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Barefoot in Asia – Regev’s Review

Posted by | Posted in Barefoot Hiking, Barefoot Sandals, Barefoot Shoes, Minimalist Running Shoes | Posted on 06-03-2012

I just realized that I have a strange history with barefoot running, barefoot walking, and minimalist shoes.

First, like most of us, I spent a lot of time barefoot as a kid in the Summer. I went to a camp in the Pocono Mountains (Camp Shohola just in case any readers also went there) and whenever I had the chance, I was barefoot (made easier by the fact that I spent half of my days doing water sports). I was a competitive diver, too, so that kept me out of shoes.

In junior high school and high school, I was a gymnast, so that was even more barefoot time every day.

When I was 18, I went to New York City to be a street performer. I had already been doing this in Washington, DC, doing a magic act in Georgetown, and on K Street, near the White House. When I got to NYC, though, I found it much harder to get a crowd and, even worse, within a few weeks, the other street magicians had stolen all my bits! I asked one of the veteran street acts what I should do and  he said, “Simple, write an act that nobody would dare steal.”

I pondered this for a while, until I landed on the answer. I created an act that had a bunch of crazy gymnastics in it (I did a running front flip over someone’s head, stealing their hat and placing it on my head while in mid-flip), and a finale where I… wait for it… walked on broken glass in my bare feet.

Now let me back up. For the gymnastics part of the act, I wore minimalist shoes. They were some old Adidas (I can’t remember the name), with zero-drop, very little toe spring, not much padding. Just enough between me and the ground so I didn’t kill my feet. This was in 1980-81, BTW.

I loved these shoes. I bought every pair I could find. When I could no longer find them, I asked the local running shoe store what happened and he answered, “Adidas stopped selling them; they were lasting too long.”

I don’t know if his info was accurate but, if it was, it wouldn’t be the first time a company pulled a product that didn’t wear out or go obsolete fast enough.

Luckily, I found a company that sold shoes to prisons (you can find ANYTHING in NYC), and they had the last few pairs of these shoes… I bought them all. And they lasted through some serious abuse.

Okay, back to walking barefoot on glass, though. Let’s just say that it’s part physics, part showmanship, and part some-hard-to-describe-thing that, if I could convince you to jump onto a 3″ high pile of shattered beer bottles, you would instantly get a knowing look in your eye and say, “Ahhh… I get it now.”

In 5 years and thousands of shows, I only got one small cut. But by the end of the day, my feet were FILTHY from being barefoot on the street.

CUT TO: Going to Asia in 1989.

This is where I got hooked on being barefoot. Aside from the fact that you never wear shoes into almost any building (I was in China, Nepal, India and Thailand), there were plenty of opportunities to be barefoot outside as well. There were also plenty of times where you wanted something on your feet, but not much because it was really hot when I was there, and anything more than a sandal was way too much.

When I came back from Asia, I stuck with the habit of removing my shoes whenever I went into someone’s home (we’ve saved a fortune on carpet cleaning by not dragging dirt in from the outside).

Okay, so why this long story?

Simple, I was reminded of it all when Regev Elya did his review of Invisible Shoes, which he took on a 7-month trip through Southeast Asia (I’m SO jealous).

Of course, I think that Invisible Shoes are the best minimalist shoes for a trip like that… but check out what Regev says.

Vibram Five Finger shoes vs. Huaraches Running Sandals

Posted by | Posted in Barefoot Running Shoes, Huaraches | Posted on 29-07-2010

Many people wear the Vibram Five Fingers shoe for minimalist running… how does it stack up against the huarache running sandal?

Well, this video has some of my thoughts about the two.

Enjoy.

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Barefoot Jason’s Invisible Shoes Pre-view

Posted by | Posted in Barefoot Running, Huaraches, Running Sandals | Posted on 03-04-2010

Here’s a “pre-review” of Invisible Shoes from Barefoot Jason — http://barefootjason.blogspot.com/2010/04/invisibleshoescom-huaraches-first.html

Invisibleshoe.com Huaraches First Impressions and Kickoff to 100 Miler Training

I received my invisibleshoe.com huaraches yesyerday.  I have been communicating with Steven Sashen for a few months as I love supporting anyone that is contributing to the barefoot/minimalist shoe movement.  Steven started invisibleshoe.com to produce custom made huaraches and do-it-yourself huarache kits.  I’ll give more details about him in my full review in a few days.
The huaraches I received are made of 4mm Vibram Cherry rubber and polypropylene and nylon lace.  I chose neon pink for the lacing.  Why?  I thought it would be fun.  Based on the looks I got while on my run today, “fun” may be the wrong word. :-)
My run today was a 10 miler on gravel roads… my most difficult test of a minimalist shoe.  The huaraches performed well.  I was surprised they worked as well as they did.  I will give much more detail in my full review, but Stevens huaraches have vaulted themselves to the upper echelon of my growing stable of minimalist shoes.
The run itself was the second of a 20 mile/10 mile back-to-back.  Yesterday’s 20 miler was at about ultra pace and went well.  Today’s run was more of a near-tempo run.  I managed to finish the 10 miles with a 7:42 pace (1:17 total time.)  Fitness for this early in the year is very good.  If I can maintain steady improvement, I should be in an excellnt position to finish well at Burning River at the end of July.
Thanks Jason! Looking forward to the whole review (and good luck with the training/racing!)