END WOW (Walk on Water) Review
April 24, 2009 by Bryon Powell · 4 Comments
One of my secret weapons during my MdS training was END’s WOW (Walk on Water) shoe. This minimalist “water shoe” is built for wet conditions with a wide-open mesh upper as well as drainage holes through the sole. Like other END Footwear shoes, there’s no separate heel counterbalance (a cupped midsole provides heel stability and support) and minimal rigidity in the midsole. This makes your feet work harder… but over time strengthens them into another running asset. Personally, I use the WOW on many of my easy days as well as the occasional shorter hard run. Of course, they’re also a great option for a rain-soaked road run. FYI, the ladies have an equivalent to the WOW in the LOL or Laughing Out Loud.
Singing (WOW’s Praises) in the Rain
During one rainy training run last autumn, I crossed multiple streams and jumped in many puddles. Each time the WOW was no longer sloshing within a 20 count. There was only residual wetness in my socks. The mesh upper and drainage holes did the job admirably.
Being the analytical sort, I decided to determine how the WOW performed in cold, wet numbers. When dry, my pair (yes, I weigh both shoes) of size 9 END WOW’s weighed in at 540 grams (1 pound, 3.1 oz). When I again weighed them within 20 seconds of ending a run in torrential rain, the pair had gained only 148 grams (688 grams total) or barely 2.5 ounces per shoe! In comparison, my socks weighed 143 grams at the end of the same run.
On one January morning, I ran in the WOW in 33 degree pouring rain while my poor buddy wore “waterproof membrane” shoes and gaiters. You can guess who had drier, warmer feet and no regrets about running through puddles. :-) That said, I don’t even think of the WOW as a water shoe… but as a running shoe that is light-weight, cool, and drains ridiculously well!
WOW and Hot Weather
During another rainy run, I had a eureka moment – the WOW would be an awesome shoe for the Badwater 135 in Death Valley. The light-weight, light in color, and highly breathable WOW would be great for the blistering hot conditions… or any hot weather, for that matter.
Despite the fact that I’ve loved for 6 months and a couple 100 miles, there are some drawbacks to the shoe. Here they are:
- While it’s a water shoe, that the sole slips quite easily on metal, wood planks, and rocks that are wet. That said, the traction is fine on wet road or trails.
- Avoid running sockless in the WOWs in sub-freezing temperatures… BRRR!
- On my first run in the WOWs the orange dye ran and quickly dyed my socks orange.
- The insole in one of my shoes tends to shift backwards and curl up. As no one else has reported this problem, I chalk it up to having deformed the insole while wearing the shoe in combination with a heel lift in many of my early runs in the shoe.
Despite a few minor drawbacks, I would confidently recommend these shoes to anyone looking for a minimalist road trainer or a road trainer for wet conditions. I will continue to incorporate the WOWs into my weekly training plans and may end up logging tempo runs or … egads … a road race in them! The WOW are available for $80 or less as are END’s LOL for women on Amazon.com.
- Anyone else run in a water shoe?
- END’s WOW?
- What did you think?