Topo Athletic Hydroventure Review – Waterproof Shoes for Trail and OCR

Topo Athletic Hydroventure
4 / 5 Overall
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We recently got in touch with Topo Athletics to review the Top Athletic Hydroventure shoes. They were rated Gear of the Year by National Geographic Adventure, so we needed to find out if they lived up to the hype! 

They certainly live up to their waterproof claim, as discovered on some wet and muddy trails as winter turned into spring in Georgia! They are also, without a doubt, the lightest pair of trail shoes I’ve had the pleasure of beating to death on Kennesaw Mountain. While more geared toward trail running than OCR, these would certainly be great for certain courses that don’t require the deep lugs.

Topo Hydroventure Features

The Topo Hydroventures boast not only their lightweight waterproof membranes but also a full-length, flexible rock plate to prevent stone bruising. This is extremely important since you expect a shoe that protects your soles from stone-bruising to also be heavy laden. Thankfully, this is not the case with the Hydroventures. I found myself feeling that these were simultaneously delicate (so lightweight and comfortable) and unyielding. It’s much rarer to find applicable shoe reviews geared toward women, so when I found these shoes, I knew I needed to let all of our female readers know about these powerhouse shoes!

Other notable features are:

  • The Roomy Toe Box: These are noticeably boxier and wider in the toe box than other trail and OCR shoes like the All Out Crushes or Reebok All Terrains. This allows for your feet to freely form their proper strike position during a run.
  • Lug Rubber Outsole: The high-traction outsoles made the transition from sand to gravel to thick mud to puddles seamless with the design that allows the shoe to release the “crud” you would normally pick up from the trail which weighs down the shoes.

Topo Hydroventure Usage

I used the Hydroventures on some pretty technical trails around Georgia. The hills and mountains, covered in mud, sand, and rocks, provided a well-rounded picture of how these shoes hold up on various terrain. They also made their OCR debut during the Atlanta Warrior Dash!

I really enjoyed running in these due to their low drop. While they aren’t zero drop, they do have a low, 3 mm heel to toe drop which is important to me, and many other runners who prefer as minimal of a shoe as possible, while still being protective. The Hydroventures also have the lower stack height of Topo’s other trail shoes and is the only women’s trail shoe from Topo with a full-length rock plate.

These have taken a beating for weeks, being the only shoes I want to wear on the trails due to their extreme comfort. While they are the lowest cushioned of the Topo trail shoes, I can’t imagine needing any more cushion or support than the Hydroventures give. I would wear these around town if I wasn’t worried about wearing down the soles on concrete!

I didn’t have to “break them in” by doing those weird things we all do to break in trail shoes – wearing wet socks or bending them back and forth for hours. They felt extremely comfortable right out of the box, slipped on over thin, synthetic ankle running socks, and taken immediately out to the trails. I found them extremely flexible, and it was easy to forget I was wearing brand new shoes at all.

Topo Hydroventure Durability

Once I’m no longer carrying this extra weight in the front (I’m now far enough along in pregnancy to be front-heavy), I’ll be taking these on the bigger OCR courses to see how they do at races like Spartan, Savage, and Tough Mudder.

I have no doubts about the future durability of the Hydroventures, however, due to how well they’ve held up thus far through my long runs on technical terrain. They’ve already gone about 50 miles and still look brand new, in spite of all that I’ve put them through. Even the laces are holding up well compared to other trail shoes I’ve run in! The uppers feel very durable, and not thin like many of the other shoes on the market, with the waterproof coating helping to seal the durability of the upper material.

Topo Hydroventure Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Roomy toe box
  • Comfort and cushion
  • Mud-release outsole lugs
  • Low heel to toe drop (3 mm)
  • Waterproof
  • Fit true to size
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • I could do with more color options!
  • They could be a little more flexible from left to right, straight out of the box, but that will get better as they loosen up during continued use.
  • If only they had deeper lugs to make these the perfectly rounded OCR shoe – allowing for better grip on obstacles!
  • The drainage could be improved, for when you really need to submerge – they are very waterproof, but there are sometimes when the water is just going to get in the shoe, and the drainage took a little longer than I preferred.

 

Topo Hydroventure  Verdict

I will definitely be looking into more Topo shoes and if these ever happen to burn out on me, they will be replaced immediately. I would recommend these to the runners who spend most of their time training and running on trails over recommending using them for obstacle races. The Topo Hydroventures could certainly hold their own on some of the courses I’ve run in past seasons but are more suited for trail running.

The waterproof feature is also going to be appealing to other runners in wet climates such as the northwestern U.S. and our readers across the pond who put in hundreds of miles in the rainy climate of the U.K.

Should you add Topo Hydroventure to your collection of trail shoes? Without a doubt! You will find these to be lightweight, comfortable, and durable, nearly all that we can ask for from a trail/OCR shoe.



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Kayla Coons

Editor and Race Relations Liaison at ORM
Kayla is the content editor and race relations liaison for ORM. Fancy ways of saying that she gets runners to the races and then cleans up their typos when they write a recap.

Her first race was the Georgia Warrior Dash in 2011 and she still enjoys racing local events and meeting the awesome runners who stop by the ORM tent when she's working.
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Spartan and CRAFT Sportswear Partner to Create OCR-Specific Apparel

Press Release

Spartan and CRAFT Sportswear Partner to Create High-Performance Apparel
Specifically Designed for Obstacle Course Racing

CRAFT Sportswear Named “Official Performance Apparel and Footwear” of Spartan

CLICK ABOVE TO PLAY VIDEO

BOSTON (March 29, 2018) – Spartan and CRAFT Sportswear have entered a global partnership, naming the leader in technical performance apparel as “official performance apparel and footwear” of the world’s largest obstacle race and endurance brand. The multi-year partnership will see the two brands developing the first high-performance technical apparel for the rising sport of Obstacle Course Racing (OCR). CRAFT will be applying the same scientific techniques and sport-specific knowledge it uses in developing Olympic-caliber performance apparel for World Tour cycling teams and Olympic cross-country skiers as well as runners and athletes at all levels. CRAFT is currently available in more than 39 countries, while Spartan has more than 200 races across more than 30 countries around the world.

“The growth of Spartan has created a competitive field of elite OCR athletes who require technical apparel that allows for maximum performance,” said CRAFT Sportswear North America CEO Eric Schenker. “For decades, CRAFT has engineered ergonomically superior products for some of the best athletes in the world, and we’re excited to be the first company to apply that same sport-specific knowledge and research towards developing the first-of-its-kind performance apparel for Spartan athletes. CRAFT is for Olympic Champions and everyday heroes and anyone that finishes a Spartan race has certainly earned that title!”

The OCR-specific “Powered By” CRAFT line of Spartan apparel and footwear is currently under development at the company’s sports science laboratory in Sweden. Spartan athletes face elements that require full functional movement and, at times, extreme temperatures. With just milliseconds on the line between elite finishers, CRAFT’s team of designers and technicians pay strict attention to detail, with every stitch and seam
meticulously placed to address the ergonomic and thermal needs of obstacle racers.

Having recently introduced the brand’s performance footwear in Europe, CRAFT’s all-terrain shoe for Spartan athletes will be its US footwear debut. The first-of-its-kind shoe will be designed specifically for the obstacles and natural elements athletes face on the OCR trail. The “Powered By” line will roll out in early 2019, with cobranded apparel from CRAFT’s existing training line launching in Summer of 2018.

Spartan events focus on sport and athleticism, pushing the bodies and minds of competitors to the limit across miles of unforgiving terrain while they conquer signature obstacles such as the Spear Throw, Inverted Wall, Monkey Bars and Barbed Wire Crawl.

“CRAFT has a proven track record for engineering the best functional apparel for endurance sports, and we’re excited to team up with a global brand that shares our passion for performance and competition to develop the first Olympic-caliber OCR-specific apparel and footwear,” said Spartan Founder and CEO Joe De Sena. “With intense competition unfolding at each race, and athletes pushing themselves to the limit, the CRAFT
‘Powered By’ line is a much-needed addition and step forward for the sport as we continue to attract global brands developing products specifically for our race and fan community.”

Most recently, CRAFT apparel was worn by Team USA Olympians Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall when they took home the gold in cross country skiing during the 2018 Winter Games. In addition, CRAFT sponsors a number of other elite athletes and professional teams across the globe in Cross Country Skiing, Cycling, Triathlon, Soccer and Track & Field. Spartan has more than one million annual participants and has seen more than 5 million athletes cross the finish line since it was founded in 2010.

About CRAFT

CRAFT is a Swedish brand specializing in clothing for endurance sports where performance and comfort are crucial for a good result. Combining a true love for endurance sports with a genuine textile heritage and a dedicated organization that dares to think big, we design, develop and manufacture cutting-edge apparel and accessories for Olympic champions and everyday heroes. Visit www.craftsports.us.

About Spartan

Spartan Race is the world’s largest obstacle race and endurance brand, and the first in-sport to feature timing and global rankings. With more than 200 events across more than 30 countries in 2018, Spartan will attract more than one million global participants offering open heats for all fitness levels, along with competitive and elite heats. The Spartan Race lifestyle boasts a community of more than five million passionate social media
followers, health and wellness products, training and nutrition programs, and a popular NBC television series, which has made obstacle racing one of the fastest growing sports in the world. Spartan Race events feature races at three distances, 3+Mile/20+ Obstacle “Sprint,” 8+ Mile/25+ Obstacle “Super” and 12+ Mile/30+Obstacle “Beast,” culminating in the Spartan World Championship in North Lake Tahoe, CA. Visit spartan.com for more information and registration.

MEDIA CONTACT: Jonathan Fine, 781.248.3963, jonathanf@spartan.com

Inov-8 X-Talon 230 Review

Inov-8 X-Talon 230
4.5 / 5 Overall
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Ask any racer what their most important gear is on race day, and you can be certain the majority will give you the same answer: “It’s gotta be the shoes!” And there is no more recognized brand in OCR, than Inov-8. Their proven history of quality shoes, for all running and race types, has culminated with the newest iteration of their original trailblazer shoe – The Inov-8 X-Talon 230. I reached out to Inov-8 for a chance to review their newest release, and was psyched to have them at my doorstep this past week. Let’s see what they’re made of.

Inov-8 X-Talon 230 Features

PHENOMENAL GRIP

“New industry-leading STICKY GRIP™ rubber delivers better traction than its predecessor over both wet and dry underfoot conditions.” Inov-8 calls these shoes “The next generation of trail running shoes.” They have an aggressive 6mm stud, which made my snow, mud, and ice filled run seem like it was a trail on a sunny Spring weekend. If you’re like me, you are constantly looking for the next solid step when running through questionably steady terrain, the X-Talon’s offer a sturdiness in my step that I haven’t felt in another shoe. When you stop worrying about how each step may compromise your footing, you can truly enjoy your run, regardless of the conditions. The X-Talon’s helped me make easy work of loose mud and snow on the trails.

RENOWNED GRIP

Iconic 8mm studs not only claw through soft terrain but also hold firm on harder ground. The X-Talon’s grip excels on unstable ground, as well as in the gym. Traversing streams, doubling back over trails full of mud, or tackling an 8 ft wall, the X-Talon held on like no other shoe I’ve worn before. And those studs were perfect for climbing a rope.

INCREASED PROTECTION

Second-generation META-PLATE is a rock plate that protects the underfoot from sharp rocks. We’re all kids inside, aren’t we? If you’re like my and my inner child I am constantly jumping from rock to rock as I am out on the trail. The protection built into the X-Talon shoes allows me to save my arches as I mountain goat around in the wilderness.

Inov-8 X-Talon 230 Durability

Right out of the box, the X-Talon shows off its tough build and durable form. The materials of the shoe wrap around your foot, like it was custom molded for my appendages. It’s flexibility allows for ease of movement while I run, while still protecting my toes from being caught on jutting rocks, or rogue branches hanging off the occasional fallen log. The X-Talon is wrapped in durable materials around the side, and toes, which will hopefully prevent tearing, and blowouts – an issue I’ve had with my wide feet in the past.

Pros

  • Amazing grip on almost all terrain.
  • Much soft, more cushioned steps as compared to past X-Talon releases
  • Sturdy design and durable materials ensure they’ll last me the race season and beyond.

Cons

  • Inov-8’s “precision fit”is a slim design and may not fit all peoples individual footprint. I usually have to go up a size to get a fit that doesn’t crunch my toes together.
  • The X-Talon is heavier than other OCR shoes, weighing in at 230g.
  • Sorry Inov-8, you still haven’t mastered my adesire to run full speed on ice.

 

Inov-8 X-Talon 230 Conclusion

In the past I was an avid fan of Inov-8’s Trailroc Series shoes. They were versatile, had a good grip, and performed well in all weather but lacked protection, and a good landing surface for heavy footed runners like myself. The X-Talon fills those gaps and more. They’ve delivered in the brutal, sometimes menopausal weather of New England. There’s nothing like a clean pair of new shoes fresh out of the box, but the first thing I wanted to do was get these babies dirty. I was in the mud and show as fast as I could lace these shoes up, and I couldn’t be happier with them. I see them becoming an extremely popular shoe for this upcoming obstacle course season. For me, they have the perfect balance of soft landing, with base level protection, grip, and pliability for everything we do on a typical race weekend.



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Kayla Coons

Editor and Race Relations Liaison at ORM
Kayla is the content editor and race relations liaison for ORM. Fancy ways of saying that she gets runners to the races and then cleans up their typos when they write a recap.

Her first race was the Georgia Warrior Dash in 2011 and she still enjoys racing local events and meeting the awesome runners who stop by the ORM tent when she's working.
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Altra King MT Shoe Review

Altra King MT
4 / 5 Overall
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King MT

Altra are famous for creating long distance running shoes with a zero drop profile, generous cushioning and a wider ‘foot-shaped’ toe-box designed to accommodate natural toe splay. With the King MT, Altra applies those principles into a more minimalist format, alongside great drainage and a rugged build making the Altra King MT the first shoe from Altra that would work well for obstacle course racing. Altra kindly provided this shoe for review and testing. Should this be your next OCR shoe? Read on to find out!

Altra King MT Features

Altra King MT Out-sole – Altra have chosen to use the Vibram Megagrip compound for the outsole of the King MT. The tread design is extremely aggressive, with row upon row of chevron shaped lugs, designed specifically for gripping in mud, snow, and wet conditions. I’ve been impressed with other shoes using this compound and I am pleased to see it used here.

Grip King MT Clean

Altra King MT Mid-sole – Altra’s Ego™ compound is used for the mid-sole on this shoe which is meant to be lightweight and consistent at providing cushioning in a wide range of temperatures. So, yeah… they work well in the cold. Trust me; Alberta Canada doesn’t hold back during the winter! The mid foot also has a rock plate, which is not always a feature of OCR shoes. The rock plate stops somewhere towards the forefoot, so you do get some mechanical dividends on the toe off and thoughtful protection where it is most required.

ALtra King MT 3

Altra King MT foot-bed – The foot-bed is really quite comfortable and I didn’t feel the need to exchange it for anything else. It is removable and can be exchanged for whatever kind of extra cushioning is desired. Critically for OCR it didn’t seem to shift or slop around even when it got extremely wet and muddy.

Altra King MT upper – The upper of the shoe is made from a rip-stop material, paired with a TPU overlay to keep the weight down without sacrificing durability. Altra have surrounded your heel with a weird kind of grippy one-way fabric that helps the shoe stay on when the mud wants to steal them. There doesn’t seem to be a rigid heel cup structure in this shoe and King MT will need to be locked down quite tightly to prevent lateral shearing of the upper and to take advantage of that sharkskin heel lock.

King MT close

The toe area features a rubber bumper to prevent toe stubs and the same protective material reaches up to the arch area also to protect from sharp twigs and rocks. The toe box itself has plenty of promised room laterally, but I felt like the ceiling was a little low for my fat big toe. Maybe I’m a freak in that department, but it was touching the uppers most of the time when running and I am concerned that my toe could start to wear a hole through here one day. No problems yet though.

King MT foot shaped

Altra King MT lacing – The laces on the King MT are fine. The extra eyelet is required and welcome to keep that heel locked in when the going gets muddy. The elephant in the room is the Velcro tie down, which has been quite polarizing for others who have reviewed the King MT. The idea is that you can lock down the mid-foot on hard descents and then loosen the fit slightly to provide a little more mid-foot volume for climbs. It is also a tie down for the laces. It works for the most part, except for my foot volume the upper strap is a touch too long at times.

Altra King MT lacing

The heel of each shoe features Altra’s Gaiter trap, and a gaiter loop at the end of the lace run. For those who want to use these shoes in snow, loose scree or talus, this is a welcome feature.

Grip King MT Gaiter

Altra King MT weight – At 289 g per shoe for a men’s 9.5, the King MT sits right in the mid-weight range for an OCR shoe.They are 70 g heavier per shoe than the Reebok All Terrain Super 3.0, and the similarly priced and very popular Salomon S/Lab Sense 6 SG but it remains 30 g lighter than the even more popular Salomon Speedcross 4.

King MT foot shaped weight 3

Altra King MT Usage

When you actually put them on, it makes sense. The shoes are designed to fit feet- not one particular sport modality. Altra seem to be letting your feet do what they naturally want to do, without getting in the way. The fit is comfortable and my toes have had plenty of room to move without forming hot spots! It might just take you some time to get used to the geometry of the Altra running style after running in conventional shoes. I would advise you to break them in well before racing in them.

King MT heel

On a long wintry trail run, these clung on about as well as other deep lugged shoes could. Biting the ground with each step, they work really well in everything I could throw at them (including a test on a sledding hill), chomping through muddy, root covered trails, snow, wet rock, muddy plywood, grass with no problems. When I needed grip or support, they generally offered plenty. I liked the zero heel to toe drop. It feels fast, as if the heel isn’t striking too early. 

King MT Altra running

While traction was great in the sagittal plane (e.g. running forwards and braking), lateral movements weren’t as sure. Look at the lug pattern and you will see the reason for this. There is less lateral grip than forward/backward directional grips. Creating some more offset between lugs could improve this. I would hate to slide out on a muddy bucket carry. It’s not a major flaw, but it could probably use some improvement.

King MT Grip2

The mid sole is protective and responsive. I ran on some pretty rocky trails with these and found them comfortable enough to not worry about where I was placing my feet. The real stress test for these was crossing a Lego-strewn floor without a trip to the E.R. The point is, they inspire a fast and aggressive running style across tough terrain, which is the kind of confidence you need to perform in OCR. 

If you’ve ran in Altra before, expect a firmer ride than you’d be used to. Altra classify this as a minimal cushioning shoe, yet I would say that the ride of the King MT is still comfortable enough for most of the distances you might find in OCR. It’s a lively shoe with plenty of energy return.

On the topic of drainage, these shoes have plenty of areas of open mesh and after a full submersion, they drained to feel just damp within about 200m of running. The water retention wasn’t significant.

Altra King MT Durability

You’ll have to dig around the interwebs for more details on extended use and durability. I’ve tested them on about 30 miles of some pretty unpleasant conditions in Alberta this November and they have held up well. No toes bursting forth (toes and fingers crossed). No loose seams. No cut eyelets. The strap has managed to avoid the scissors and the sole has barely shown any wear. The megagrip compound used for the outsole is the best in the industry and I have found that it wears extremely well – especially when compared to the compounds used by Salomon on the Speedcross line.

Altra King MT Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Versatile for OCR and beyond
  • Deep lugs with outstanding grip
  • Great fit and comfort
  • Durable outsole
  • Rock plate is very protective
  • Shoes are springy and responsive
  • The Zero Drop profile encourages good running form
  • Nice wide toe box to avoid crowding and blisters.

Cons

  • The midfoot strap may not work as planned for smaller feet
  • The shoes can lose grip slightly when moving or pushing laterally in mud
  • Can be quite expensive

Altra King MT Conclusion

Even as is, the Altra King MT strikes a nice balance between weight, grip and protection, but if I had to suggest one improvement it would be just to make a few adjustments to the lug arrangement for the next version. I love the extra thought and innovation in this shoe (mid-foot strap and the shark-skin grip in the heel) and I love how it comes to life in the muddiest, ugliest conditions. The result is a racing product that will work nicely for the obstacle course and many other off trail adventures. It’s fast, minimal and aggressive enough that elite racers should be considering it as a real contender for this race season.



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Kayla Coons

Editor and Race Relations Liaison at ORM
Kayla is the content editor and race relations liaison for ORM. Fancy ways of saying that she gets runners to the races and then cleans up their typos when they write a recap.

Her first race was the Georgia Warrior Dash in 2011 and she still enjoys racing local events and meeting the awesome runners who stop by the ORM tent when she's working.
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It’s Not Making You Faster

Huarache sandals

©2013 Scott Smuin

Who do we blame?

Born to Run?

Vibram?

Luna?

Barefoot Ted?

Beyond The Minimalist Movement

I’m going to piss-off a lot of my friends with this semantic exploration into the current trends in racing footwear, but, well, c’est la vie, because Cranky believes it’s getting waaaay out of hand.

Footwear, or the lack thereof, has been rapidly changing in athletics over the last five years. What was old, like “Nike Waffle Racer in 1973, old”, became new again, and minimalist footwear hit the athletic shoe world with tremendous force.

Nike Waffle Racer shoe

photo: This looks like like it would be an excellent OCR shoe, yes?

First, it was the minimalist models that began trickling in, most notably models from New Balance, Inov-8, and pretty much anything supporting a neutral gait, with low profile, 4mm or less heel-to-toe drop, and weighing in at lighter than 8 ounces.

This was good.

Barefoot Running?

Then, came the barefoot movement. Seemingly, not so good.

I mean, ok, so there have always been “barefoot runners”, but they certainly weren’t considered “hip”, nor progressive – just a little crazy. The mid-foot vs. heel-strike movement started to ramp up, people started looking towards pose running, which lead them to more minimalist footwear options, and BAM!, some of the more extremists went straight to barefeet.

Sounds good, right? I mean, Who’s going to heel-strike barefoot?

When Barefoot isn’t Really Barefoot

If you haven’t already, you will soon hear someone say, “I run barefoot…” and then follow that up with, “…in Vibrams.”

Unless I’m missing something, that’s not really “barefoot”. Barefoot means bare, feet. No shoes. But somehow, Vibram Five Finger runners have redefined the meaning of “barefoot”.

vibram

Photo: as shown at vibramfivefingers.com

Let me start by saying, I own a pair of Vibram Five Fingers. I felt like, and continue to feel like, occasional training in very minimalist footwear, like Vibrams, helps to improve my overall foot strength and flexibility. That being said, I would never race obstacles in them.

Besides looking completely ridiculous, I see absolutely no advantage for obstacle racing athletes. Because most OCR races are run on the trails, and a majority of obstacles require a lot of jumping, and landing, it seems counter-intuitive to the needs of the racer, and seems that it would promote injury, force more careful foot placement, and ultimately slow the runner down.

Huarache Sandals and Various Knock-offs

It gets better.

Sandals.

Now, there are a lot of athletes, with whom I carry a great amount of respect, that choose to race in this kind of extreme minimalist footwear; but, I simply do not understand this incessant need to run in Huarache sandals, or any other sandal, when solid athletic performance is a desired outcome.

Unlike Vibrams, they look cool and interesting enough, but I have seen countless examples of OCR athlete, sitting on the side of the trail, all sad and dejected, with their cool, new, hip sandal in their hand, completely blown-out.

Or worse, feet that that have suffered some gnarly blistering from the in-between-toe straps, the ankle straps, or the loose footbed sliding around underneath.

Why is this better than, say, an Inov-8 Bare-X model shoe with zero drop heel-to-toe, minimal upper or cushioning material, and ultra-light at about six measly ounces? or a New Balance Minimus Zero model? Both of these shoes would feel every bit as light as Vibrams or sandals, but would provide that additional protection necessary to run faster, more worry-free, and less injury-prone.

It’s Not Just the Footwear

Overzealous athletes deserve some of the blame.

Many times, athletes jump on the bandwagon without taking the appropriate time to get used to minimalist footwear. The amount of new strain added to the calves, achilles and overall foot musculature is much greater in minimalist shoes, and it takes some acclimation before one can resume the same levels of racing and training.

In Cranky’s opinion, CrossFit is the best training methodology ever invented for the masses, but many people will tell you that CrossFit is a recipe for injury; and it can be, if athletes do not first take the time to learn proper technique, scale the loads and movements, and build a foundation for which to grow.

Minimalist footwear acclimation is exactly the same thing, and when this “foundational” process is ignored, people get hurt.

But Who Cares About All That?

All grouchy commentary aside, I believe that uber-minimalist footwear like Vibrams Five Fingers and Huarache sandals makes athletes slower, more careful runners, and rarely promotes maximum performance potential.

Ask yourself this, why do none of the Kenyons, ripping through 2:05 marathons, wear Vibrams or run barefoot?

Why are none of the fastest, elite, top-finishing trail runners, from distances as short as cross country, to ultramarathon distances of 100 miles or more, wearing Huarache sandals?

Or in OCR, where’s Hobie’s Huaraches? Cody? Ella? Margaret? Oh that’s right, Margaret races for Inov-8 🙂

These athletes do not choose this extreme footwear for racing because it does not make them faster, nor perform better.

So, Cranky has to ask, for those of you that do rock the Five Fingers at races, or the {gasp} latest model of primitive sandal, why?

What are you gaining by doing this?

How are your race performances benefiting?

Are any of you getting faster by doing so?

Cranky doesn’t think so, but is open to hearing your experiences.