Saturday, January 14, 2012

Trendsetter...or Follower

As you all know, I am probably the least fashionable/least knowledgeable about fashion person you know or read about. In fact, I routinely look through my favorite magazine (no, not US Weekly...though it is a close second), Real Simple saying things like:

"Who in the WORLD would pay $70 for a PONYTAIL holder?"

Seriously. It looks like a bug exoskeleton.

"Why on EARTH would I spend $279 on an end table YOU CAN'T EVEN SEE?!?!?!?!"

I would spill my wine when trying to set it on this because I couldn't see it. We all know that is just alcohol abuse...
So it shouldn't come as any surprise when I wear relatively old gym clothes. Sure I get new ones, but I don't necessarily care what the newest and best apparel is for two reasons:

1) It takes a long time for me to be convinced that something is awesome enough for me to part with any amount of money. (Unless it is tacos. Then you have me at "tacos.")

2) If I can't order it online, that means I have to go shopping at a store, and we all know how I feel about that.

However, sometimes things need to be replaced. My very loved, very used gray Adidas shoes with pink stripes were beginning to get so worn, I looked like a hobo. My pinkie toes were peaking out the sides. No tread existed on the bottom. It was only then when I began to collect information on maybe, possibly getting a  new pair of shoes.

Now, if you talk to CrossFitters, they have no limit to their opinions on pretty much everything, including footwear. The "new" (read: not really that new, I am just slow on the uptake) wave is the minimalist shoe. I already know that I could not wear Vibram 5 Fingers shoes. I have nothing against them, but I am absolutely certain my feet, toes specifically, would hate them. I can't even wear toe socks, so toe shoes were out. I did notice, however, that many people started wearing other types of minimalist shoes. Shoes with barely any sole and minimal cushioning but still had the shape of a traditional shoe. Now, I know that running shoes are just fine for CrossFit and they get the job done. I also know they can affect lifting movements because of the amount of cushion in the heel. I wanted to try the minimalist shoes just to see what the big deal was. However, they were just a little too much for me to just waltz into the nearest Dick's Sporting Goods and purchase them without some extra information.

Lucky for me, many of my friends wear them at the gym. Specifically they wear New Balance Vibram minimalist shoes. I shook pretty much all of them down for info. The conversations pretty much went like this:

Me (with absolutely no warning): "Do you like those shoes?"
Unsuspecting member: "Um, hey Alison. Sure, I like them."
Me: "Why? What makes them better than your old shoes?"
UM: "They are really comfortable-"
Me: "Really? Even when you run in them? I hear they make people's calves hurt."
UM: "Well, mine were a little stiff for the first couple but then I got used to them."
Me: "What about lifting? Have you notice a difference?"
UM: "Um, I can stay on my heels more."
Me: "What size do you wear?" (Usually I only asked the girls this, in hopes that they wore my size so I could on their shoes. Yes, I know trying on someone else's gym shoes is gross. No, I don't care.)

And on went such conversations, with me rapid firing questions at the UM's who try to answer my questions while jumping rope for warm up. Those poor people were nice enough to answer my questions, but none of them have my Hobbit-sized feet. So I faced the inevitable. We went to Dick's Sporting Goods.

And I tried some on. Pink and gray of course.
I want a pair in every color.

And they fit.

And were comfortable.

And now I can't wear anything else.

I am like the Cinderella of CrossFit. Except without the mice and magic pumpkin. And Fairy Godmother.

So I have used these shoes for almost a month and I can't say enough about how much I love them. In fact, I credit them for my new 2 max rep PR in Back Squats: 215. That's right. I have magic shoes.

They also helped me in the WOD I did yesterday that was this:

Pull Ups
Double Unders
Overhead Squats (65/45)

Because I am sick in the head, I chose to do the men's weight for the OHS, because, you know. They're OHS. I did everything else as Rx-ed and finished in 22:32. Not too shabby. I never dreamed I would ever be able to do 100 Pull Ups. Ever. How cool is that?


  1. Minimalist shoe diva?

  2. Alison,
    I am huge fan of the VFF and I hate even flip flops being between my toes. Once I tried them on and walked in them, it just felt natural.

    My next pair of shoes will either be another VFF (Bikila LS) or potentially Merrel Trail Gloves. Unfortunately, most shoe companies don't make minimalist shoes in Yetti.

    Kevin B.