I picked up these sweet-ass rigs after I finally wore out my last pair of trail running shoes after 2 ½ years (the tread was gone and one of the laces finally snapped). As you can see, there’s all sorts of technology and shit in them—there’s some plastic stuff on the side, and there are different things to run the laces through, and there’s a kind of stretchy thing near the top of the laces. Overall, they’re pretty sweet.
I read this book called Born to Run in 2010. You may have heard of it. Author Christopher McDougall investigates the idea that humans are built to run long distances. Among his findings, and you may have heard this, is the idea that we don’t need running shoes to be all that fancy. Some people read the book and bought a pair of barefoot running shoes. I read the same book, but took some of the information as a license to just buy old, cheap shoes and fix the way I ran—which could maybe have previously been described as “Clydesdale,” but is now more like “gazelle, shuffling in slow motion.”
These shoes are circa 2009, I believe—I bought them used at Wilderness Exchange in Denver in 2010 for $40. I believe they are “trail running shoes,” although I also wear them on approach hikes to rock climbs, hiking, backpacking, and anything else that doesn’t require mountaineering boots. Sometimes I end up downclimbing snow slopes in them. They’re not waterproof, but that’s OK, because I don’t think they were designed to be.
Late last summer, the outer mesh stuff kind of gradually sprung a leak over the course of a 30-mile backpacking trip in the Wind River Range in Wyoming, which ended up being just fine as there was no real structural damage.
Of course, since there was kind of a big hole in the outside, I thought maybe I’d get a new pair of shoes before my pal Greg and I did a one-day Rim-to-Rim run in the Grand Canyon last October. I didn’t make time to go shoe shopping, so instead of new shoes, I just brought a couple feet of duct tape in my pack in case something catastrophic happened to them and the sole ripped off or something. They made it fine, but later part of something in the toe section was peeling away and got kind of annoying, so I ended up cutting it off with a scissors.
Based on my research and testing, I believe the ideal use for these shoes is running on trails, or running on other surfaces, or I guess walking too. But also based on my research, you can do basically whatever the hell you want in them. I wore them to hike into a backcountry ski run once, have bicycled up to about five miles at a time, and I think I played my dad in pool once in them too. I also noted that they performed well when I wore them to eat ice cream cones, including this one time I ate two ice cream cones at once because I thought they were really small for $3.50. Essentially, you can count on these shoes.
Or, I guess, you can count on most shoes. I don’t really have too many problems with running shoes. I’ve never been out on a run and said, “Man, I can’t go on. These shoes are just not high-quality enough.” Usually I get about six or eight miles done, and I’m like, “Man, I’m tired” or “I should call my friend and go smash the breakfast tacos at WaterCourse,” or “I better get back to my phone so I can type in this pithy and witty Facebook status that is bouncing around in my head right now.” It’s really not the shoes that present obstacles to my running.
I have run several 10Ks in these shoes—not 10K races where you register and get a number and stuff; I just like to run for about 60 or so minutes when I go out and I figure that’s about six miles or so, which is roughly 10 kilometers. But, you know, these will “go the distance,” so to speak, if the distance is like 6 miles. Like if you want to run the Bolder Boulder or something like that. Actually, now that I think of it, I’ve run about 10 miles in one stretch, too. So go ahead and max them out. I mean, hell, if they can go 10 miles, I imagine they can go 20 or so. I just get bored running that long unless there’s food or coffee in the middle somewhere.
Anyway, you should get a pair. Of shoes. Not necessarily these, although I can’t complain so far. I think the company that made them in 2009 or whatever still makes them. They’re not super-flashy right now, but I noticed if you throw them in the washing machine and get some of the dirt out, they look brighter for a few days.