Wednesday, June 19, 2013

REVIEW - Vasque Mindbender Trail Running Shoe

I’ve been looking at getting out a bit more in the summer months and decided to look for a dedicated breathable trail shoe.  In 2009, I mentioned that I primarily wear Asics Gore-Tex Trail Runners because hiking in the fall, winter and spring, and not hiking for months at a time, has always allowed me to dodge the breathability issue a bit while offering my wimpy feet some protection against external wetness which I always seemed to encounter.  But in summer, that’s too much to ask of Gore-Tex.

For the last several weeks I’ve been wearing the Vasque Mindbender Trail Running Shoe.

There are several things I like about this shoe.  First, it feels like it has a lower profile.  The tread is decent and they are quite comfortable especially after I added some orthotics due to a plaguing case of Plantar Fasciitis which I can’t seem to shake (suggestions welcomed).  It has a generous toe box which is an absolute necessity.  Color and design are appealing too.  The mid and out sole are a dual-density EV which is fairly firm and quite light.  The upper is nylon mesh and synthetic leather, again, lightweight and breathable.  I’ve intentionally wetted them out and they dried fairly admirably.

What really got my attention was their breathability.  I own lots of running shoes which I primarily use around town and at the gym.  The difference with the Vasque Mindbender Trail Running Shoe and my other shoes is that I can actually (and quite easily) feel any wind or change in temperature through the shoe.  While they look no different than my other shoes and I can’t see my foot or sock through the mesh, I’m amazed at how obviously breathable they have been.

For now, these are my new summer backpacking shoes, but in fairness to the review, there are a couple of things I don’t like.  The heel cup is a little looser than I’d like.  Out-of-the box the stitching had several threads (one nearly 5”) still attached which tells me Vasque is doing a poor job with quality control.  I wish Vasque implemented a tongue with a small pouch to stuff the bow part of the laces like my Asics as it is a great benefit to be able to hide the broad part of the laces which commonly get caught on twigs and welcome briars, ticks, thorns and everything else unwanted.


Anonymous said...

I had moderate plantar fasciitis and found that it tapered off when i completely stopped walking around the house barefoot. I don't have a great pair of slippers (Bean camp moccasins), but they were a lot better for my feet than nothing. If I go back to bare feet, it starts to recur.

That's just me, maybe, and maybe you wear slippers already. But if you walk around the house barefoot it might be worth a try.

Anonymous said...

I suffered from a mild case of plantar fasciitis last year that is slowly subsiding.

Wearing shoes with good support (in the house and outside) is important, especially when you get up in the morning and your foot muscles haven't warmed up. I also found relief by stretching my calves and using a foam roller at home on my calves a few times each day. Rolling your feet on a tennis ball or a frozen bottle of water can help as well.

To accelerate things, I found a clinic that offers Active Release Technique (ART) and went for six treatments over 2-3 months. If you have coverage (or the money), I found this helpful. A foam roller and tennis ball will provide the same relief, but more slowly.

Jolly Green Giant said...

Thanks for your comments. I've got a second podiatry appointment at the end of the month. I wear shoes pretty much everywhere, to include inside, and have orthotics. I have a little ball with spikes which I roll on and stretch when I can, especially mornings. I tried a splint to wear at night, but I couldn't stand it. This has been going on for 9 months and it sure feels hopeless. I'm convinced it is screwing up the rest of my body as it tries to compensate.

Aaron said...

It might be a long shot, but my wife has had foot problems for years. Not nearly as bad as what you describe, but if I gave her a foot rub and hit the wrong spot, it caused a lot of pain. She recently started seeing a chiropractor for other issues, and while examining her feet he mentioned that he thought she had plantar fasciitis.

Through a combination of medical massage and rubbing her feet every night on a golf ball (I think she's pressing fairly hard and moving pretty slowly), her feet have gotten remarkably better.

Aaron said...

I came across this last night while reading and figured it might be useful:

Also, I just came across your blog for the first time last night and I've enjoyed reading. Thanks for all the information!

Jolly Green Giant said...

Thanks Aaron, I hadn't seen that. Oddly enough though, earlier in the gear I spoke to Grant over the phone and he told me that he was just getting over a case of plantar fasciitis himself which caused him to be pretty much unplugged all year. It is very debilitating. I've got a doctor's appointment tomorrow which has me pretty excited. I'm hoping they install a wheel or a giant spring....

BlueTrain said...

I don't get out as much as I used to and that's probably prevented me buying another pair of lightweight shoes or ankle boots like I used to have, which were Adidas. They were great for most conditions, including cold weather. But near home, the places I usually hike are either muddy or I will wade creeks and I found out that the Adidas would become soaked and not dry out for a week. So they aren't for everyone for everywhere, although they were fine for otherwise rough trails.

Because of my experience with soaked shoes, I got a pair of so-called surf shoes that I thought would be perfect for wet conditions, but I've never actually tried them out under wet trail conditions.