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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Terra Plana Evo

I have been looking for the ‘shoes’ to wear for my barefoot run. Yeah isn’t it a oxymoron thing? Shoes to wear for barefoot run? But I wasn’t going to take any chance of getting a nasty cut or picking up some nasty infection or worms from running around barefoot. But like the bikini, it seems that the less material the more expensive and I wasn’t prepared to stump up so much $$$$ for a pair of what would be an experimental shoes.

So far stingy me has contended myself with pseudo ‘minimalist’ shoes from the mainstream manufacturer or wear a cheapo alternative like my Tyr booties. I picked up the Brooks Launch at a sale, got the Saucony Kinvara at a very good discount direct from the local agent and bought a pair of NB MT101 at Hong Kong prices. Not for me, the overpriced and ugly Vibram Five Fingers which seems to be everywhere. But since I first heard about the Terra Plana Evo, I had wanted to try it out but again kiamseap me baulked at the retail price of $229.00.

But now I have it! Courtesy of the nice people from Terra Plana Sg, I have been given a pair of the Terra Plana Evo  to what they call ‘field test’ it. Before I go into the shoe proper, something about Terra Plana:

Terra Plana is an UK based shoe manufacturer specializing in the manufacture of what it claims to be ethically correct shoes that are both environmentally friendly and socially acceptable. It uses as many recycled materials as possible, including PET (recycled plastic bottles), partially recycled soling rubbers, foam footbeds, nylon heels and quilts made from material excess in a Pakistani co-operative and its shoe factories in China are independently audited by international NGOs*, to the very highest international labour and environmental standards. For more on Terra Plana, read here.

And now back to the shoe:

According to the website, the Vivobarefoot technology with its ultra-thin patented soles “allow your feet to move and strengthen naturally. Your posture will realign itself, and by listening to your body, you will rediscover a more natural way to walk”

The Sole
According to the specs, the ultra thin patented soles are only 4mm thick and super bendable and puncture resistant. So the first thing I did was to pick it up and wow it was light. At 8 oz  or 227 gms, it was extremely light. The bendable part? I wasn’t too sure. Sure it bend well enough but I felt that it was slightly stiff at the arch unlike said the Nike Free which can bend every which way. The part I like best was the puncture resistant part. According to the pretty lady at the shop, the sole is made from kelvar like material and is designed to last. That hopefully is the truth cos at the price that it is retailing, it had better be worth twice the lifetime of a typical running shoes. Actually it is TPU abrasion resistant sole and not exactly kelvar. Some review online claim that it works well on all conditions. Looking at the hexagonal pattern of the sole, I am not really sure that it can grip well on wet concrete surface but that is something I will take pleasure in finding out.

The Upper Body
The hexagonal pattern is all over and it looks kinda cool until I got one in my size and I thought – it looks like a clown shoe! But it still looks far far better than the VFF. Anyway, what I like is the almost seamless design. It is designed for sockless wear but after my experience with the Zoots Ultra, I think I will play safe and wear a thin pair of socks if anything to contain the bucket of sweats that oozes out from my foot and leg. Speaking of sweat, the shoe is supposed to be coated with a water resistant nylon body and a lycra lining which means water can’t get in or out but from what I read online, water goes in and out easily which can be good or bad.

So how does it performs on the road?  That got to wait until I picked my arse up and go for a run in it. Which will be soon but meanwhile, there are great and very comprehensive review of the shoes here and here.

Date of Purchase: 8 March 2011

Purchased from: Terra Plana

Cost: $269.00 (review shoes)

Worn in Races:

Sundown Marathon 28 May 2011

Retired: 13 July 2013

Total Mileage: 361km

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