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Freeheel Runningpads     Photo: Bob Parks


Freeheel Runningpads: Getting Them On

I like barefoot and minimalist running shoes, but the ones I’ve tried feel too constrictive. What’s the very least I can get away with?

A:When the Runningpads arrived in the mail, I was a little confused as to how to put them on. There’s no heel, just a strap that keeps them snug on your foot. When I finally got them strapped in, my wife said I looked like Mr. Tumnus from The Chronicles of Narnia. Most of the product is made from amazingly soft deerskin, a common material for the German maker. Apparently, the deerskin on the bottom is dyed with some kind of natural wood dye as well. There are elastic nylon straps, and a grippy stripe across the bottom to hold your foot in. A thin layer of padding around 1/8-inch thick could be felt in the sole.

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