Saturday, January 26, 2013

1st Impression - Freeheel Running Pads

My Freeheel Running Pads arrived yesterday from Germany, and I must say, I've been eager to give them a shot.

They're a new product made in Germany by Starringer, and I appear to be lucky enough to be one of the first, at least in Florida, to review them.

The running pads are like a hybrid between a running moccasin and huaraches. They have a soft, slightly padded, leather sole with sandal/huarache style toe and heel straps.

Manufacturer Site:

Initial Inspection:

Opening the box, I was greeted by a packing invoice, the running pads, a nice looking felt carry bag with metal clip, a business card, and what I think is an advert for a German barefoot magazine.
I must admit, I thought the carry bag was a nice touch. - JMB

The Running Pads:

The nice people at Starringer, offered to send me a production size or a pair custom crafted to my (usually goofy shaped) feet.  I chose to send them some tracings, with reference marks for size, and once we got the images verified, it was a quick process.

At first glance, you can tell a lot of thought went into the design and a great deal of care was put into their construction.  All of the elastic has a silicone grip surface to prevent slipping and all of the seams are smoothed and reinforced.

 They have a nice feel and are much more sturdy feeling than I'd imagined.

I opted for the leather bottoms (there is a rubber option for urban running) for my test pair of running pads, as I use either barefoot or socks for running on pavement.

I intend to use these to keep me from stomping on thorns/sandspurs while running trails.

How Do They Fit?

Well, I must say, they fit like something that was custom made for my (weirdly shaped) feet.

The only thing I've worn that has fit as well "right out of the box" was a pair of huaraches that I made for running pavement.

The toe-thongs are in the exact spot I specified and the shape is dead-on accurate to my tracings.

They conform nicely to the curve of my foot.

There is also an additional toe strap that helps keep your toes and the running pads in close contact, and help to prevent the toe folding under when you occasionally use poor form/scuff your feet.
After 11months of running in super-thin huaraches, I think this is a nice touch.

Come back to check out my 1st Run Impressions once I've managed to put some miles into to these neat little trail running concepts.

Happy Running! ~ JMB


  1. Great article Michael.

    These 'shoes' fascinate me. I only saw them (online only) for the first time last week, and wrote a blog post about them:

    I'm really keen to find out how you got on with them? How many miles have you clocked? How durable do you think they are?

    Thanks, Lee from

    1. Lee, sorry for the delay. I've been in the process of moving 1400mi across the country the past week and haven't had a ton of time to post or run.

      So far I have 17mi (via my Garmin) on my running pads, all on sandy/thorn laden trails, and other than they're getting more comfortable, I can't really say they've worn much at all.

      I just found some local trails and have made some adjustments to my running gear for the colder winter weather, and will be out in the next couple days.

      I'll post some photos of the wear (or, more accurately, lack of) as soon as my new phone arrives.

      Also, Starringer makes a rubber soled bottom that I'm currently contemplating.

      Thanks for reading. If you like the blog or have questions/comments/ect, feel free to ask/share. ;)

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