Queenie’s Choice

I have a slight obsession with fitness gear.  Slight.

I was desperate for my Newtons.  Couldn’t live without Selectechs.  Just had to have my treadmill.

Well, a new focus has formed in the shape of minimalist footwear.

I suppose it’s an extension of my Newton passion.  As simply wonderful as they may be for running, Newtons just aren’t made for walking about, hiking, or crosstraining.  Believe me, when I first brought them home, I tried.  I did not want to part from their neon brightness.  But it was not happening.

So I’ve been doing quite a bit of window shopping at my various obsession-filled stores (Cabela’s, Aardvark, Sports Authority, Dick’s), eyeing up the Vibram Five Fingers and the Merrells.  What I have come to realize (again) is that if I want actual knowledge and customer service, I am best served in my beloved Aardvark.

(Side note: Do not enter Cabela’s unless absolutely necessary until after the first day of regular hunting season.  Not only are the shoppers difficult to spot – all that camo – but everyone is stopping to take photos with the dead animals on display.)

Here’s the scene at Sports Authority:

Salesboy: “Can I help you find something?” (Points for interest and what seemed to be genuine helpfulness.)

QueenMe: “I’m looking for Merrell barefoot shoes.”

Salesboy: “Ah.  Hiking.”  At which point, he leads me to the men’s hiking boots.  He pauses, looks at me again, and asks, “Did you want to see the women’s selection?”

I nod and check my breasts.  They’re still there.  Still pretty obvious.  Perhaps he just wanted a few extra seconds with me.

I follow him back to the women’s hiking selection, which is kinda sad and small, and note that the minimalist style I’m searching for is not on display.

“Minimal?” he asks.  “Follow me.”  I dutifully follow – to the running display, where he points to a pair of New Balance running shoes.  Minimalist, yes.  Hiking?  Ummm…

And then – and this is the part that really gets me – he gets a call through his ear piece, says, “Wait here,” and departs.  The polite part of me that hates to be rude or step on anyone’s feelings waited…for about 1.5 seconds.  I had better places to shop.

Alas, Aardvark was hoppin’ with customers, and I knew I wasn’t actually going to make a purchase that day, so I declined their offer of help and checked out the Five Fingers on my own.  My hope that price would be the deciding factor between the Five Fingers and the Merrell’s I had found at Dick’s (I can’t help it.  The name still makes me giggle.) was dashed.  They are nearly the exact same price.

So – I leave it to you, Readers.  Who among you has experience with these shoes?  What do you love/hate about them?  Where did you buy them and what do you do in them (let’s keep it PG-13…)?  I am completely torn between two shoes…



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