May 06, 2013

Steppin' Out



Is this a review of a couple of nifty shoes for outdoor activities, the Tilden IV by Ahnu and the Power Walk 503 by Prospecs?

Or is it just an excuse to reminisce a bit longer about hiking and beachin' and kicking back on our recent trip to Maui?

Well yeah, you guessed it. It's both!

Plus, the post features a couple of different perspectives, as The Lobster was put in charge of reviewing (and keeping) the Ahnu's.

Being savvy photo-bloggers, we took the shoes to Hawaii, and then kinda forgot about the "review" part of the "get cool shoes free and then review them" thing.  So of course we have a lot of photos with the feet chopped off.


But, we promise we will get to the shoes too!

Hi, I'm the Ahnu Tilden IV!

And hey there, I'm the Prospecs 503!


But First, Lets Show a Few More Irrelevant Vacation Photos That Don't Have any Freakin' Shoes in Them.  Let's Set the Stage!

Packing for an active vacation is tough, especially when it comes to footwear.  So many different possibilities and limited space; so it helps if  your "active" shoes aren't completely sucky looking, yet are fully functional for a range of demanding activities.

There is sightseeing! Sometimes on cloudy rainy days, footwear choices can be crucial to comfort.


(Note the portentous clouds.
As it turned out, they meant business)


There is hiking to view pretty waterfalls!







There is strolling on the beach!


There is walking around on hard concrete sidewalks to find places to eat and drink!






There is sitting on boats after conquering an irrational fear of snorkeling!



And there is enjoying the sunsets!





So, is the stage sufficiently set?

About the Dual Review and the Procrastinating Crab:

So unlike Crabby, the Lobster promptly wrote up her review as soon as she got her shoes, and her thoughts were written pre-Hawaii.  It was the Crab's brilliant idea to hold off and combine the whole Two Pairs of Shoes to Review with Hawaii photos, yay!  As though shots of someone else's freakin' vacation is somehow any more appealing than a shoe review.

But on the other hand, (spoiler alert) these are both great shoes by companies that have not saturated the media with ads like some other major shoe companies we could name.  We're all for promoting high-performance shoes that have to struggle a bit more to get the word out, especially given our lazy tendency to "go with what we know."

So, First up, the Lobster's pre-Hawaii take...

Review of the Ahnu Tilden IV 

I am often a beneficiary of the free stuff that lands in our house, waiting for a review by my most significant other, Crabby McSlacker. I've had power bars and peanut butter, did a bran challenge (a moving experience) and I get to work out with stuff like the cool TRX. But the shoes, oh those shoes, have remained elusive. I mean it makes sense since it IS her blog and all. This is how it went down.

Crabby: Hey Lobster, (she doesn't really call me that but let's go with it), want to do a review of...

Me: Yes!

Crabby: You don't even know what it is.

Me: I know but it might be shoes.

And it was. So a few days later, right outside of our very own door, appeared my shoes, well sandals, actually. Ahnu Tilden IV Harbor Gray. Here they are:

Me again, but bigger!

Cool, eh? I think I got them a tad too big (and yes, duly warned by Crabby that sandals often run smaller than running shoes) but they have adjustable straps which are very nifty for making them snug for normal person wear and expandable for those cooler days when to everyone's horror, I wear them a la Portlandia like this:


Ah, but I digress, back to the my awesome new sandals. Here's what the good folks at Ahnu say about them: "Our new light weight Traverse platform so you can go all day on any surface and be secure and protected. From the quick drying mesh upper to the security of our integrated webbing and the dual density midsole your feet will be comfortable and ready to keep moving."

I don't know nuthin about traverse platforms or dual density midsoles but I do know they are way comfortable and supportive. You add the comfort factor to all those adjustable thing-a-ma-jigs and that makes me a happy hiker. Plus, I think they're pretty darn cute, even in the monstah-lobstah size, which is kind of hard to pull off.

Post-Hawaii Update by Crabby:




The Lobster wore these a lot (and is still wearing them) and kept complimenting their comfort and support.  I tried them too and was very impressed and would try to swipe them back from her were they not too large. (I've made the same mistake ordering sandals too big before too).  They seem a bit more cushiony and flexible than my own sandals which are a similar type from a Bigger Name sport sandal company yet still solid enough for rocky clambering or hard concrete.

Review of the Prospecs 503 PowerWalk:

I was intrigued by the premise behind these shoes:  they are "engineered to address the biomechanical differences between walking and running."

Many of us put many miles walking on shoes that were built for running. Yet walking apparently results in more of the back of the heel hitting the ground as opposed to running. And if you're picking up the pace and doing Power Walking, "the aggressive striding of sports walking results in a 30-degree contact angle with the ground, requiring more cushioning at the heel."

In addition, "the longer your feet stay on the ground, the more your body depends on the rear part of your shoe." So they've provided more cushioning and made some other modifications like enhanced flexibility in the forefoot, and a lot of layers of stuff that you can learn more about at the site.

It was clear a lot of thought and technology went into them.



But I've tried shoes before that sounded like they included enough technology to be awesome, yet when put to the test, were either too flimsy, or too stiff and uncomfortable.

I'm happy to report, these shoes rocked!

They seemed to require no break-in time, yet the comfort didn't mean lack of support.  They are perfect for walking on hard streets sidewalks and kicking random objects for no apparent reason.



Though they are not billed specifically as hiking shoes, they were great on the trail!  Again, comfortable but with enough support to handle rocks and roots and other naturey things.




So in summary: great vacation, great shoes all around!

Oh crap, this is a hard post to comment on, isn't it?  Um, any thoughts about active shoes or vacations or bloggers who procrastinate? Or hell, my feelings won't be hurt if ya got other things to do today!

54 comments:

  1. It's always good to learn about supportive footwear. It looks like you two crazy kids had a blast in Hawaii.

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  2. I had a pair of sandals from that Bigger Name sport sandal company that looked similar to the pair the Lobster had, and they bugged me because I would get a little pebble lodged in them when I was out walking (in MAUI, no less!). Not an issue with flip flops, but I wanted to leave those dang sandals behind. I wonder if the Lobster experienced that issue, or were my feet just acting like the Princess and the Pea?

    P.S. Love the walking shoes you modeled, Crab.
    P.P.S. Cracking up at all the "feet cut off" shots!

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    1. I will check in about the pebbles Shelley! (Lobster is out of town). Now personally, i can't wear flip flops because having anything between my toes drives me nuts! Which is probably why there are 9000 different kinds of shoes out there.

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    2. My mom is the same way - can't stand anything between her toes.

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  3. They do look comfy. And Lobster's "moving experience" made me laugh. I do very much enjoy seeing your holiday photos.

    I have a bit of a pet peeve about the colours that manufacturers use in sporty walking shoes. They're always something that tends to clash with most other colours. The shoes themselves look very nice but would look garish when wearing red or another shade of green, for example. That probably sounds really silly to a serious fitness enthusiast but I'd prefer to see solid, plain colours in walking shoes, especially.

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    1. I have the same complaint Hilary! I am the sort who will wear running shoes or sandals as many places as I can and tend to buy black or gray if available, yet so often neon colors are all that are on offer. At least both these shoes were in nice subtle hues, and we wear a lot of blues and greens and grays so these worked fine for us.

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  4. I have terrible feet, and lately my two pairs of shoes are a pair of those barefoot toe shoe thingies, which actually feel great but which I don't want anyone to see (you can't get plain black ones -- they all have some bright colour between the toes to emphasize that you are wearing goofy toe shoes and then you look like some arrogant hipster which is particularly embarrassing when you are a 50-year-old fat lady so you look like some arrogant hipster's mother in the middle of a midlife crisis), and a pair of men's shoes two sizes too big so that my feet can spread out in them, and which I very not-affectionately refer to as my clown shoes. I will seek both these reviewed shoes down and try them out.

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    1. Trabb's Boy, that is an awesomely hilarious comment.

      The one thing I'd caution you on is that if you're used to minimalist shoes, the Prospecs I wore have a bit more heel height than you may be used to, and don't feel as responsive to the ground; it's part of the tradeoff for all that support and cushioning.

      (I measure as an 8 1/2 and wear size 10 shoes, to the horror of salepeople everywhere, who keep wanting me to try smaller shoes which I have and they HURT, so I know what you mean about clown shoes. The lobster is 5 inches taller than I am and we wear the same size!)

      If you can find the shoes in an actual store rather than ordering online, you could find out pretty quickly if they'd work for you. I was surprised how comfortable they were for me, but everyone is different!

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  5. My comment is that The Lobster is as funny as you are and that life at your house must be a hoot!

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    1. andrea, she is WAY FUNNIER! Seriously, I am the quiet one at social gatherings and the onlyr reason we have any friends at all is because she is so entertaining. Life is indeed a hoot!

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  6. I loved this post - mostly because you shared more pictures of Hawaii!!!
    I also very much enjoyed reading the Lobster's review of her sandals (and you know I always love reading your stuff, Crabby!)!!
    As far as shoe talk - I'm one of those people who is going to pack 20 pair for a week - 10 pair or running/tennis shoes and the rest to coordinate all possible outfits. Annoying but true!!

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    1. It's good to know Kim that I'm not the only one who struggles with how to pack enough shoes on vacation, they take up so much dang room. I kinda envy those barefoot/minimalists sorts when it comes to travel.

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  7. Love show reviews!

    It's so hard to find shoes that both look good and feel comfortable.

    Technology advances are nice, but at the end of the day we all have different needs based on shape and size. I know I stopped having running injuries when I downgraded to more minimal shoes, but apparently they don't work for everyone.

    I have the opposite problem for shoe fitting: my feet are narrow all around. I always look for "slim" shoes that you can tighten a lot. My foot will slip out of anything else. I've been buying the same Merrell sandals over and over again, because they're the only ones that 1) fit 2) are comfortable 3) look good enough. Maybe I should order a bunch in advance, in case they discontinue the product!

    My rant: why do they feel the need to make all women's sneakers with pastel colors? Grrr...

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    1. HSH, I can so relate to the "buy em' up before they discontinue" thing. Especially when it comes to clothes or shoes for women; for some reason, most women would rather have something different every year and it's rare you can find something you want for any length of time.

      And I don't mind the pastels as much as the neons, but would REALLY like more blacks and grays that go with anything!

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  8. How are you and The Lobster able to eat a cheeseburger the size of a baby's head and still look so fit?! The new shoes reviewed here perhaps? (Sorry for the lame-o segue but hey, it's Monday.)

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    1. So, truth be told, that's a fake hamburger that the waitress brought as you as soon as she saw us taking pictures. The actual burger was smaller, and we went "naked" and ordered without the bun. Wait, um, that does not mean we removed our clothing before eating...

      My real downfall during the vacation was the frozen yogurt place near the condo, Tutti Frutti. We became best friends with all the staff there after visiting over and over and over. Um, and over. And over. Sigh.

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  9. Please, nothing is impossible to comment on. First, I laughed and laughed about all your photos with the feet cut off...awesome. :)

    I love how Lobster wrote hers pre-vacation. That is my type of girl.

    And I do agree that traveling and packing shoes for traveling is much harder than pretty much any other article of clothing. I think it is always worse if you are more the active sort anyway. Next thing you know all you have is trail runners and hiking boots...regardless if there is a planned night out or some time on the beach.

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    1. Oh good QD, yet another shoe-packing-challenged active gal. Fortunately Hawaii is fairly casual and we went low budget in terms of dining, so we were not faced with wearing sporty shoes to anywhere snooty.

      But I did pack one pair of "going out" shoes just in case, so even going minimal, I somehow ended up with 4 pair of shoes. Walking/hiking, running, sandals, and restaurant. That's a lot of suitcase acreage!

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  10. I am one of those who will not buy a shoe in a color I don't want, no matter how comfortable it is, nor will I buy a shoe that's not comfortable even if the color is perfect. This means I reallllly hate shoe shopping.

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

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    Replies
    1. Mary Anne, I'm kinda similar (unless they're free). When I find a pair I like, I'm better off getting another pair ASAP.

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    2. Back when I still wore heels, I bought three pairs of the same T strap shoe, the most comfortable dress shoe I've ever worn, and had one of them dyed in a color they didn't have in my size. I wore them for about fifteen years until I gave up heels altogether.

      Mary Anne in Kentucky

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  11. Beautiful pictures!! I love love love photography and was searching your blog to see what sort of camera you shoot on :p (photo nerd).

    So glad you were able to conquer your fear of snorkelling! Ocean water freaks me out-- I'll stick to the pool or bathtub thank you very much! :)

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  12. Thanks for sharing the beautiful pics in Hawaii. Looks like a great time.I love shoes. Especially the casual, comfortable ones since my husband likes to keep us running around while on vacation. Great reviews.

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    1. Thanks MrsMars! It was indeed a great time! I always feel bad about review posts that aren't giveaways... one of the perks of blogging thought so I tend to grab 'em when I have a chance.

      And active vacations rock! Just hope your husband gives you some lounging time too. :)

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  13. Those sneaks look snazzy. You totally fulfilled the review requirement. After a vacation that included para-sailing (and seeing all the animal beasts in the water from overhead), I will maintain my irrational feature snorkelfication.

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    1. Yum Yucky, parasailing has also been something that seemed too scary to me. But hmmm, the snorkeling went well, now I'm wondering about the parasailing thing, especially if viewing animal beasts is involved!

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  14. I'm more in the market for a new pair of feet!

    Whatareyougonnado...as Carla would say :-)

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    1. Dr. J, if you find a good supplier of new feet, let me know I'd like to order a pair!

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    2. Do they come with new knees?

      Mary Anne in Kentucky

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  15. One day I will find comfortable shoes. Until then, I will rock the Crocs and socks.

    Love the pics...Hawaii looks delectable!

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    1. Crocs and socks, i like the sound of that Kimberly! A new fashion trend!

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  16. I LOVE active shoes! Give me a pair of new sneakers or trainers any day, and leave the Choos and Ferragamos to the young 'uns. (Although even when i WAS young I didn't wear them...)
    Ah, Hawaii! My S-I-L & her family live in Honolulu. Tough, right? :) We'd visit more, but flying with 2 kids is not fun. Glad you had a good time!

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    1. Thanks azusmom! I felt for some of the parents on the plane with screaming kids. Fortunately, they served complementary Mai Tai's on the way over so no one minded too much.

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  17. Those sandals are drool-worthy. And so was your vacation!

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  18. Wow:) What lovely pictures of Hawaii. Dream on... Thanks for sharing.

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  19. 1 - That wonderful sunset glow type light just is THE BEST, isn't it? Nothing like it. No facial products or tech lighting that is a match for this oh so natural effect. Terrific job capturing that rather ephemeral quality in the one photo of the threesome on the bench! :)
    2 - What IS with the color and shoe type selections for women?! Seriously - what misogynist maniac is behind all that? Men get the best colors, the most comfortable designs, and are NEVER expected to wear anything that isn't completely comfortable.
    3 - Lobster deserves a medal for doing what some only secretly WISH to do by going all Portlandia and wearing socks with sandals when the weather demands. Plus - way to go by getting the homework done EARLY.
    4 - The only thing I'm bummed about with this post is that the cheeseburger isn't actually that size in Realityville :(.... But, I guess that's ok since it looks like maybe they forgot the "special sauce" anyway...
    Thanks for the great vacation pics! It was almost like being back there again :)
    Anon

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    1. Anon, hope you get back to Hawaii again soon! There is something almost... hypnotic about the light and breeze and scent of flowers in the air. :)

      And totally agree about men's shoe envy. I also covet a lot of their clothing as well and just wish I had broad enough shoulders to carry it off. But then I do tend to be a bit butch.

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  20. Death Ride GrandmaMay 6, 2013 at 10:19 PM

    Actually, I made an executive decision some time ago: all athletic shoes are neutral in color, no matter what the box says. I mean, seriously, who's got time or money to get running/walking shoes to match all the event t-shirts or other stuff they have to match? I say get the ones you like and wear them defiantly with anything & everything.

    But Anonymous, I agree that men have an unfair advantage, especially nowadays when they are allowed to step out & be colorful if they want to. But on the days when they don't, they have all sorts of good, basic uniforms & can wear them day after day with no one thinking a thing about it.

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    1. DRG, I think that's an excellent idea to just declare athletic shoes to be neutral, sort of like we do with denim. Which is technically blue but we've decided we can wear anything with jeans because it's just more convenient since so many of us live in them.

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    2. But that's why they make black denim!

      Mary Anne in Kentucky

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  21. I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE
    LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE
    all the photos!!!!!

    love.

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  22. These look really nice. It usually takes me a good month to break a pair in, so that's neat that it didn't take you long.

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  23. YOU two are hilarious & so glad I got to meet you!!!

    OMG - want to go back to Hawaii!!!!! LOVE the pics!!!!

    The fun & fit twins have the Ahnu ones & love them & wore to Thailand!

    Well, you know my love of Hoka OneOne shoes - nuff said! ;)

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  24. I would be in the "Yes! Shoes! Give me shoes please!" camp with the Lobster. :)

    I actually looked at Ahnu boots online last winter when I was shopping for boots to get around the icy, wintery streets in my city. I liked the look of them, but I would have had to order online so I held off and ended up buying a pair of boots locally. Good to hear a first hand (foot?) review and I will definitely keep them in mind.

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    1. Thanks Java Chick, I forgot to mention in the post that Ahnu has all kinds of cool looking footwear. Hmm, maybe a winter time product review...

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  25. Some of your pictures look familiar, where did you go in Hawaii?

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    1. We were on Maui, SB, staying in Kihei; took the road to Hana for the day. Unfortunately, not a sunny day! Would have been even more specatular.

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  26. Love all the pics. I am living vicariously this AM. Oh, and glad you liked the shoes too. Very cute.
    Gaye

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  27. Lovely photos of your adventure. Good pair of shoes is very important to enjoy to the fullest any outdoor activities.

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