Monday, January 3, 2011
Winter Running with O'Neill Reactor Reef Boots
I start with a traditional running sock, perhaps a smart wool ankle high. From there it gets kind of weird. Over the wool sock I throw a Speedo neoprene aqua fin sock. That’s right a neoprene bootie that I usually wear with flippers in the pool for swimming. I am a triathlete and swim about 6000 yards a week so the bootie was something I already had lying around the house. The last layer is the piece I had to search for. I slip on something called an O’Neill Reactor Beef boot. The O’Neill reef boot is the brainchild of Jack O’Neill a coastal California surfin Kat who started his company back in 1952 and is credited with inventing the modern day wetsuit.
The neoprene boot is designed to protect surfer’s bare feet from sharp, rocky coral. Jack was determined to beat Mother Nature at her game by designing gear that would allow surfers to ride the waves in the bone chilling cold waters off the coast of San Francisco. The boot design really works well as a minimalist winter running shoe. It slips on like an old man’s galoshes over just about anything you put on your feet first. The reef boot sole is actually thinner that the Vibram five finger, which I did not expect. It greatest attribute is its super sticky sole complete with an aggressive tread pattern that does amazingly well over ice and snow.