When my coach, Eric Orton, released his newly designed shoe, I was very happy.
Eric has pushed me to go places I never thought I’d be able to go, including running a marathon (first of many I hope) and running a crazy long run in the mountains of Colorado.
So when he launched his new shoe and line of B2R (Born to Run) products, I knew I immediately had to try them out.
I ordered them on the website, and when I unboxed them, I was surprised. I either didn’t notice or pay attention to the photos on the website since this was not a “normal” shoe.
First thing you notice when you look at it is that there is a split right down the middle. That’s for the toes to have more freedom to move around and so the big toe can get a greater range of motion on its own (I think).
The shoe also comes with special socks, that look like crab claws when you unpack them, but they stretch very well over the toes.
I also tried the shoes with regular (non split) socks and while the fit isn’t the best, they can work.
The next think I noticed when I put them on was the comfort.
I don’t know how they did it, but the shoes are really comfortable to wear (I have weird feet, so the shoes I get are always either too big or small for me).
Walking around in them, they felt like a mix of a barefoot shoe (because of the zero heel drop) and my Nike free shoes that I usually run in.
Then I took them for a run.
Not surprisingly, my transition from the Nike free to these shoes was a bit of a disruption for my feet. Even with a relatively low heel, the Nike free still has one and the lack of heel in this new shoe took me a few minutes to get used to.
It was a bit like running in vibram five fingers for the first time, except that the shoe felt more comfortable and seems to have more cushioning.
I ran my first time with socks on, and the shoe was really comfortable and easy to use. I felt the road and trail, but not to the level of texture of running with vibrams or barefoot of course, which made it easier to run on the gravel trail I usually avoid in vibrams.
I asked Eric, and he said that the shoes can be used with or without socks, so my next run was without socks. The shoe worked great, and felt good on my feet. Definitely more protective than the vibrams.
After the first run, I felt that my calves and Achilles tendon got a good workout, but by my next run, my legs seemed to have gotten used to running without a heel again.
I also bumped my toes on rocks and roots on the trail (not on purpose of course) and the shoes offered very good protection. The shoes come in a road version, with a trail version coming soon. I don’t know how the road shoes perform on a really rough trail, but they perform just fine on gravel, dirt, and a slightly rocky trail.
One problem with running without socks came when I took the shoes off. They have an insole and when my feet came out, the insole stuck to them and got pulled out too. Not a big deal, but a bit annoying, so I’m running with socks now. Eric said that this happens because the shoe wasn’t laced tight enough, so I’ll have to try that next time I run.
I also tried running in these shoes with my injinji socks, which worked just as well as the “crab claw” socks made specifically for these shoes.
Overall, these shoes are my new favorites, and I plan to use them as my day to day running shoes.
You can get this shoes and other great products at B2R Running Shoes