Oh Mother Nature, you are not one to mess around! The recent cold snap in the Midwest is the real deal and messing with my training like never before. Last year there was only one day that I could not run outside due to dangerous temperatures…fast forward to this winter and I have been “dreadmill” bound for more runs than I care to count. On the rare safe days that I have been able to get out in December I have struggled to stay warm. Through research and several online shopping adventures I have managed to outsmart the ice cold temps…so the most part. My head, hands, legs, and chest are toasty warm but my feet – nope, frozen! A fellow runner suggested that I duct tape the tops of my shoes. I’d never heard of this before so I gave it a whirl…1 mile in on the snow covered trail and the tape was gone and my feet were popsicles. Back to the drawing board!
After more research for a solution I came across Shoe Hoodies. I love their tagline – “One step ahead of winter.” Sounds good to me! Shoe Hoodies come in several sizes based on your shoe size with elastic built in to provide the perfect fit with a varying shoe widths and 12 different colors.
The website was easy to navigate, I was able to quickly figure out what size I needed to order and product I would give a try. Within 3 days of placing my order the product showed up in my mailbox. Now to be perfectly clear, I am not what you would call a “handy” person. Even simple assembly can be a challenge. Upon opening the package I read the instructions and felt confident that I could put this together. The unit comes with velcro which you cut and turn into 4 rectangles approximately 3/8 inches in size.
(Tip: I attached the velcro to the hoodie and then cut along the edge to get the perfect size for all 4 strips.) Clean the area of the shoe that you will apply the velcro strips to, peel the clear backing off of the cut velcro strips, and attach the sticky side to the shoe…easy-peasy! To ensure that the adhesive has enough time to set up and stick allow the product to sit for 24 hours.
Tick-tock, tick-tock…time to run!
I am a fan of crew socks to keep my ankles warm and prevent the tread of my trail shoes from tearing up my ankle. I dug out of my closet my FAVORITE pair of wool Fitsoks and No Fine Print socks for my inaugural Shoe Hoodie run, yep I doubled up. In checking the weather on this fine Saturday it was a whopping 7 degrees with sunshine! That is actually a pleasant surprise compared to the last few days that have been in the negative area and that does not include the windshield. Don’t get me wrong…its still cold, but doable.
Typically when I hit the trail my feet are wet and cold within a few minutes. I have had to cut many runs short or head to the road, which is not what I need to be doing to prep for my spring ultra events. One mile in I was happy to still be able to feel my toes. 2 miles in my feet were still ok and DRY!!! Excited is an understatement, but I still had 6 more miles to tackle…so I was not holding my breathe. Mile 4 in I stopped to refuel and grab a drink. As a precaution I brought with me an extra pair of socks in case I needed to change. Not necessary, feet were still good. Turning around I headed back home.
I’m impressed. Let’s be clear, my feet were still a tad chilly towards the end of my run (its winter that is expected), but I was not crippled by the elements as I had been in the past. My feet stayed dry and the material was able to block the wind which was key. The product is comfortable and easy to remove. I rotate shoes throughout a training cycle and found on the Shoe Hoodie site that I can purchase additional velcro strips for $4. Now I am not limited to the shoes that I can use.
At first I was a bit worried that I would not be able to fit the hoodie over my Altra Mt Kings, which by design are wide to allow for maximum toe splay. Have no fear, they worked great! The snug fit actually helped to keep the snow out when it got deep on the trail.
Wisconsin winter is just getting started and I anticipate many more cold runs in my near future. Next time I head out with my Shoe Hoodies on I am going to try placing a hand warmer packet on the top of my shoe under the hoodie. Might be the magic combo to outsmart Mother Nature:)
Winter is not going anywhere anytime soon, but either am I. Big goals in 2018 with lots of miles!
#BeHappy #BeKind #BeActive
**I was NOT given this product, I purchased in on my own. If you head over to Instagram and follow Shoe Hoodies they often have sales. I got mine on sale, but they are worth the $22 even without the discount.