TALES FROM THE TRAIL (AND SOMETIMES THE ROAD TOO)

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Friday, August 23, 2013

On the Trails in Tommie Toes

If you follow my Facebook page, you might know that I won a pair of Tommie Toes.  They’re “all-terrain” sandals that I’ve been tempted to try after hearing about all the barefoot and sandal running going around.  I’ve seen runners wear sandals in big races, like the Chimera 100.  I’ve seen countless barefoot markings on my trails.  And I even saw at least 3 or 4 barefoot runners in the last San Diego Rock N’ Roll Marathon. 

After reading Christopher McDougall’s Born to Run and learning about the Tarahumara Indians, I grew even more curious.  The Tarahumara Indians who live in the mountains of Northern Mexico, run fantastic distances, seemingly effortless.  And they run all these miles in sandals!!  Before reading Born to Run, I couldn’t even walk around the house barefoot.  I ALWAYS wore something on my feet – they were that tender.  Venturing onto the trails barefoot or even in sandals was unimaginable.

Tarahumara sandals:

tarahumara

My friend Tom Bychowski wears sandals similar to those above when he runs the same trails that I run.  Tom is the man behind Tommie Toes.  As you can see he worked with the Tarahumara design a bit and came up with a sandal like this:

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Well, I’m not sure if I’m going to become a barefoot or sandal runner.  But I’m for sure going to give it a try.  First, I wanted to get my feet ready.  I began barefoot hiking early this summer.  Ouch!  Ouch! Ouch! The first trip was a bit painful to my feet (while my youngest son ran circles around me in his barefeet on the trail).  Amazingly, my feet grew stronger and barefoot hiking was really cool (as in groovy) and comfortable.  What was NOT cool was stepping on sharp rocks or burning my feet on scorching hot trails.  That’s when I slapped on my Tommie Toes. The sandals took care of both of those problems.  I didn’t notice sharp rocks.  AND the bottoms of my feet remained scorch free while at the same time feeling closely like they were bare.  I don’t think I have the strap adjusted perfectly yet.  But there is a video with strap adjustment directions on the website that I haven’t taken the time to watch very closely.

Hiking with my sons on Car Wreck Trail wearing Tommie Toes:1186127_10201916355329146_2141632211_n

While they are comfy and attractive, here’s the very best thing about Tommie Toes so far:  They stay on my feet at the beach!!!! The waves do not grab them and wash them away.  I have lost more than one pair of “flip-flops” to the ocean.  Tommie Toes, though minimal, are nothing like flip-flops.  They stay on my feet and they fit snuggly.  I would never be able to hike any distances in flip-flops.  I can in these. 

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