Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Cool and Casual Shoes I: Xeroshoes Ipari Hana Review!

Xeroshoes Ipari Hana

Because life isn't all running, as fun as that would be, it's great that there are minimalist options out there for casual shoes.  I've reviewed a few in the past, but it's been a while, so it's a great time to catch up!  And, to kick it off, I have a quick review of the just released Ipari Hana from Xeroshoes.

Wait... what?  Yep.. a shoe from the company famous for minimalist sandals. The just went on sale today!  Normally $79.99, but now $64.99 through the end of the month.. but I digress.. let's check out the shoe!

So... Xeroshoes first venture into an actual shoe, is really kind of a sandal in disguise.  The sole of the Hana is patterned after the 5.5mm  FeelTrue® sole from the Z-Trek Sandal.  On top of that is a 2mm insole that can easily be removed as well. 

The upper is a vegan constructed canvas, with a microfiber liner.. however I have eaten bacon while wearing these, so probably nullifies that.. ;-)    What is cool is that the strap slot along the ankle is still part of the sole, like the sandal, but integrated now into the lacing. 

As you can see, the upper lace pulls through the side strap for a nice fit.  Also, along side of the laces is an expanding elastic, so once you lace up to the tension you like, they are pretty easy to slip on and off without re-lacing... nice feature for casual shoes. 

The toe includes some nice reinforcement to prevent any wear through on the canvas upper..

The 2mm insole can be removed.  The interior is built pretty well, and the microfiber makes for a comfy interior if you go without socks.  I normally don't, but you certainly can in these. 

Almost forgot the obligatory fruit roll up flexibility pic!  

Finally... not a bad weight for a size 11.  It's funny how shoes can often feel heavy or light, and it doesn't always correlate to the exact weight.  These certainly feel lighter than 9 oz, but the bulk of the weight comes from the 5.5mm sole (which includes a 5,000 mile warranty). 

Ok.. so what do I think of them?  For a first go at a shoe, I think Steven and Xeroshoes have nailed it.  These are super comfortable to wear...  not quite as much ground feel as the Z-Trek sandal, but I attribute that to the 2 mm insole.  The upper is soft, and from what I understand, will stretch a bit.  Not too worried about it as I'm not running in these, so loose and comfortable is fine by me.

I've done a few long walks/hikes in these, and so far they are holding up really well... can't ask for much more from a casual shoe... and they look great too!

The only kind of funky thing is that there is kind of a gap alongside my ankle the collar doesn't really snug up.  It doesn't present an issue, however, just seems like stuff could get in there, but again, not trail running in these so not a big deal.  Curious to see how these stretch and shape to my foot over time. 

So.. there you have it.  If you are looking for a well built, comfortable, and well made casual minimalist shoe, take a look at the Xeroshoes Ipari Hana... and ladies, stay tuned this spring for a women's version called the "Lena".   But for now, grab a pair of the Hana's while they are on sale..  great shoe from a great company with a great warranty :-)

As always let me know if you have questions by leaving a comment here, on the Facebook page

Happy Trails!


Thursday, October 6, 2016

US Trail Running Conference 2016, Estes Park CO

Fun Run Saturday morning

Happy October!  Hope you all are having a great fall.  My October got off to a GREAT start at the US Trail Running Conference in beautiful Estes Park, CO on Saturday 10/1.

This was the 4th annual conference, and my 2nd one.  Last year I had an incredible time there representing Fuel 100 Electrobites, and I was blown away by the workshops and panel discussions. You can read about last years conference HERE.

From L to R: Carrie Wilson (Carson GM and shoemaker extraordinaire), Everett Carson (the man, myth, and legend!), Rachel Kelly (Carson Ultrarunner), and some goofy guy photo bombing!  Photo courtesy of American Trail Running Association

This year I got to attend as part of the Carson Footwear team, and I was really excited to spend the day talking about shoes... I mean who wouldn't??

But really, the US Trail Running Conference is just  a cool event.  The conference is put on by a partnership of Active at Altitude and the American Trail Running Association (ATRA).  Terry Chiplin from Active at Altitude and Nancy Hobbs from ATRA (plus all of their minions) do an amazing job of running a very heavy schedule of great topics and workshops. The 4-day event takes place on the doorstep of Rocky Mountain National Park at the famous (infamous?) Stanley Hotel, famed for its inspiration of "The Shining" from Stephen King.

Terry Chiplin of Active at Altitude
The first 3 days of the event are full of informative workshops and panel discussions targeted to Race Directors and Vendors. The final day on Saturday was just for folks like you and me... trail runners!!

Getting ready to head out for a run

Just in time to catch the sunrise

Views were so-so..  ;-)
Carsons on the trail.. Red Zombie Racer, and Stinger

The day kicked off with an early morning fun run (all the pics above), and then it was off to work the Expo at 8:30.  The event schedule was pretty full, but here are some highlighted topics:

Future Technology, Trail Shoe Development panel (with Brian Beckstead, Jeff Browning, Aaron Saft, and our local CO phenom, Peter Maksimow), Future Trends in Trail Running, Healthy Nutrition & Hydration, Healthy and Engaged Trail Running,  Women's Panel, and Healthy Lifelong Running Panel (Which had a lot of great advice for an old dude like me).

Steven Sashen of Xeroshoes..  and that photo bomber guy. 
But, besides the amazing discussions that day, one of the coolest aspects of this conference is the opportunity to network and meet all kinds of folks.  I got to finally hang out with Steven Sashen of Xeroshoes and check out the cool lineup for 2017.  And yes, Steven is the fun and nutty guy you would expect.. we had a great time!  I also finally met up with Josh Sprague of Orange Mud, and fellow ambadassador Kevin Goldberg...  but I forgot to get a pic!!  ugh... oh well.  I am planning on an adventure soon to check out "the basement" in Castle Rock, CO where all the Orange Mud magic happens so stay tuned! 

Besides these guys, I also got to say hi to a number of folks I know, plus I got to meet a lot of other cool people.  And, I got to talk about trail running, and trail shoes (Carson Footwear of course), almost all day!  And yes.. the day went by really fast, but we had a great time!  Hanging out with Everett Carson and the Carson team was pure awesome.

Almost forgot to mention our buddy the Red Zombie Racer!  Which reminds me.. While talking with ATRA's Nancy Hobbs at our table, someone was reaching for a shoe by this zombies arm... to be helpful, I reached in to grab the shoe and inadvertently moved the arm upward... and Nancy shot up about 3 feet off the ground!  Too funny...  well to me at least :-)

Almost forgot the swag!!  I love this Headweats trucker hat handed out at the conference.. already broke it in on a run today!  Most vendors had cool stuff to giveaway (at the Carson table we had some very awesome headband/buffs). So that just added to the fun of the day..

Anway, there you have it.  The sure sign it was a great conference was the fact that I'm already looking forward to next year.  I'm sure it will be even bigger and better, so put it on your calendar!

Happy Trails!