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Yesterday I put my new ZEM’s through the grinder, and today, I am still loving these shoes!

This morning was the San Antonio Road Runner’s (SARR’s) Monthly  Fun Run, and the Thing’s Three and I were all in attendance.

We woke early, and got dressed, each of us donning our own special “Muddy J” “limited edition” Tees. Their tees have the “J” barefoot footprint on the front left breast(with a filled toe) and the MuddyJ.com artwork I covered in a post earlier this week. There is an additional piece of art on the sleeve: a white box to write a phone number in sharpie, in case they get separated from me during an event, with “if found please call:” written above it.

After we all ate a light breakfast, we headed out the door, leaving Mrs MuddyJ sleep in (a well deserved and all too rare treat for her).

my first production run of t-shirts… I’ll be keeping the female donor shirts, but I think I am going to change up the shirt for the men’s before release.

I decided to wear my ZEM’s to the event, to continue evaluating them. Many of the Road Runner’s know me by sight, so they are used to my “strange” taste in footwear, (when I do wear shoes) so it was little surprise to most that I was wearing a funky looking shoe.

That said, I STILL got lot’s comments and questions!

The more I wear the ZEM’s, the more comfortable they are getting. The initial feeling of them being “too tight” has given way to “just right” and the “baggy” feeling I had about the toe box has all-but disappeared, it’s almost like these shoes are sentient and trying to mold themselves to my feet and make me love them! (it’s totally working) I didn’t do much more then walking this morning (still nursing that foot) but I did put them through some more testing later in the day.

There are four events at the SARR Monthly Fun Run:

  1. Kids run (about 100 meters)
  2. 1/2 Mile
  3. 1 Mile
  4. 5k

All the races held during the fun run are free to run, for any and every one, and water/sports drinks are provided. Today there were “Santa’s Helpers” volunteers from the BISH Foundation giving out hot dogs, chips and sodas in an attempt to recruit more runners to their December 1st event, The “Santa Antonio” 5k… If you are local…YOU NEED TO RUN IN THIS EVENT… everyone WEARS A SANTA SUIT (provided with registration fee)I brought the Thing’s Three out to the event this morning with the intention of letting them run the kids race only. They all ran that race well, with Thing #2 finishing 3rd overall! Wearing HOMEMADE LEATHER HUARACHES NO LESS!!!!! Thing #3 was the next one of them to head across the line, but she got distracted by the cheering throngs and made the mistake of looking around while running, which promptly landed her on her face, the poor Thing!I scooped her up, and we all cheered a distracted and lolly-gagging Thing #1 across the line. Thing #3 was done after that spill… luckily she escaped injury completely..not EVEN A SKINNED KNEE!!!!

Thing #1 and Thing #2 decided they wanted more and ran the half mile (4:45 and 5:13, respectively) as well as the MILE (11:44 and 11:52, respectively) then they wanted to run the 5k, but since I am unable to run it with them,( because of my foot) I said “not this time”

I don’t think I could be prouder of them…they ran for fun, in the hot hot sun!

Ok, I’m done bragging about my awesome kids for now…. back to the review…

After going home for lunch and a nap (for three very tired Things!) a well rested Mrs MuddyJ decided we should make good use of our Six Flag’s Season Passes, and we headed out to Fiesta Texas. I wore my ZEM’s again, planning on putting them through a series of wet tests.

Worth mentioning: Mrs MuddyJ thinks the split toed ZEM’s are god awfully UGLY. While the child inside of me (who always wanted to be a ninja) loves the look of this shoe, I have to admit they are a VERY odd looking shoe.

We went straight to the water park upon our arrival at Fiesta Texas, and hiked up the long stair case to the kiddie pool and the “Texas Treehouse”

For those who have never been, The “Texas Treehouse” is a huge, soaking wet playground. It stands about three stories tall and has four water slides of varying heights that empty into a small pool at the bottom. There are various cargo nets to climb, as well as stairs and different buckets/valves to dump water on unsuspecting civilians who have the misfortune of walking beneath you at the wrong (or right) moment.

In other words, it’s actually a great place to train a little while I am chasing the Thing’s Three around! To quote an inspiring NCO I served under, (MSG Robertson, KACC, Fort Meade, MD) “TRAINING is everything, and EVERYTHING is training”

Back to the ZEM’s…

Once wet, I expected the ZEM’s to slip around a little on my feet, like any other shoe.. THEY DID NOT SLIP AND SLIDE AROUND ON MY FOOT WHEN WET. I attribute this amazing feat to the high frequency tech-bands that are welded to the upper. The shoes stay nice and (not overly) tight. I am almost certain that “hotspots” won’t become an issue after they get wet, either from sweating, or from puddles and creek crossings. I’ll test this out as soon as I can run! This is a definitive advantage over my VFF’s, which have (once or twice) left me with blisters after getting wet on REALLY long (15k +) runs.

The superior traction the ZEM’s provide didn’t diminish with them getting soaking wet either. They stuck to every surface I walked on. I did some climbing in them, ignoring my right foot’s insistence that I shouldn’t do such things yet. I discovered while climbing in them, that the ZEM’s may as well be glued to your foot, yet your toes can still move… cargo nets, stairs…no problem… I even stepped off the beaten path and scrambled over some rocks and loose gravel, for no better reason than “I could” The ZEM’s did a great job of staying put.

a shot of the ZEM’s underwater, taken underwater!

The ZEM’s don’t dry out as quickly as my VFF’s, probably because the upper is thicker, but this would be only a minor complaint. The toe box hangs onto water a little bit, but it is pushed out by the motions of your foot flexing as you walk. This could possibly be solved with the addition of a small mesh on top of the toe box. I have had trail shoes with drainage holes, and found that holes are just as good as letting stuff in as they are in letting water out.

The reflective bands STAY just as reflective when wet, with no noticeable dimming occurring.

After two straight days of wear and testing, I feel that ZEMGear has created a rather unique and well-made shoe in the Terra. The shoes have provided me with superior traction in every situation I have put them through, staying firmly in one place on my foot, as well as planted on whatever surface I stood on, wet or dry. They’re a welcome addition to my collection of minimalist shoes, and I fully recommend them to anyone wanting to try a minimalist shoe. Though I haven’t tried the rounded toe, other reviewer’s (for other model’s) of the ZEM’s line-up have noticed little difference in performance by either.

Though I found them to be a little too tight at first, they have loosened a bit and are now feeling MUCH more comfortable. I hope they don’t stretch too much more. I’ll let you know!

At this point, I am so impressed, I think I may order a pair of the 360 runner’s line in the near future!

Have a great day, and….

Stay Muddy My Friends!!!!