Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A RunAmoc Rundown Run Amok

Shiny and new, with added NC State
embroidered patches. I named them Rocinante.
After 9 months, I believe I have collected enough data to draw some conclusions from my nutty RunAmoc experiment. Originally, the experiment was just a crazy notion that I could probably wear nothing but RunAmocs for the entire Summer, but with a marathon on my race schedule, it soon took on a life of its own. The more I wore the RunAmocs, the more I was determined to wear them all the time. Why? Because that's just the way I am about some things - stubborn to the point of stupidity.

For example, I make it a point to continue wearing shorts throughout the Fall when everyone else switches to long pants. Actually, I make it a point to wear my shorts all the way through the holidays to new year's day, before switching over to pants. Not the same pair of shorts mind you. That would be crazy. Just shorts in general.

I hate Winter, so wearing shorts is my way of thumbing my nose at the annoying 23.5 degree tilt of the Earth's axis. Stupid tilt. And don't get me started on day light savings time and how I refuse to adjust my watch. These things must be addressed! Did I mention that my middle name is Quixote (and not Sisyphus!).

Where were we? Oh yeah, shoes. As you have probably guessed by now, this is the update to my original review of the RunAmoc of 9 months ago. On to the review, Sancho!

Comfy as padded walls!
Having paddle shaped feet means that not many shoes fit very well. There are several shoes that I can tolerate, and even some that I quite like, but nothing allows the natural feel and unencumbered function of my foot during running like the RunAmoc. Well, except for barefoot running. But this is a RunAmoc review!

I'm not sure if the RunAmocs fit better than when I first purchased them, or if my brain has simply melded with their feel over the course of the last 9 months. I don't care either way. I really love the way they fit my foot and how they feel when I wear them.

Overall rating: Still awesome!

I based my original high rating of protection on how the RunAmoc handled some of the toughest single track I run on a regular basis in Umstead State Park. After 9 months, and a lot of significant sole wear, I am still able to cruise over the sharpest quartz gravel with no pain and no injuries. In fact, I've discovered a really excellent side effect of the RunAmocs for trail running. Since they are so low to the ground, and so flexible, I rarely turn my ankles on unexpected rocks or roots. My foot simply wraps around the rock or root instead of tilting hard to the side as it does in a stiffer shoe. However, you need a strong, flexible foot to pull this off without problems. Luckily, my feet have really strengthened in the past couple of years with all the barefoot and minimalist running I've been enjoying.

Overall rating: I feel safe.

I think I'm gonna put flame decals on my shoes.
Performance is such a subjective measurement. My definition of high performance is probably very different and measured on a completely different scale than that of someone who can actually run fast. So, take this for what it's worth. For my pace on the trails (10 min/mile), RunAmocs perform great. If you are running at a decently fast pace (faster than me), you might not be comfortable with the looseness of the RunAmocs. In fact, on the road where I can actually run at something other than turtle-like paces (well, at least like a racing turtle), I actually choose other shoe options when speed matters. Luckily, SoftStar has a more suitable option for speedy road running.

Overall rating: Great for turtles like me.

I'm sure long term quality and durability is the reason that most people will read this review. How did they fare over the long haul? The short answer is very well.
The uppers are still basically perfect.

To date, I've logged over 415 miles of mixed road and trail running (including 2 trail marathons), and most likely the same daily wear mileage in the RunAmocs. I would guess that there is 700-800 miles of total wear on my pair. Aside from some expected sole wear (pavement is tough on the trail sole nubs) the shoes are basically intact and in good condition. I was originally worried a bit about the perforated leather uppers. They were very soft and flexible, but seemed a bit fragile. Having kicked, tripped, scraped, and dragged the shoes across every conceivable root, rock, stick and stump on the trails, I can report that I have yet to do any serious damage to the leather uppers. My own body is another story...

The heel wear is from walking.

One area that hasn't improved since my original purchase is the tendency of the red dye on my pair to bleed onto my socks when I sweat excessively, or get the shoes wet in streams. I've learned not to wear white socks with them, unless I want to end up with pink socks. Even with the dye problem, I would still choose the red color. Again, stubborn stupidity...

Overall rating: Bedroom slippers built like tanks. Can create pink socks, if you desire.

What started as a crazy idea born of my own delusional, bull-headed stubbornness, turned into something more in the end. The experiment has become a journey. I'm going to see exactly how far I can take my RunAmocs. Or they can take me...

Onwards, Sancho! Giddy-up Rocinante!