After posting a picture of my little pigies complete with wonky toe and distinct lack of subungual hematoma, black toe to you and me, last week and having recently received a new copy of John Vonhof’s book Fixing you Feet the order of which was prompted after listening to an interview with him on Endurance Planet, it seems quite fitting and a little spooky that Runner’s Lounge Take it and Run Thursday this week is all about feet and their care. Tom, Amy are you stalking me?
Now while I am not going to repeat what is in John’s book or on his website; I am not for one really qualified and for two I have been pretty fortunate with my feet, note that I did not call them my pretty feet. I have as mentioned broken a toe, (my only broken bone!) and have a mild case of Morton’s toe (the second one in from the largest being slightly longer than the largest itself). I have my parents to thank for forcing me to wear sensible (read ugly) shoes as a kid growing up and this allowed my feet to develop normally, and while I pronate, use custom orthotics; a result of ITB issues from last year and get the occasional blister on a bad day my feet have held up over the miles; not just running but also a stint in the military reserves wearing boots over many a mile.
So this post addresses the equipment side of the footwear equation; shoes, socks and gaiters (for the trails). It’s actually more of an aggregate of posts that I hope you’ll find useful and with a bit tacked on the end. I posted a 100 mile review of my road shoe the Asics Gel Kayano 14s last month and earlier this year wrote about my search for new trail shoes which resulted in the discovery of my Salomon XT Wings which will have a 100 mile review coming up next week. I also put fingers to keys with the gripping, on the edge of the seat, account of my quest and discovery of trail socks, the appropriately names: DarnTough’s and their comparison to Injinjis! I haven’t been forced to write about my road socks as they are the ubiquitous white Coolmax variety, however if I run out of ideas I may have to resort to this!
The final piece of the puzzle, specifically from a trail perspective, which is where most of my running is these days, is the Gaiter. Functionally designed to create a seal between the outside world and your feet. Anyone who has found themselves with some crud floating around in their shoe will know how much this aggravation this can give you, ranging from a quick thump of your toe/shoe on a rock or tree to move it around or the need to stop remove your shoes and tip it out; so the reality here can range from a minor nuisance that my manifest itself into a blister down the road or the need to stop and fiddle with you shoes, thereby loosing valuable time and momentum!
There is a great quote in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance that is along the lines of
…"if you enjoy what you’re doing you can endure no end of discomfort”…
How true this is until it involves some crud in your shoe. Now while I have joked about my quiet and reserved nature and the color of the products that I choose based on that fact this is a crucial piece of kit. There are several manufacturers and resellers of gaiters from the multi million dollar industry that is North Face to the cottage industry that is DirtGirlGaiters, my preference in case you haven’t gathered is for the latter. From a consumer point of view; they’re well made, Xy Weiss makes each one individually, robust; wear-wash-wear; a bargain; c’mon at $13 inc s&h - they've got to be the cheapest thing you're wearing, fashionable; they will match anything you own and they’re fun; but hey, that’s why we’re here right!