Minimalist shoe review and Sunday primal living

Sunday posts are not supposed to be sciency right? Having a weekend off is a luxury and I like to treat it as such. Hence I decided to be a lazy tart and sleep in till 7.30am. A vat of coffee, a quick social media catch up and I was out the door to test my new Lucy VivoBarefoots.

I abhor the term “barefoot technology” because it sounds just a gimmicky as ShakeIt weights but I do agree with a concept that walking on 3 cm of very expensive rubber, otherwise known as “conventional sneaker”, is utter nonsense.

VivoBarefoot EvoII in their better days

I never got into Vibrams (I don’t like the idea of rubber between my toes or people jeering in glee as they point to my feet) but I own a pretty nice pair of VivoBarefoot EvoII which I wear to the gym or operating theatres. Which is pretty much the same thing. Their only problem is that they are damn slippery when you leave the safety of the indoor environment, especially if you like jumping on rocks. So to avoid ending up in my own emergency department I normally wear Sketchers. Yeah yeah, I know, don’t judge me.

I really didn’t want slippery soles here

My usual long walk is around 2.5 hrs which takes me down the coast and back, and has a good mix of beach walking, rock hopping, trekking up and down the hills between coves and a few steep sections through the rainforest. The sole of the Lucy is supposed to be ultra thin (3mm) and puncture resistant but it doesn’t feel quite as paper thin as the EvoII, which together with a pretty thick top covering adds to the sturdier feel. The first climb up the rocks went without a slip up but I did slide down a steep path on gravel a couple of times, gracefully landing on my buttocks, although I don’t know whether it was the shoe or my slightly tired quads. The harder top lining started to put a little pressure on my Achilles tendon after 2 hrs but wearing socks helped. The toe cage is wide enough for my narrow foot but if yours is on the wide side you may find it a little constricting.

Terra Plana sizing tends to run small. I normally wear 38 but ordered 39 in these and they were perfect with a sock. Interestingly, I also ordered VivoBarefoot Mary-Janes and they were a bit big in the same size.

Overall, a good walking shoe which feels more like a conventional shoe although does provide the benefit of good proprioception and a light feel.

The rules of the game: get to the other side without touching the sand. GO!

As always, my weekend walk provides me with a few excitements (I am a simple creature and get excited easily). A huge 1.5m goanna decided to leisurely cross my path causing a temporary bladder spasm and a jerky and too-slow reach for the camera. Gotta love Australia.

A young bright gen-Y sitting on a rock overlooking the ocean spreading Nutella on several pieces of white toast. I kid you not.

The usual quick eyes-on-the-sand dash through the nudist beach was again unsuccessful. The happy-in-his-bare-glory gentleman spotted me and jumped out of the bushes to take a lazy stroll towards me. Exhibitionism ain’t nudism.

Fun times.

As I finish off this post I notice that Victoria Prince has also recently written about her hiking adventures. Which makes me think that we have either all run out of science to talk about (unlikely), we are sick and tired of banging our heads against the wall (quite possible) or we are just moving past the obsessive food-will-cure-all-ails mentality. While it indeed starts with food, there is more to health and wellbeing than what you put in your gob.

Also a topic of our recent presentation at Whole9 seminar in Boston, non-nutrition lifestyle factors are starting to become a more prominent feature in this community. Thank heavens for that. At one stage it looked like we were turning into indoor nerds glued to our computers, obsessively arguing over minute details of the latest Pubmed offering, occasionally emerging from the social media dramas to bash our bodies in the variety of HIIT smashfit pursuits. Whaaat? Somebody still doing that? Crazy folks.

 

Rainforest stair sprints. Or walks.

Anyway, the majority of my activities nowadays are slow intensity performed in a glycogen-depleted state (and when Jamie finally writes up his AHS presentation I will have something to reference!). I try to go for 20-30min walk most days before work, fuelled by caffeine and nothing else; do yoga and strength training once or twice a week. Going for longer and more challenging walks on the weekend fits right into this schedule. So that’s my Slow Movement covered.

 

My shadow is not taller than me = vitamin D production

Sun exposure is another area I consider a powerful factor in overall wellbeing. Vitamin D is certainly the shiz nowadays but let’s not forget about other benefits of sun exposure: mood enhancing qualities, pain relief, better sleep, eye and skin health.

And finally, there’s something about the expansive vistas, the sound of the ocean and the smell of the rainforest that we, as humans, have long felt a connection with. We have seen a few studies emerge showing the benefit of being close to nature (Mark Sisson has written a good overview about it. What hasn’t this man written about???). But I like to look at this from another point of view. It’s not that being close to nature is better for us, it’s just our indoor artificially-lit air-conditioned existence is so very bad. Going back to nature is…well, natural. It’s another one of these instances when feeling “low level crap” has become the norm.

 

Well-deserved: scrambled eggs with lox, avocado, duck pate and local vintage cheddar

Hope you can find some restorative activity, sunlight, fresh air, awe-inspiring views and simple pleasures in your Sunday.

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8 thoughts on “Minimalist shoe review and Sunday primal living

  1. Anastasia, I love that you make so much time for activity in your day… any tips for including more as a med student that has to sit around studying a lot? :)

    • Been there, done that. I actually had more free time as a student than I do now, and that’s saying something! Take your books, notes, laptops outside on the grass, even better if you have to walk to get there. I think making it a priority is important. Also a lot of people do not bother because they don’t have the time to go for an hour walk. I think just remembering that even 10 mins will make a difference to your alertness, your stress level and the ability to recover (all important things in med school!) is vital. And finally making a deal with yourself to turn off your computer or other brightly lit screens at 9-9.30pm (you will never learn it all) will make a huge improvement in your sleep quality and ability to absorb more information the next day. Good luck!

      • Great ideas, thank you. :)
        At the moment I cycle to and from uni (not far, about 8km in total), make it a rule to stop studying at 8.30 – 9pm, and have found this piece of software very handy at night… http://stereopsis.com/flux/

        I think you hit the nail on the head with the comment about not being able to go for an hour long walk… I might try to start taking some 10 minute intervals out of study time for yoga. :)

  2. Nice article Anastasia. If you’re looking for a grippy version of the Evo II (that isn’t a sketcher …) there’s plenty of good options on the market now. A few worth considering may be the Vivobarefoot Neo Trail http://www.vivobarefoot.com/us/catalogsearch/result/?q=neo+trail&x=3&y=3 , the Merrell Barefoot Trail Glove http://www.merrell.com/AU/en/Barefoot or New Balance Minimus Trail http://www.newbalance.com/NB-Minimus/minimus,default,pg.html or something from Inov-8 http://www.inov-8.com/New/Select-Language.html.

    • Thank you. I have considered Neo Trail and Merrell Trail Glove. I’m planning to do a lot more hiking this summer here in Australia and New Zealand and I think I might need a proper trekking rather than a walking shoe. A few people at AHS12 wore innov-8. Hmmmm… I can see an online shopping frenzy coming up…

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