I started out barefoot, briefly gave Vibram Five Fingers a chance, migrated to Luna Sandals for a while, had a series of muddy sandal malfunctions (looking at you Way Too Cool 50K), ran a bunch of ultras with the Merrell Trail Glove’s, lost some toe nails at the Miwok 100K and sat around wondering what I was going to do with my footwear. I mean I love barefoot and all (yes, still), but as I (try to) get faster and the weather gets cold, my mostly vegan diet just doesn’t generate enough heat in my core to keep my toes from freezing. So the week before Dick Collins 50M I go out to Zombie Runner store and pick out a 24mm (gasp!) Altra’s and took ’em up on the local PG&E trails at Rancho. It felt like running on pillows until the descent. My nail-less toes were on fire begging me to stop running. I limped my way back to the car.
Telsa Baretrek 30
Just a few months prior to the Dick Collins 50M, Amazon’s everyone-that-looked-at-this-also-looked-at-that suggestion took me to the Tesla Baretrek 30 shoes. Based on the reviews, these were apparently a Merrell knock-offs from Korea. But hey, at $30, I was willing to give it a shot. Even ran the San Francisco Marathon with a PR on these shoes. My first 10-mile run with them wasn’t all that great. By mile 3, the insoles were sliding out from behind my heel and I was thinking, well I got what I paid for. Until it occurred to me. WTH, I was going to remove the insoles and run just on a 2mm zero-drop sole. And you know what? It was awesome! Way back then, there use to be these things call racing flats. This pretty much is how I would describe the Tesla Baretrek 30’s. I ran the Dick Collins 50M on these shoes (without the insoles) and still managed to finish sub-10:00. And my toes were totally fine on all the downhills.
So here’s the deal. Every now and then (okay, most of the time), I dream about wind-swept, rocky ridges that I’m running on, bombing down screes and technical trails tapping into my inner-Kilian, until I wake up and realize I’m mostly running 5 miles of asphalt around my home or work, jumping on every piece of tan bark looking like a wannabe trail runner. Okay, the occasional jaunt to the nearby Rancho Trails or Wunderlich running through redwoods and soft dirt trails count too. But point is, my running is totally recreational, mostly on nearby trails and I’m not on ice/snow/scree/muddy runs and definitely not setting FKT’s. What with the drought and all (let’s hope El Niño changes all that), there’s not much mud anywhere. So why the heck do I want to spend $150+ bucks on a pair of shoes that don’t last more than 100 miles?
The pair of Tesla Baretrek 30‘s shown above has lasted me over 600+ miles and they are still going. I got myself a half-dozen pairs, one in every possible color and these have become my every day shoes. Run, walk, go to work, visit customers – zero drop all day, every day. When things do get gravelly, my pace slows down, ‘cos I can feel everything. But you know what? That’s totally okay. They keep me warm and injury free. Just a word of caution, if you are a Hoka-One-One runner, don’t ever get close to these. They gonna hurt you bad. But I feel like I finally (for now) have a brand of shoes that are affordable cheap, lasts forever and allows me to go fast without getting hurt. I’d say that’s a steal.
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