These were my first real pair of minimalist shoes that I ever owned (not counting huaraches) so I was unsure of what to really expect and what to compare them to since, to this point, I had only run in traditional running shoes, barefoot and huaraches. Part of why this review has taken such a long time to write is because I wanted to make sure I tried out a few different shoes before I wrote anything to be sure and give good accurate feedback.

First Impression:

Initially I was a little apprehensive about running too far in these because I was so used to barefoot running at the time. I didn't want to feel constricted and protected and miss the feeling of the air between my toes. I didn't like how much it felt like a shoe and usually wouldn't make it more than a couple of miles before they were in my hands and I was yet again barefoot. I later learned that what I was feeling were normal barefoot withdrawals. No shoe will ever give you the feeling of being barefoot, so I needed to get rid of that idea and get used to wearing something on my feet once in a while and once I did, I was opened to a new world of running. I fell in love.

The Trail Glove is a zero-drop shoe. This means that from the toe to the heel there is no elevation change. The sole is about 10mm thick and offers great protection needed on the trails to keep your feet safe from sharp rocks but still provides the flexibility needed in a barefoot shoe. The sole is made by Vibram so it is the same type of sole used in many of the Vibram Fivefingers shoes. I have logged many miles in these over the last number of months and as you can see, there really isn't any visible wear so far, I expect the soles to last a very long time.

One of the things I really look for in a good barefoot/minimalist shoe is flexibility. I want my foot to be able to flex and move and I don't want to feel like it is held in place. I also want my toes to be able to wiggle around and move. As you can see, the Trail Glove passed the flexibility test with flying colors. I can practically tie the shoe in a knot. The shoe offers a very wide toe box as well that is like nothing I have ever had before in a shoe. I have a fairly wide foot and for my whole life have always felt like my toes couldn't move around as much as I have wanted them to. Until now. The wide toe box allows your toes to work while you run to grip the ground and work together propelling you forward. That is one MAJOR advantage that these have over anything else I have tried so far. I would venture to say that my toes felt almost as free as they do in my Fivefingers.

The traction on the Trail Gloves is unmatched. right on the tips of your toes there is a deep tread that allows you to grip just about anything. If you are looking for a trail shoe that lets you run free without the worry of slipping and falling then look no further. While still offering an amazing amount of ground feel out on the trails, they deliver protection and stability to keep you running safely for a long time.

 Like I mentioned previously, I also wanted to give these shoes a shot in the snow in the mountains to see how they held up. I started running up a canyon that quickly went from dirt to snow as I increased in altitude.
I was so impressed with how they held up. I still felt very stable and remarkably I stayed almost completely dry! Once the snow started to come up to my ankles I turned around and headed back home.

All in all, I am very happy with my Merrell Trail Gloves. Besides being extremely comfortable, durable, flexible and having great traction, they aren't a bad looking shoe either (in my opinion). If you want a good trail shoe, this could be exactly what you are looking for. If you are looking for a road shoe, I would check out the Merrell Road Glove or other alternatives only because the treading and other things will be more geared towards the asphalt rather than the rocky terrain.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Let the endurance training begin!

I want to log my journey as I train for endurance races here. I will include tips and tricks and things I learn on the way. I have been reading a lot recently about all the "need to know" things about training for ultras and I can't wait to get started!! Because of school and work and everything I haven't been able to log the amount of miles I really want to be logging yet but starting this next week I am going to get on a real training schedule. I'll post that here hopefully (or at least an idea of what it is going to be until I figure out what works best for me) as soon as I can.

I would love any feedback and tips or tricks any of you have for me about training for endurance races, things that have worked for you, books you have read and anything else you might be able to offer! I am excited!

Also I have been logging some miles in my Sockwa's and B2R's and will be posting those reviews soon! Check back!

Until then, happy running, happy holidays and most of all happy end of semester for those of you in school (that's what I am most excited about).

Friday, November 9, 2012

Sockwa G3 - Initial Reaction

I have had a couple of days to test out my new Sockwa G3's and I wanted to give my initial impression to them. I will give a more comprehensive and all-inclusive review once I log some more miles in them in some different terrains. So here is what I think...


I bet most of you are pretty comfortable in a pair of socks. Socks keep your feet warm, they are soft and comfortable, they don't restrict the movement of your toes, they are something you wear around the house just because. Well the team at Sockwa has hit this one right on the nail.

Sockwa G3 = Comfortable, amazing, sock. For running. With more protection.

The almost spandexy top of the shoe mixed with the ultra sticky 1.2 mm thick TPU (a type of plastic that is like rubber, but more sticky, more durable and better in wet conditions) is a perfect combination for the barefoot/minimalist runner looking for something that fits like a sock, feels like a sock, but allows you to run feeling almost barefoot while providing a little protection for your feet against the elements. These are the perfect, PERFECT alternative to barefoot running for the winter. They will keep your feet nice and warm and protect them from frostbite, snow and anything else you might trod across on your brisk winter run.

So there you have it, my initial reaction. I can't wait to get out there and run in these some more. Check back in the near future for my complete review!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Shoe reviews to come!

I have a couple of new shoe reviews coming your way here in the near future! Check it out.

Today I got a package from B2R (Born 2 Run) with some awesome shoes and a training program for me to try out and review for you guys, I can't wait to give them a go! Besides having the cool split-toe design, they offer an awesome training program that teaches proper form, strength training and many more things. I can't wait to take these for a spin tomorrow! Check back soon for my initial thoughts.

I also just received some of  Sockwa's G3 shoes to try out and review. After putting these bad boys on, I didn't want to take them off. They are as comfortable as a sock! Check back soon as well to hear more about these.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I just need to vent

Sometimes I just have to laugh when people tell me how much I am going to regret running barefoot in the coming years (trust me, I get it a lot). I try to just laugh because my initial reaction is to immediately attack them to try and show them how wrong they are, but that usually doesn't end well, thus laughing is the safer alternative. Barefoot/minimalist running to me is common sense. If you take the time to learn about your feet, you will quickly learn that your foot was built to move.

  • Why have an arch if it was"meant" to be held stationary and not allowed to move? 

  • Doesn't it make sense that if you run barefoot, you are going to run lighter on your feet. It's not like just because you put shoes on, now all of the sudden you are walking on pillows and your knees and legs take no impact and your feet work better. 

  • Why do you think God gave you a nice thick padded spot on the ball of your foot? Do you think it was so you could put a fat sole under it with a raised heel and run on your heels? Obviously not.

  • Why do you think we have 5 toes on each foot that all move separately? So we could cover them and hold them together tight and not allow them to feel the ground and help propel you forward?

I am not trying to say that running in any shoe is bad. In fact, I have a lot of minimalist running shoes that I use often. What I am saying, is that if you actually take the time to learn about barefoot/minimalist running, you will learn that there is a lot more to it than taking off your shoes and going for a jog. It teaches you the correct way to run. It allows your feet to be strengthened and the muscles to grow and work to help you run more efficiently. With that being said, I don't support conventional running shoes and will never wear them again in my life.

So to all those that tell me I am going to regret running barefoot in a few years, this is what I have to say to you.


Oh, and I will make you a promise right now. In a few years, I will still be running barefoot and loving it.

And in ten years, I will still be running barefoot and loving it. Injury-free.

Get it?

Monday, October 22, 2012

The attack of the mountain lion

This weekend we were in Boise, ID visiting some of my wife's family. While there, I decided to take advantage of what is called "The Green Belt" and go for a run. The section of the green belt that I ran is a beautiful dirt path that winds along the river through the trees. It was a really beautiful fall morning as you can see from the picture. I love fall, it's my favorite season.

Anyway, I came upon a bridge as I was jogging that had a sign on it. I ignored the sign and ran right past, but the word mountain lion jumped out at me. I stopped in my tracks and turned around to see what I had ignored. This is what I saw.

I thought about it for a second, but decided to continue forward on my run. Obviously since I am here telling you all this story, I didn't get eaten. I was actually quite disappointed I didn't even get to see him. In talking with my wife's family members, apparently there have been a number of sightings lately in this area. 

So the story has nothing to do with barefoot running, but I still thought it was pretty funny. Happy Monday! Have a good week!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

100 miles in sandals

I mentioned a little while ago my dream of running a 100 mile ultramarathon. I don't want to run just any ultra though, I want to run the Bear 100. I found this awesome blogpost from Luna Sandals Co-owner Scott, logging his journey as he ran his first 100 mile race, the Bear 100. It got me so excited to continue training. Take a look.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


This morning I went for a jog on the trail. The trail is short, so I continued running through the adjoining neighborhood. About a quarter mile into the neighborhood, I stepped on something that made me jump. This happens pretty frequently so I just figured it was a rock or something so I put my foot back down to continue to run, but it was still there. I jumped up again and grabbed the sole of my foot to see what it was. Goathead. Have you ever heard of them? If you are a biker, you will know what they are. No, I am not talking about this type of goat head below on the left, but can you see where the name comes from?

Goatheads have become famous for popping bike tires. I was in Boise last fall and my wife and I went biking, we crossed a dirt path to get back to her mom's house and parked our bikes in the garage. I came out a couple of hours later to ride my bike somewhere to find that both tires on both of our bikes were completely flat because of multiple punctures from the darn goatheads I didn't see. These suckers have a bunch of sharp thorns on all sides and seem to stick to anything in their path.

Well, I pulled this one out of my foot and continued to run. BAM! I stepped on another one! I pulled it out. Then I stepped on another one. So I pulled it out. And another. Pulled it out. Let me just defend myself and say, I was being careful and looking where I was stepping, but these suckers were everywhere and seemed to be disguised really well with the sidewalk. I looked ahead of me...for the next 50 yards the sidewalk was completely covered in these goatheads. I was screwed. I slowed down to a slow tiptoe and carefully and strategically placed each footstep for the next 50 yards until I made it through.

So, here is a note to all barefoot runners. WATCH OUT FOR GOATHEADS.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Can I run barefoot in the winter?

Obviously a very hot question in the world of Barefoot Running right now is, "What am I going to do in the winter?"

Well, like I mentioned I was going to do earlier, I have done some research and come up with some conclusions as to what us crazy barefoot runners can do once the snow starts falling and the mercury in that old thermometer of yours drops down below freezing. Just like when you started to run barefoot, it was a slow and sometimes painful process, it will be the same while adjusting to the winter if you choose to be one of the "nuts" and run barefoot over the frozen ground. I live in Utah, so this is a genuine concern for me (unless this winter is as mild as it was last winter). I will convey what I have learned to you in continuation, but before I go on, I would like to take this moment to say that running barefoot in the winter is not for everyone and I urge you to use correct judgment in your decision and release myself from all liability should you choose to run barefoot when you shouldn't and end up getting hurt! (Phew, I am glad that is over with)

Your ability to run barefoot in the winter will depend on your body

I think one of the most important things will be listening to your body and making sure you stop when your body tells you to, but remain strong when you know you can keep going. This is not for everyone and you are not a wimp if you do decide to throw on a pair of FiveFingers for the winter, most people won't continue to run barefoot, but for us crazies that will, just be careful and listen to your body.

Start slow and allow your body to adapt

Don't wait until the dead of winter to start running on the cold pavement, start now before it gets too cold. The more time you will allow for your feet to get conditioned to the cold ground, the easier and less painful it will be, not to mention the risk of injury will reduce greatly. So don't wait for the first snowfall, start now while you still can.

Take into consideration your weather conditions before you make a decision

If it is -35 degrees out and school has been cancelled so the children don't get frostbite while waiting for the bus, don't be stupid and go barefoot running (don't go running at all for that matter, in my opinion). Obviously if there is a foot of snow out on the ground, it will make a lot more of a difference than if it is packed snow just touching the soles of your feet. Be careful and exercise correct judgement, listen to your body. Stay clear from puddles in the winter created by the salt mixture many people use to melt snow. The salt melts the snow, but leaves a puddle of water with a temperature below freezing (since the freezing point of salt water is significantly lower) which will obviously increase your risk of injury and frostbite. Not to mention that the salt on your feet will make them more susceptible to injury.

Most Importantly, don't give up

If you have been training barefoot, start early, listen to your body and all of it's warning signs and all is going well, stick with it and have fun. I believe that much of what we endure as barefoot runners is possible by having a good attitude and having fun. So get out there and start training! Please give any feedback if you have any more winter barefoot running secrets.