If you’re regular reader of this blog, you’ll know that I’m a fan of Invisible Shoe huaraches. I’m a confirmed barefoot runner, but there are sometimes days when I want a little protection for my soles, or when it’s just to cold to run barefoot. My huaraches have also become my default footwear for daily wear, as I can’t always go barefoot. I like them because they’re simple, because they’re inexpensive, but most of all because they keep me close to the essence of barefooting.
So I was excited, but a little skeptical, when Steven Sashen of Invisible Shoe announced two new models which, he said, were a big improvement on the original. Excited because I knew that anything coming from Invisible Shoe was bound to be good, but skeptical because I expected that “improved” might mean a movement away from simplicity and efficiency.
Well, I was wrong. The new Connect and Contact models are mindblowingly good. They’re a vast improvement on the original Invisible Shoe huarache, and they come even closer to the feeling of being barefoot.
Rather than have me go on at length about the new models, here’s a video from the Invisible Shoe introducing the Connect and Contact models:
The only real issue I ever had with my huaraches were that,on long runs, the knots in the laces ground into the tops of my feet a little bit. I have high insteps, and could never get the lace tension absolutely right to avoid that pressure. Also, though I’d tried the slip on/slip off lacing method, I always went back to the traditional round-the-ankle tying method because it felt more secure. Doing that on a daily basis meant constantly recreating the lace tension I needed. Not a big issue, for sure, but a bit of a drag.
With my new Connects, I started out with the traditional lacing pattern. Here’s what I ended up with:
Here’s a video from the Invisible Shoe site on how to tie the laces in the traditional way:
When I took the Connects out for a run, I was absolutely amazed! They feel hugely different from my standard Invisible Shoes. In spite of being the same thickness and weight, they feel lighter. The very subtle shaping of the Connect sole is, I think, responsible, as there’s less slap on the ground, because the sole forms itself to my foot. The new sole tread pattern and the new sole upper pattern add to that sense of lightness and connection. The result is a feeling that’s closer than ever to the feeling of being barefoot. Ground feedback is considerably enhanced. Running in the Connects feels lighter, more effortless, and quicker.
Having tried Version One of my Connects, I then experimented with tying the laces in the slip on/slip off way. Here’s what Version Two looked like:
And here’s a video from the Invisible Shoe site specifically on how to tie the laces in the slip on/slip off way:
Of course, I then took Version Two out for a run. A number of runs, in fact. And the experience just got better. No pressure around my ankles, and the huaraches still stayed on my feet. Better still, it felt as if I was floating on top of the huaraches! With the slip on/slip off method of tying the laces, the huaraches are simply there, at the bottom of my feet, doing the absolute minimal necessary to protect the soles of my feet while I get onn with the job of running. Chalk up another win to the Connects!
Version Two included the full length of the laces. I didn’t want to trim them until I’d decided that slip on/slip off was the way I wanted to go. That being the case, I then trimmed of most of the excess lace, and ended up with this:
I had thought of trimming the edges of the Connect soles a bit, so they conform more closely to the shape of my feet. I still may do that, but, for the time being, am leaving them the way they are. I want to run a lot with them this way, and then make a decision.
(How you tie your laces is up to you. If it works, and it’s comfortable, go for it. There are always new videos of lace tying methods on the Invisible Shoe site.)
I was a fan of Invisible Shoe huaraches before, but the Connects have made me a rabid fan. These are the best things to come down the pike, ever. If you’re a barefoot runner – beginner or veteran – I suggest you get yourself a pair of Connects for running on sidewalks or pavement, or just for general wear. You won’t go wrong. Seriously. Do it now. Go here to get yourself Connected.
Coming up next: My review of the Invisible Shoe FeelTrue Contact.