I have a confession to make. After watching this video, I wanted to buy a pair of Moc3s. Not just because it looked like a serviceable winter shoe, which it is. The Mocs strike a nice balance between providing enough warmth for comfy feet in freezing weather, but they BREATHE. No other shoe has ever made me look forward to cold winter running.
Wait a minute, you’re surely saying to your computer monitor serving as proxy for my face. I thought you said no more shoe reviews, Mr “Barefoot” guy. That’s true, I did. Hey, you gotta stay on your toes around here. My brain is like a feather, drifting hither and thither through the ether. I’m all about the stream-of-conciousness prose, in the fine tradition of Thoreau. Which reminds me, “There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who strikes at the root” is a great line, but if you’re seriously trying to cut down a tree (evil or not), you can’t really hack a root, what with it being underground an all. Better to hack all the branches for a tidy TIMBER!, then get a stump remover. I’m not suggesting this as an effective means of fighting evil, by the way; and leave the trees alone, unless you need wood. Or if it’s about to fall on your house. Or if it’s where you want to put the chicken coop. You know what? Never mind. It’s your tree, you do with it what you want.
Where was I? Right, the Moc3 review. As far as performance goes, I don’t have much to add to my mention of them in the Pilot Mountain 5k: they stretch to fit my feet, although they’re a little loose around the ankle. That hasn’t been a big deal on any of my runs in them except for the super steepness of the Pilot Mountain trails. The fact that I chose to wear them for such a ri-DONK-ulous race at all shows my affinity for the product.
More than the actual product itself, however, I am thrilled by the perspective of the design. Mike Friton, the intelligent designer, focused on making a shoe that stays out of the way the human foot works. Perhaps I’m reading more into it than what they intended, but it’s like he acknowledges the existence of the trade off, that when you put a shoe on you’re compromising the utility of the foot. That’s the price of warmth and protection from annoying sharp bits. And that’s all the Moc3 does. It’s a slab of thin rubber with an upper that has stretchability to conform to the shape of your individual foot.
Look, I know what’s going on here. I have a blog, shoe companies send me their products to write about. Not because they’re seeking my input as a barefooter, but for me to generate buzz for their product. I’m mostly ok with that. But what I’d like to see more of in the shoe industry is a greater pursuit of understanding how the foot actually works, so they can design around that, instead of forcing the foot into an aesthetic (the “last” in the video). Or to put it another way, do what SoftStar is doing. Not just for me, because I want a flexybendy shoe when it’s cold and/or pointy out. Consideration of foot functionality further propagates the meme that, well, your foot has functionality.
Too many runners still ignore their feet. When they do think about their feet, they think of them as if they were hooves lacking functionality with a propensity to blister. If you want to make the sometimes dramatic step of including your feet in the process of moving about, first buy into the concept that your feet have functionality. Then spend time figuring out what that utility is. Should you feel the need/want for some kind of footwear, find a shoe that interferes with that utility as little as possible. Chances are that shoe is going to be something like the Moc3, because SoftStar is focusing on what the foot does, not what they think it should look like.
I hope other shoe manufacturers follow SoftStar’s lead and re-prioritize their design objectives to a shoe that not only leaves the foot alone, but provides flexibility of fit to accommodate different foot shapes.
Anyway, Moc3, nice shoe. I feel like an Amerindian running through the woods when I wear them. Maybe I’ll add some decorative beads or something, or tassels, to complete the look. Either way, my feet will be comfy this winter. Thanks, SoftStar.