Tuesday, July 15, 2014

REVIEW: GladSoles

The folks at GladSoles contacted me a while ago (and by 'a while', I mean many months ago). We had been trying to set up a call for a long time so we could chat about their barefoot running sandals and how I may be able to help out, but for one reason or another it always got delayed. Thankfully, a few weeks ago we were finally able to connect! I was able to chat on the phone with a couple of the guys from GladSoles, tell them a bit about myself, my running story, etc and then THEY ASKED ME TO BE AN AMBASSADOR! How AWESOME is that?! They said that they loved my positive energy, constant encouragement, and my social media presence was a definite added bonus!

I had been wanting to try out GladSoles for quite some time (I first heard about them through some of their ambassadors that are fellow #VegHeads of mine) and now that I was being asked to spread the word about their company I jumped on placing my order {FYI - I did receive a discount when ordering my GladSoles, but purchased them myself.}. I think the hardest part was selecting the color laces and locks I wanted ;)


Since each pair of GladSoles is CUSTOM MADE, you need to trace your foot and send it in to them, that way it will be a PERFECT fit. GladSoles has a quick "Tracing Kit" you can download and print off with step-by-step instructions or a video on their website you can watch on what they are looking for and how best to accomplish it.

Yep, you can even see the outline of my toe that I broke and it healed poorly...

I ended up ordering the GladSoles Original model (they offer a Lite version which has a thinner sole or a Trail version which is a little more rugged with a thicker sole) since I am a FIRST TIME barefoot sandal wearer :). The original sandals have a 6mm Vibram sole and are extremely versatile. Although I was most excited to try them out while running, they are perfect for just about anything (yoga, hitting up a theme park, going to the beach, walking the dog, getting groceries, just LIVING LIFE).


They arrived quickly and in an eco-friendly and reusable natural fiber bag. The bags are an alternative to plastic, paper, cotton and canvas bags. I LOVE that the burlap bags are produced from sustainable resources thus creating a much smaller footprint (ha... get it?!) than other packaging materials. 

As you can see, I went with the HOT PINK laces and white locks! 

Next was the part I was most worried about... Tying them. I know that may sound silly, but I think that is why I put off ordering a pair before now. There are so many different ways to tie your GladSoles I was intimidated with where to start. Thankfully the website walks you through step-by-step on their basic tying option. There are pictures of each instruction as well as a video of the whole process (which I had to pause a few times while I was tying mine, but eventually got them just right) to help you each step (oh how I love these puns ;) ) of the way. 

I DID IT! And if I can do it, ANYONE can do it :)

PS They recommend that you cut off the extra lace (you can see from the picture above I had enough to make a large heart) and then burn the ends so they don't fray. Instead, I decided to wrap the extra around one of the "straps". I thought it was a cool, coil look, not to mention, if I ever want to do a different sort of tie in the future I wouldn't be limited with shorter laces.

Here you can see the extra lace coiled around.
No filter needed on this picture... They were actually the ONLY pair of footwear
I brought with me on our vacation to Lake Powell!

The moment of truth... Could I run in them? I mean they are cute sandals, but if I ordered them just as sandals I think I would have been doing them an injustice (not to mention, my hubby works for a footwear company so I get LOTS of sandals and didn't really need another pair of "just" sandals).

My first run in them was an easy pace 6 miles. Now, I know, I know, you are supposed to do short distances when first breaking in a new pair of shoes, ESPECIALLY when they are this minimal (I mean, it is technically the very last step before running completely barefoot), but I took it extremely easy and I have been wearing minimal shoes for a while so I didn't seem to have as long a transition period as someone else might have. 

They felt great! You could really feel the ground beneath you and how your body was reacting to it. I ran down by the beach in them and I think what I noticed most were peoples reactions to them, like doing a double take to look at them. I'm not sure if they thought I had just forgotten something in my car and was running in "standard" sandals to go grab it, or if they could actually tell these were barefoot running sandals (NOT that it matters what others think, it was just something that was running through my head {man, I am on a roll... I'm so punny ;)} as I ran past people that were giving me strange stares).

They felt so great in fact that when I came home, my hubby was going out for a 3 mile run and I decided to join him! Yup, I did 9 miles the first day I ran in them WITHOUT ANY ISSUES! Again, I ran very cautiously and easy, so please don't scold me ;)

I have been running in them now for a few weeks and really like them. As it says on the website, the more you wear them, the more the soles mold to your feet and become like a second skin. Not only am I wearing them to run, but out and about town. I have gotten many compliments on them (and also many inquiring questions about how I run in them, hehe). I love spreading the word about my GladSoles.

I do want to mention, it seems as though I run slightly slower in my GladSoles than in other shoes I have in my rotation. I have a couple thoughts on why this may be. First, since I am still technically "breaking them in", my body may still be taking it slow. The heat and humidity we have been having in SoCal lately is also NOT helping with speed of any kind. Next, it may be because the soles are thin so I am watching where I am running more cautiously than I do in "standard running shoes" (I mean, who would want to run on rocks or through glass with a 6mm sole and an exposed foot?!). It could also be that I am running a little more gingerly since there is less padding and support than in running shoes I'm used to running in. Also, normally when I run in my GladSoles I am down by the beach, where there is a lot of sand blown onto the sidewalks, which makes the terrain a little slippery, so one needs to take it a little easier so you don't slip and slide around. Lastly, it may just be complete coincident that the days I am wearing my GladSoles are the days my body just needs a little more time to get going. BUT RUNNING SLOWER ISN'T NECESSARILY A BAD THING... I just wanted to at least mention it since I had noticed it.

And in case you want to try a pair of GladSoles yourself, YOU ARE IN LUCK! Because I am an ambassador, a coupon code was created on my behalf so you can save 15% on your order! Just use code "carlee" at checkout and SAVE!

PS Sorry for all the feet pictures... I normally HATE feet, so if you have an aversion to them I want to apologize I put you through this post! I am actually having to "suck it up" and get over my dislike for feet (yes, even my own) when I post my GladSoles pictures on Instagram and Twitter ;)

What are your thoughts on minimalism running? Have you ever thought about transitioning to barefoot running?


Unknown said...

Oh my. I want to try a pair now. Or at least check out the price. I hurt my big toe nail running a trail run and I think these might be the answer to that problem. Could you wear toe socks with them? Or would the fabric make your foot slide off the sole? I usually run wearing compression socks. I don't know how these would work with compression socks.

Carlee McDot said...

Dez - I don't live in the cold, so don't really have to worry about wearing socks, but know that some of the GladSoles Ambassadors DO (the creator of the sandals especially) and wear toe socks with the barefoot running sandals often - it appears to work great! PS As far as compression while you run... CALF SLEEVES would work PERFECTLY with these ;)

Rich said...

Thanks for the detailed review Carlee!

And yes, I wear Injinji 2.0 toe socks in the winter time, just make sure to tie the sandals nice and snug and the sliding will be minimal.