Hamlet, Shoe of Denmark

To shoe or not to shoe is a matter of tradeoffs. Sometimes the tradeoff favors bare feet, sometimes a little shoe is the thing to catch the conscience of the king. The latter part of that sentence makes no sense, I know, but I guess I’m in a Hamletty mood. Words, words, words. Get thee to a punnery! What I’m trying to say is, sometimes I wear shoes and since this blog is more or less about my feet, I should take a moment to discuss the slings and arrows of outrageous footwear.

This is off to an awful start. Let’s keep trudging along anyway. Here’s what’s in my closet:

Merrell Vapor Glove
Frailty, thy name is shoe!
Let’s start at the end, or more specifically the last shoe review I will ever write. I have one-and-a-half pair left. No, I didn’t lose a shoe, rather my black pair are falling apart.

Fat feet, bursting at the seams.

Fat feet, bursting at the seams.

I still like them, but it seems a shoe that is minimal enough for my tastes isn’t going to be very durable. No big deal, I am financially and ethically capable of buying more, however I’m concerned they won’t be available much longer. Everyone seems to want more cushioning, which means us barefooters have failed. It was inevitable, even if you don’t consider the possibility that runners like me are freaks of nature to be able to run the way we do. Not a big deal for everyone else, but I’m concerned I’ll eventually have to go back to the WalMart aqua sock if I want a flexy-bendy trail shoe.

SoftStar Moc3
To thine own self be shoe.
These are doing a better job of standing the test of time, but they aren’t exactly in shape to be worn with a “business casual” ensemble.

Makes chip seal feel good!

Makes chip seal feel good!

Although I could probably get away with wearing them in a theistic event, given how holy they are:

Holy soles, Batman!

Holy soles, Batman!

These are still great for running, so long as I’m not running in wetness or steepness. If my feet get sweaty, I can’t run fast either without my feet slipping around inside the shoe. I mean, I can, it’s just an added thing to think about when my brain is desperately searching for excuses to slow down.

Luna Venado Sandals
There is nothing either good nor bad, but thinking makes it shoe.
I never reviewed these because, well, Barefoot Ted never sent me a pair and the only way I would write a review is out of a sense of obligation to the giver of free things. So I bought these to see how the straps compared to the strings of the Xero Shoe sandal (little bit the same, little bit different, whatever; it’s a slab of rubber strapped to the foot) and because I think they look cool on Patrick Sweeney. I really want them to work, and they do, so long as I have enough bandaids. Getting the snugness just right is a trial. Xero Shoes is coming out with an easily adjustable sandal too, which I’ll buy because Steven Sashen looks JUST LIKE THORIN OAKENSHIELD!

Grow a beard and a stern demeanor...

Grow a beard and a stern demeanor…

... and maybe a tan, too. Seriously, I spent the whole time watching The Hobbit annoyed that Thorin wasn't wearing sandals.

… and maybe a tan, too. Seriously, I spent the whole time watching The Hobbit annoyed that Thorin wasn’t wearing sandals.

Merrell Trail Glove 2 and Road Glove 1
Give every man thy ear, but few thy shoe.
I gave away many shoes before the move across country, but decided to hang on to these. I’m glad I did. While both shoes are shoeier than I prefer, they are sturdy. As I said at the start, everything is a tradeoff; maybe it’s not possible to have a super-minimal shoe that will not fall apart in a few months.

Something is rotten in the shoe of Denmark.
I’ve finally figured out how to walk in the things. Running is not even close to an option yet.

Merrell Jungle Glove
But break my heart, for I must hold my shoe.
This is my “formal” shoe. I never wear them.

Okay, those are all my shoes. Good thing too, because I think I used up all the shoe-related quotes in Hamlet. Who knew it was such a shoey play? Now go, bid the soldiers shoe.

A Giant Leap Forward in the Progress of Socklessness: Rocket Pure Review

I got home from work as a Canine Peace Keeper, sat down and removed the Vapors from my sockless feet. It was a warm day, and I was a tad dewy. Usually in such circumstances the wife, engrossed in something productive, will scrunch up her nose and exclaim, “Holy hell, is that your feet?”

“It’s not my feet. It’s the shoes. My feet wouldn’t stink if society would allow me to roam barefoot as I please,” I explain with practiced patience.

“Ugh. Whatever. Why won’t you wear socks?”

I’d try to conceal my sigh of exasperation, but she knew. She always knows.

“Socks diminish my ground feel,” I answer, futilely.

“I knew you were going to say that.”

“I knew you were going to say you knew what I was going to say. Anyway, I’ll put my shoes in the office and wash my feet pronto, because even I realize I’m not going to win this one.”

Aaaand scene! That’s how it usually goes. Until Rocket Pure Natural Body Care For Athletes came along. A couple of spritzes of some kind of magical tea-tree/eucalyptus/minty Natural Foot Deodorant Spray totally neutralizes the stench of socklessness.

I'm not sure where the "Rocket" comes into play, but it gets that Elton John song, Rocket Man stuck in my head.

I’m not sure where the “Rocket” comes into play, but it gets that Elton John song, Rocket Man stuck in my head.

Now I come home from work and interrupt the wife’s productivity with witty banter instead of the odiferous expressions of bacteria. Recently she asked, “So how’s that spray thing working?”

I pointed to the door, where a pair of recently abused Vapors sat stenchlessly. “Go ahead, take a whiff,” I suggested, thrusting the shoes that had been exposed to the dog yard for a week, and also a frotz in the Whatzinit Creek.

Is it safe to step in? Better drink it to make sure...

Is it safe to step in? Better drink it to make sure…

They should have been wretched. Oh, and I forgot you don’t know, since you don’t live with her like I do: Iris has a Super Nose. She’ll ask from her office, “Are you cooking onions?” and I’ll reply, “No, but I was going to. Tomorrow.” She’s that good, she can smell into the FUTURE.

Needless to say, after the initial shock of having such muddied and gross apparel enter her olfactoril periphery, she said, “Huh, smells like safety from lice [tea tree oil is, among other things, used to treat head lice].” I knew this product was the real deal.

Look, I never meant for this to be product review blog. I don’t really covet things, so the thought of accumulating a lot of things just sounds like a burdensome chore to me. But c’mon, what would you have me do? This guy says, “Hey, this spray will de-stink your shoes and is made with stuff well-associated with being in contact with skin, so try some for free!” So I did, and events transpired as transcribed above with very few if any creative liberties. This isn’t a commercial, it’s a public service announcement.

How about you, dear reader? Do the ol’ foot coffins need a little freshening up? Click on over to Rocket Pure and enter the promo code BFJosh13 for a 15% discount!

Trail Glove 2 Review: A Dear Shoe Letter From My Feet

Dear Trail Glove 2,

I see you’ve made some changes! Nothing major, just freshening things up. You look great! You were quite lovely before, of course; I might even prefer the old look. Maybe it’s because I’m getting old and therefore resistant to change. Or maybe it’s because to me, you will always be the shoe I met years ago, and that’s how I will always remember you. The first shoe that listened. The shoe that gave me the freedom to be me. That’s why this letter is so hard to write. That, and generally feet like me are not well equipped to write with a quill pen as I am doing now. Not without practice, anyway.

I think that I’m not the foot for you. I’m too rugged and wild, you need a foot that’s more sensitive, that will appreciate your cuddling and stable sole. A more civilized foot that needs a little more shielding from the slings and arrows the trail is heir to. If running were riding a horse, you’d be an exquisite western saddle. Me, all I want is maybe a blanket, if anything at all. There’s no point in going into why, because you can’t be what I truly want when I want any shoe at all: the Vapor Glove.

The Vapor Gloves, in the race that was supposed to be your debut years ago. I am so sorry.

The Vapor Gloves, in the race that was supposed to be your debut years ago. I am so sorry.

Yes, of course that’s the shoe that has stolen me away from you. Deep down, I think you always knew it would be.

I swear this has nothing to do with the changes you’ve made. In fact, I’d say you’ve made improvements! You’re a little more flexible than you used to be, and that’s great! The lighter upper is nice too. The best part, though, is what you didn’t change. All the best parts of you that made you you is still you: the roomy toe box, the nice and stable fit, and the magical ability to feel like next to nothing when running around on trails. All that stays the same, and you’re a better shoe for it.

I can see the look of betrayal welling in your eyelets, and I have no defense.

The look of betrayal... and adjustability! The Vapor Glove doesn't have this lacing system. No one can ever beat you in that category, sweetheart!

The look of betrayal… and adjustability! The Vapor Glove doesn’t have this lacing system. No one can ever beat you in that category, sweetheart!

I am a cad. I knew from the moment I met you that, as wonderful as you were (and still are!), someday I would be writing this letter. This truly is a case of it’s not you, it’s me. I need something a little different, a little more flexible, less rigid. I also feel, and don’t take this the wrong way, that you’re a bit overprotective.

But look at you! All grown up now. You don't need me anymore. You never did. Go! Be free!

Look at you! All grown up now. You don’t need me anymore. You never did. Go! Be free!

What I’m trying to say is that, had this other shoe not come along, I would be very happy to keep you in the rotation. Maybe when I write my review the Vapor Glove, you’ll understand.

You’ve done so much for me, when all I’ve done was let you down. I almost never took you to races, and when I did I failed to put on a great performance. You never had your time in the spotlight, unlike your sibling the Road Glove. Life isn’t fair.

I know you’ll still wait for me to come back. It would probably be better for you if I just gave you away, but no, I’ll put you on the “Just In Case” shelf. Who knows, maybe the new shoe will let me down and I’ll need you someday. You’ll be at the ready, to serve and to forgive.

I have no doubt that you will be just the ticket for many runners out there. I will cherish the memories we have and will happily write a letter of recommendation should you ever need one. Thank you for all you’ve done, and best of luck in the future!

Josh’s Feet