The Connection Runners + [shoes]

Shoe Love

It's been so crazy around here I haven't even had a chance to tell you about my new love.

Those are the Pearl iZUMi response to minimalist running, the Streak II. I've had them for a few months now and have to say, I've been super impressed.

At the beginning of this year I started corresponding with Barefoot Neil Z. I was frustrated with all the injuries and time off from running. I've had my eye on barefoot running, but didn't want to jump on the bandwagon just because "all the cool kids are doing it". Well, Neil gave me some great advice on how to slowly transition in some barefoot runs.

Here are a few of his tips:

Definitely run on a smooth hard surface like asphalt to begin with. You are NOT reaching ahead of yourself with your feet. Your mid foot touches down then the rest of the foot, including the heel. If you don’t let your heel touch down, your calves will be in agony. They are going to be sore anyway.

A couple drills. Run on the spot, then run backwards for a few strides. This will ingrain the proper feeling in your feet as to how the landing is supposed to feel. Bend your knees and relax. Relax... Relax. Literally only run 200 yards. Maybe.

Never on grass. Ever. Bad things hide in the grass.

Give it a week or two at these short distances, then put your shoes back on and run the rest of the distance you have planned.

I will say that I'm still in the beginning stage. My overall goal is to be less injury prone, and find more peace in my running. That being said, I'm not 100% ready to go totally bare. The logistics, the fact that people pointing and staring at me as I run would make me want to hide behind a tree, and my propensity to snag my pinkie toe on things mean right now I'm happy with the middle ground.

The Pearl iZUMi Streak II have been a great way to dip my toes in the water so to speak. I started taking them out for quick runs and was instantly impressed with how light they were. I loved the feedback I got from the road.

I've actually booked my fastest miles in the Streak II's. I'm sure some of it is the weight, but a lot of it seems to be the fact that they are forcing better form. Everyone here know's I'm a heel striker. Every time I post a picture of me running,I get emails and comments from readers concerned about my form. Anyway, I am more up on my mid-foot with these. In the beginning I had calf and shin soreness, but I just worked with them slowly and that went away.

Right now, I wear them for most runs under 8 miles. After that I bust back out my Ghost 3s. So far the only complaint I have is that they're still glaringly white. They are just so darn girly cute with their pink and white that I can't convince myself to take them on the trails.

Here is what Pearl iZUMi has to say about them:

"The new Streak II has been completely overhauled to be even faster, lighter, and more performance-oriented than ever. With a new lower profile midsole and lightweight upper, the Streak II is light enough for a 5km but cushioned enough for a marathon."

- 1:1 Seamless Upper creates an unparalleled fit with a seam-free interior

- 1:1 360 degree Lacing anatomically conforms to the foot for a tailored fit regardless of foot shape

- new 1:1 Energy Foam cushions the forefoot upon impact and then returns energy back to the runner

- outsole-grade EVA and blown rubber outsole combines for great cushioning and weight savings

- new Ortholite sock liner for amazing step-in comfort and long-lasting cushioning

- Heel/Toe offset: 19.0mm/10.00mm

-msrp: $110

That all sounds great, right?

Well,it might sound great to some of YOU, but none of that mumbo jumbo means much to me. You see, I don't buy shoes based on their "specs".* I put shoes on, run around in them, and go with the ones that I notice LEAST on my feet. These shoes are sticking around in my rotation because they feel natural to me.

Do YOU run in any sort of minimalist shoes? Barefoot?

What shoes do you run in, and why?

Don't forget to enter my CEP compression giveaway HERE.

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*and with that admission,and the use of the term "mumbo jumbo",I probably won't be asked to review shoes again

Disclaimer: I was given the Streak II's to review. HOWEVER, the review is 100% my own.