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K-Swiss Kona C's
by Denis Oakley in , , , ,

I've been having a bit of trouble with my shoes recently. As most of you know I totally love my Vibram Five Fingers and run in then religiously. Well almost.

The problem is that running long distances on road or on hot tarmac becomes painful. Afternoon 10km+ runs invariably lead to blisters and after about 15km in the mornings I don't feel that I have anything - rubber or flesh -  between me and the road. Trails they are superb at though and that's what they're made for.

With the aim of doing lots of marathons this year they aren't going to let me go the distance and so I needed a new pair of shoes. My trusty New Balance shoes are quite heavy and I want to try and maintain as much of the minimalist feel as possible. So after reading a bit about them I end up going shopping for some Nike Free 3.0.

Two problems - totally uneducated shop assistants and and no Nike Free 3.0's around. So I decided for the first time in my life to believe the Nike hype and try a pair. Bad mistake. A 12km early morning run left me with a huge blister on the front of my right toe where I have never had a blister before. Not nice. I put it down to the old socks I was wearing (still have to throw them out) and tried again for a 2 hour run on Sunday. The rubbing was really noticeable and I gave up after less than 500m took the shoes off and headed home barefoot. Bliss

Paul Lee and Keat Song suggested a few alternatives and I ended up speaking to Frank who distributes K-Swiss in Malaysia. So at Burger King at lunchtime I tried a pair on. The pair I tried and bought were the K-Ona C.

Apparently they're all the rage with famous triathletes and are designed specifically for triathlons.

One of the things I was mindful of is the fact that I tend to lose toenails after marathons - probably because my feet swell a bit and the toe front bangs and bangs and bangs. So I needed enough space. The first pair felt really comfortable but I( wasn't sure about the space available. The second pair was much better.

My first feeling was that they were very light and comfortable. The second that they were really cool. I could feel the air on my toes. Looking closely I could see lots of air vents at the toe and the heel. Then when I turned them over there were a number of bottom air vents. You can just see them on the last photo - to the right and left of the K-Swiss logo and then 8 more on the fore foot.

This was a bit of a wow moment for me. One of the problems I have as a westerner in Malaysia is that I sweat buckets which means I run in wet shoes and wet socks. Apart from the blister hazard it means that shoes get somewhat heavier during a run. So these bottom holes - together with the ventilation should help my feet stay drier, cooler and more comfortable on long runs.

I've yet to try them in combat and they may go the same way as the Nike's - we'll see. If you're interested in buying a pair have a look at his website 

By the way if anyone wants a pair of Nike Lunarlite + size 42 with only 12km on the clock I'll be happy to pass them on for a small fee.


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