Non-Running Gear Review

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One of the three color schemes

One of the three color schemes

This is going to be a first on my blog, a gear review for something that you do not actually use during a run.  I was on vacation this past week with my wife’s family, and my mother-in-law could not say enough good things about her new Montrail flip-flops.  She was turned onto them by a friend of hers that routinely runs ultra marathons and other insane distance races.  This woman told my mother-in-law that most runners that see knows where these flip-flops when they are not in their running shoes.  In fact, she said that most of them bring the Montrails with them to races and change into them immediately upon completing the race.  This type of review definitely had me intrigued, and I was prepped to investigate these flip-flops when I returned home.  My mother-in-law is such a fan that she could not stand me not having a pair so she ordered a pair for Susan and me from the beach in Mexico!  I will never turn down some free gear, especially some with such a positive review.  And it is always great to come home to a present waiting for you, courtesy of the free overnight shipping on Zappos.

Pledge on the box

Eco pledge on the box

The exact flip-flop that I got is the Molokai, which is a thermo-moldable flip-flop.  What makes these flip-flops so great (or so I have been told) is that the sandals mold to your specific foot shape and gait.  This is not an easy feat to accomplish in flip-flops.  The way this is achieved is through a somewhat unorthodox manner.  You use the oven!  That is correct, you put your flip-flops in the oven at 225 degrees for three minutes, then immediately put them on your feet so that they will mold to your specific foot. You stand in the warm flip-flops for two minutes with your normal, even weight distribution then you walk around for a few minutes in the flip-flops.  This helps the shoe provide you more surface area contact between your foot and the flip-flop, this helping create a more comfortable experience.  This is perfect for a supinator like myself.

Hoe to properly break in your Montrail Molokai

How to properly break in your Montrail Molokai

These are not leather flip-flops like my current pair of Rainbows, but they certainly are not a cheap plastic like the flip-flops that you get at Old Navy or Wal-Mart.  The look and feel of these flip-flops will be suitable for everyday wear, lake use, lounging, poolside, and any other manner that you now wear traditional flip-flops.  From the looks of the bottom of these, I think that they will hold up for the long haul, and even on a trail or two!

Hardcore flip-flop bottom

Hardcore flip-flop bottom

Obviously, I have not had these flip-flops long enough to provide an in-depth review, but I can tell you that I have had no complaints over the past four hours or so.  I will update on how these flip-flops perform through the summer.  I will say that during my small sample size, these have been extremely comfortable and I wish I had these for the last week in Mexico.  If you are like me, you wear flip-flops almost exclusively during the summer months, so there should be plenty of data at my disposal soon.  Plus, I do imagine that I will be taking these with me to most of my races from now on.

Side view

Side view

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The Great Shoe Search 2013

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Yesterday was the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in Washington, DC and one of Susan’s bridesmaids (actually, one of only three people that knew Susan and I separately prior to our relationship) ran it as her first half marathon.  She has been training for several months, and once the big day came, she was very excited and wanted to soak in the entire experience (as well she should have).  Well, Nike never half asses an event (a lot like Disney in this respect) and they never let an opportunity to make a dollar elapse either (again, like Disney).  So, of course, a women’s specific Nike event means that there will be a limited edition shoe, and in this case, that means a Tiffany blue pair of Nike Free 5.0+.  These shoes are the thing to get at these events (apparently) and our friend was lucky enough to buy a pair.  Of course once Susan saw these, she really wanted a pair as well.  But after coming to the realization that the only two ways to score a pair of these shoes was run in a Nike Women’s Half Marathon event or pay an exorbitant amount via eBay (like the runDisney New Balances), Susan moved on to wanting to buy a new pair of shoes period.

Tiffany blue Nike w/ We Run DC 4.28.13 on the tongue

Tiffany blue Nike w/ We Run DC 4.28.13 on the tongue

Our first stop was to the Sports Authority by the house.  The rationale was that Susan’s best friend had been there the week prior and saw a pair of shoes that Susan really liked.  Of course, when we got there, the shoe in question was not in stock in Susan’s size.  So we looked at some other options and Susan finally decided on a pair of Nike Free 5.0.  She had no plans in running in them, but she liked the way that they looked and thought they were comfortable.  Or at least initially they were comfortable.  Within the first 30 minutes of wearing the shoes, the sides of her feet were going numb.  Not good, so I returned the shoes and took Susan to the local Fleet Feet to have a foot assessment done.  The first thing Susan saw at the store was a sign that read “Do not buy running shoes by how they look.”  Great, Susan has already got a reason to be resistant to what the employees are going to advise her of today.  And after the initial assessment, they bring Susan three horribly ugly pairs of shoes that even if they were free, she would not wear.  And the lady even told Susan that the look was not the most important part.  That was not the greatest of sales strategies for someone not looking for a pair of shoes to run a marathon in.  But, at least we now know to be looking for a neutral shoe and the proper size as well.

Our next stop was Dick’s Sporting Goods, and they had a better section than the Sports Authority and their shoes were clearing marked with a color-coded system to separated neutral, stability, and minimalist shoes.  It was quite helpful.  The only problem was that they did not have any neutral shoes in Susan’s size.  OR that is at least what we were told.  The sales associate was a high school aged kid wearing basketball shorts and a t-shirt that kept disappearing.  We are now 0 – 3.  We decide to go to the Dick’s Sporting Goods at Wolfchase in an attempt to exhaust all options, and it was a great thing that we did.  They had a different selection of shoes that the previous store, as well as a sales associate that was determined to find Susan a pair of shoes.  Susan had multiple pairs of shoes to decide upon here and settled on a pair of Saucony ProGrid Ride 5’s.  She wore them last night without an issue, and is trying them out at work today.  Hopefully she made the right choice.

Susan's New Shoes

Susan’s New Shoes

During all of this shoe shopping, I also decided to purchase a new pair of shoes.  My current pair of shoes are too small, especially for running (completely my fault for not researching) so when I came across a pair of Saucony Grid Cohesion 5’s very cheap, I decided that go ahead and buy them.  Even if I don’t like them as well as the Saucony Triumph 10’s I wore the other night, for the price I bought them, I will get my money’s worth out of them for sure.  Of course, I nearly made a similar sizing mistake to my last shoe purchase.  I ended up going to two stores and made one return to finally land the correct pair of shoes.  And after getting injured, I am dedicated to doing whatever is necessary to avoid the avoidable injuries.

My New Shoes

My New Shoes

We also both bought some new socks, because you can always use more socks, especially when you are a runner.  I also bough a sensor pocket for my Nike iPod sensor so I can use it with my new shoes when needed.  With all of the purchases, coupons, returns, and such, I ended up qualifying for a couple of promotions (that I really shouldn’t have with the returns) that saved us about $20 on the purchases!

After skipping it last week, I will for sure have a Motivational Monday post sometime today.

New Shoes

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So I finally went on my first run in my new running shoes last night!  I opted to go for a shoe with a little more support than my Nike+ Zoom Vomero 7’s, so I chose the Nike+ Lunarglide 4.  I’ve had them for a few days , but since they are brand new, I didn’t want to have my first run with them on my long run or for a race.  I bought the shoes online without trying them on at a store prior to ordering, so there is always a chance that they will not fit right, but I never really know how good a shoe is until I run in them a couple of times.  The color I chose was electric green, which turned out to be even brighter than I expected, but I am certainly OK with that.  I wanted something that would stand out in the early morning and late evening runs, as well as a pair that I wouldn’t be mistaken for my everyday shoes.

Very bright

Very bright

My Tuesday run was four miles and was right on par with my training over the past few weeks.  I ended up running at a 9:41 pace, but more importantly, I didn’t have any blisters from the new shoes.  I started really slowly with a 10:54 pace through my first half a mile but as I got used to the feel of the shoes, my time improved.  The new shoes were noticeably tighter than my current shoes, but in no way were they uncomfortable nor too small.  They just fit differently than what I have worn over the past several months.  The shoes were very light and I noticed the extra support in the heels from the moment I took my first step.  I am interested to see how my next few training runs with these shoes go, but I will probably wait until after the Germantown Half to wear them on a long run.  There still is plenty of life in my Vomeros and this will afford me the opportunity to actually break in the new shoes properly.