Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Product review: Uber Air minimalist running footgear.

So, a little bit ago, I got offered my first product review -- a niche running shoe called the Uber Air.  Frankly, I was a little surprised, simply because I don't think my little blog really generates the level of traffic that interests most shoe companies.  But, I believe this is a new company, and the nominal subject matter of my blog (pool-running) apparently linked me to their target market.

The Uber Air is being promoted as highly refined running footwear that can also be worn in the pool for pool-running.  It appears that they're going after the minimalist running crowd, for their slogan is a bit snarky, but taps into that elitist mindset that seems to drive some (but definitely not all) to barefoot/minimalism.

we give the middle finger to Vibram 5 Fingers.

Love it!

So, I guess one generally does product reviews by taking a bunch of photos, starting with the opening of the box and the savoring of that new shoe smell.   Let's commence, shall we?

[as an aside to the FTC - I have not been compensated in any way for this review.  Indeed, the manufacturer was a bit difficult to deal with -- they offered me the shoe, but wouldn't let me specify the size.  Fortunately, the shoe that they provided fit perfectly, but I was still a bit annoyed.  I guess that's minimalist customer service for you].

Here's the box they arrived in.  Open the box, and...
Voila!  New shoes!  I love new shoes!
Here's the shoe.  As you can see, the upper and sole are
both constructed of a super sheer material that is also
amazingly lightweight and flexible
And a side view of the right shoe.

On my feet.

So... took them for a test run, and they definitely lived up to representations.  They weigh far less than even my Saucony A4s, and the feel for the road is amazing.  You can literally feel each pebble or sidewalk crack, which I didn't think could be accomplished in a trainer, even a minimalist one. 

The sheer look was incredibly fun to wear.   As I floated along (again, I can't possibly emphasize enough just how light these things are), I became aware that while these shoes might not make me a faster runner, they definitely made me a superior runner.  And that's a great feeling.

A nice side benefit of the construction of these shoes is that I experienced none of the rubbing that I normally do when running.  I was able to run sockless for the first time, with no need to place a protective barrier between the shoe and my foot.  If only I had had these when I was dealing with my foot blister about 2 weeks ago.

There are a few drawbacks, however.  I doubt the ability of these shoes to protect me adequately from the rocks and such I often experience on the towpath -- they just don't seem durable enough, though I'll concede I noted absolutely no wear and tear from the miles I did put on them. 

The lightness of the material also makes me certain that this is a shoe best worn in the summer time; cold weather demands a bit more insulation.  But, as a summer shoe, the Uber Air is superb.  I especially appreciated the lack of "shoe sloshing" that I've experienced during humid long runs with my Kinvaras.

I also took them for a test pool-run.  Most DC area pools prohibit any sort of footwear in the pool, except for flippers, and so I was concerned that the guards would stop me.  Nope.  Nobody batted an eye.  And the shoes were every bit as comfortable and light and functional in the pool as they were on land.  Win!

I did find that the lightweight insoles that come with the Uber Air weren't quite enough arch support for me. I was concerned that my Superfeet orthotics wouldn't work with the shoe, but it turned out that they fit quite easily. 

Side view of the Uber Air plus orthotic. 
It is a slightly different look, but I think I like it.
I also found that the laces that came with the Uber Air were difficult to manipulate -- I really suck at tying normal shoelaces, and I could barely manage these laces.  The problem was easily addressed by swapping out the laces, though.

All customized and ready to go!
So yeah, the shoe's an overall win, and I recommend it highly.   You don't get more minimalist than this, folks.

BTW, the team at Uber Air also gave me a promotional sports-bra made of the same sheer and super lightweight material - guaranteed not to chafe.  Unfortunately, my cell phone's run out of juice, so no pictures for this review.  Sorry.  I'll try to get it in a future review.


  1. Wow, those are awesome! I guess my only issue would be finding them before every run. It's bad enough with the keys...

    Very funny post :) btw, have I commented here before? I think maybe not, but I've been following your blog for a while and enjoying it!

  2. omg, those are so cool! You can barely even see them! People are really going to recognize your awesomeness even MORE now. Yayzies!

  3. Ha! Hahahaha. You are the queen of awesome.

  4. Where can I get a pair? I will "like" them on Facebook! LOL. Love the slogan too.

  5. hahahahhaa. This made my day. Just brilliant.

  6. The Emperor's New Shoes!

  7. Dangit...Dash stole my line!!

  8. These will last forever!

    Great find.