I was thrilled to receive a pair of Nadas from Somnio Running (now Nada Sports?) as this was a shoe I had heard about and seen a few posts on but never actually tried.
Usually I try to hold my full opinions until at least mid way through the review, but let me just go ahead and say it… this is THE best minimalist running shoe I have ever run in. Period.
Now, what makes this review a little interesting is that I received the shoes in a box on my doorstep one day with no note, no request, no return address, no packing list, nothing. To add to the mystery, the Nadas are not the red/white/black ones that everyone has seen (and that are pictured above), they are black with metallic silver – the color isn’t listed on their website, or anyone else’s, and google has no images of this shoe. I don’t know if it’s a new color that’s coming out, a 2.0 version of the shoe… I just don’t know. Furthermore, Somnio has apparently launched a new “branding” for the Nadas in “Nada Sports” – however the website only has women shoes, no men’s shoes at all (and again – nothing in this color). That said, I will definitely add pictures of the shoes soon, my camera phone isn’t working for some reason at the moment (thanks Moto) and my regular camera is charging.
Ok, enough of that, on to the shoes:
I actually got the shoes in a few weeks ago. I first went on a short run and loved them – but I loved them so much that I was afraid I wasn’t being fair and that it was just because I took such a short run. Since that time I have continued to run in them almost every run through different conditions and distances. Here’s what I’ve found:
The shoes are completely seamless, no rubbing, no irritation, no hot spots; you can easily wear them with socks or without.
They are made of a sort-of stretch mesh that is very thin and unbelievably breathable.
The mesh is so thin and stretchy that the shoe is “held together” by these strips of overlays (what a lot of people refer to affectionately as the Somnio duct-tape) that are made of Thermo Polyurethane – these strips keep your foot from sliding but that’s about it – they don’t restrict and they are Not stiff at all.
The sole is listed at 6mm but due to the material (very very soft) it honestly feels even thinner than that and provides excellent ground feel.
One thing that will be interesting to see on this shoe is how well the sole holds up in the long run just because it is so thin and soft.
The toe box is wide and, again, the mesh is so stretchy that I would wager almost any foot width could be accommodated.
This leads me to my only complaint… sort of. Though it doesn’t bother me while running (I only visually notice it while I’m stretching), the toebox is wide, and the mesh stretches very well, but the actual Sole of the shoe (the actual white sole) is very narrow. What this does is when I’m doing a wide hamstring stretch or a standing groin stretch (for instance), my foot actually slides over the edge of the sole. Just an interesting point… not a hindrance that I can tell, but feels odd when not running – I wish the actual sole of the shoe were wider (I feel like the sole of my foot is wider than the white sole of the shoe… but not wider than the internal compartment of the shoe itself)
There is, of course, NO heel to toe drop - in fact, though never mentioned by Somnio that I can tell, people rumor that NADA stands for No Anterior Drop Applied. Though possible, to me “NADA” simply means what it means in its truest form… nothing. Nothing extra, nothing superfluous.
That pretty much sums it up… this shoe has everything you would want (zero drop, complete flexibility, zero break in, seamless, sockliner, flat bottom, ultra lite), and nothing you don’t (no support, no arch, no drop, no… nothing) all in THE single lightest shoe I have ever seen…. That’s one of the greatest features: these shoes weigh 3.6 ounces. Yeah, that’s right, 100 grams – almost HALF the weight of a pair of Fivefingers!
Also, as a nice bonus, the shoes are $80 – which, in comparison, is Quite reasonable.
An important note on sizing: they run HUGE – order 1 full size smaller than your regular shoe size.
If you sometimes where a 9, sometimes an 8.5, order a 7.5. I wear an 8.5 in almost everything and I got a “7-7 ½” and they fit very well and, if anything, might be Slightly long.
So again, let me reiterate, just in case there was any confusion: these are, hands down, the best minimalist running shoe I’ve ever used, in all regards – really… I just can’t speak highly enough about them.