How to field test a pair of shoes? Dunk it in water, boil it over fire? Bashed it repeatedly to see how soon it tear? Obviously I couldn’t do that. So the only thing to do is to wear it and see how it goes.
In normal conventional review, the focus will be on the cushioning, the grip, the flexibility, the weight, sizing and the design. For minimalist shoes, there is no cushioning to speak of, so the primary areas I will look at were be the sizing(fit), the grip, the flexibility and to a lesser extent, the design and of course the most important ground feel.
Design – This one is pretty straightforward. Unlike other minimalist shoes, this one look very normal. When I put it on, there was no ‘yee’, ‘yuck’ or ‘cool’. It does not elicit any response just an ordinary pair of shoes which is good. The inside of the shoe is supposed to be seamless thus reducing the chances of getting blisters. However, there is still a fold above the arch but because I worn a pair of socks, I didn’t feel it or get any blister. On my second run, I went sockless. Unfortunately, either my skin is really thin or flawed or the shoe is too small, I ended up with blisters on the outside of the 2 toes and both the heel. Oh well, I suppose I have to go with socks. Overall, I will rate the design a 8 out of 10.
Sizing – Like in any conventional shoes, correct sizing is of primary importance. Too wide or too narrow and there will be a lot of problems. At the shop, I first tried on a pair of US size 12, my usual size and to my utmost surprise it was way too big. In the end, I settled for a US size 10 or UK 44. However, as the shop had no treadmill, I couldn’t really test out the fit. When I put it on for the first run, and after walking a few steps, I realized the right was a tad too small. I have Morton’s toe so I need a little bit more headroom in the toe area. Funny thing is when I press down, I can feel some space yet my toe was scrunching up. Actually, the web site recommended getting 1 size bigger for the shoe than usual. Maybe I should have followed that advice. Or could it be the laces? As I had planned to replace the laces with the lazy bum laces, I had not bother to do any adjustment to the laces. But the left foot was fine. In term of width, it felt just right. There was adequate room in the toe box for the toes to splay and during running, there was no tight feeling or rubbing against the side wall. On the 2nd run when I went without sock, the size fits well and there was no feeling of the toes being squashed. 7/10