Skoras, Altras, and Vibrams, OH MY!

Steve AnkneyGeneral0 Comments

Minimalist Shoes

Over the last few weeks, we have encountered a few items that I thought were worth mentioning.  More specifically, shoes–some of which we have plans to review, others that we were only able to get a short period of time with, but would love to get our hands on for a more thorough review in the future.  I’m not sure if our obsession with shoes (see the picture of our still growing collection on the right for evidence) stems from a way to reduce stress (which is so eloquently presented, below, by the IT Crowd), or if it is just a need to please our followers with endless review material.  I’d like to believe it’s the latter option but, like technology, buying a new pair of shoes is both extremely exciting and enjoyable, so I too often find myself feeling excessive amounts of joy upon an impending shoe purchase. Enough about me, though, let’s talk shoes!



Skora BASE

Skora BASE - Picture from SkoraRunning.com

The first pair of shoes I thought deserved some attention are the recently released Skora BASE (pictured left) and the FORM.  Skoras are being called “the Apple iPod of Minimalist Shoes”, which, in my opinion, are some very big shoes to fill. This nickname stems from the high quality materials used to make the shoe, their sleek design, and the quality packaging (the box has a magnet!). However, like it or not, these features have led to another similarity to Apple: a high price point.  The BASE comes in at $125 a pair which is not completely unbearable considering I’ve been willing to spend that much on other shoes. The FORM, on the other hand, checks in at a whopping $195 a pair.

I had a chance to try on a pair of the Skora BASE at Revolution Natural Running in Wauwatosa, WI.  You are first greeted by a thick cardboard box (reminiscent of the cardboard used for Apple packaging), which can be opened by lifting the attached lid by its magnetic flap at one edge.  The Revolution Natural Running employee and I even joked how the box would make for a great picture box (which I would consider doing if I actually printed out my photos).  Upon first look, I must say I was impressed.  The design is refreshing and even futuristic looking.  After getting them on my feet, though, my reaction changed from excited to unsure.  They looked great on my feet, but they felt awkward, and the strap seemed almost worthless, so much so that I would consider cutting the strap off if I purchased them.  This leads me to believe that the $195 model, which includes laces instead of a strap, would probably be the better option, but at that price range, it is likely out of the grasp of most of the running community.  End of the day, Skora has made a quality product that should make waves in the minimalist community.


Altra Delilah

Altra Delilah - Picture from AltraZeroDrop.com

Next are the Samson & Delilahs (men’s & women’s respectively) from Altra, which are the newest addition to the Altra line-up (we will be reviewing the Adam & Eves by the beginning of next month).  We haven’t had the chance to interact much with these shoes (or anything from this brand, for that matter), but these new entrants are one of the best looking shoes not only in the Altra line-up, but also in the growing pool of minimalist shoes.  I am excited to try the Adams, and hope to get my hands on a pair of Samsons ASAP.  These new shoes are available for purchase from their website for $99.

 


The last two pairs of shoes I would like to mention are from Vibram FiveFingers, both of which are from Vibram’s Spring 2012 line-up and for which we have in-depth reviews slated for this month (the Spyridon this week and later in the month, the SeeYa).  I have already mentioned the Spyridon in an earlier post, where I expressed both my interest and love for the new XSTrek Vibram Rubber Sole, so I won’t bore you with that again until my full review of the Spyridon.  If you are interested in the full review, be sure to check us out on Facebook, Twitter, or subscribe to our newsletter at the bottom of this post so you don’t miss anything!

Vibram-SeeyaI also wanted to quickly touch on the See-yas.  I have had the chance to run in them three times, and I am both pleased and annoyed by what Vibram has done.  I won’t offer too much of an opinion yet, as I haven’t put more than 8 miles on them and don’t feel like I am able to fully review them.  I will, however, make a quick mention of the lack of attention to detail that Vibram put into the heel cup.  The shoes fit like a glove and are insanely light, but the blister inducing rubbing that occurs on my achilles is so unbearable that I have had to take them off before finishing my runs.  Vibram, for whatever reason, decided to go with a very minimal design and use a thin elastic band around the opening of the shoe but then went with a very aggressive heal counter (i.e. the piece on the back of the shoe which gives the heel cup structure and height) and an abrasive heel tab.  This makes for some unpleasant moments and a blood stain on the day glow yellow.  Hopefully Vibram is able to address this in later iterations of this model.  All in all, I am pleased with what Vibram has offered for this season, and I’m looking forward to seeing the rest of the spring line and the fall line late this summer.

(UPDATE: Full SeeYa review is now available!)


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Steve is an Executive Recruiter at Robert Half Executive Search in Madison, WI with a business degree in Information Systems and E-Commerce from the University of Toledo. Steve loves spending his time away from work; running, gaming, watching movies, checking out new social networking tools/sites/start-ups and blogging.