Shoes!

Postby Bamenwubu » Wed Feb 09, 2005 3:38 pm

It all depends on what you're used to.
I am used, after nearly twenty years in them, to those little plastic bottomed cloth kung fu shoes.
I can turn, spin, jump, stomp, run, climb, hike, you name it, in those shoes. No problems.
I think I have it easier than most, though, as the fronts of my feet are very wide, EEE width in fact. I have to wear a size bigger than my feet are long, but the width of my foot actually glues them in place for me and I have no slippage with them, which seems to be a big problem for a lot of people.
Since they stay nailed to the bottom of my feet like that, I can wear them with no problems at all for anything I do.
I used to wear them all the time, including work, but the clicking sound on the computer room floor drove my cow-irkers nuts, so now I wear sneakers.
I can do the form in them, but I like my flat shoes a lot better.
Basically, I think it's whatever works for you that will work for you.

Bob
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Postby JerryKarin » Wed Jul 27, 2005 5:20 am

Shoe review time!

I managed to obtain a pair of Converse One Stars recently. These are like a suede version of Chuck Taylor sneakers, with the same sole as Chucks but a more durable and supportive upper. Highly recommended for taiji. Unfortunately they are all but extinct, with only a few odd colors and sizes available on the web. Basically gone. Snap 'em up if you can find your size. ($45 - try the Converse website) Too bad.

Recently I tried some shoes by Vans, a suede model, all black, called Camacho. They are ok shoes for walking but just a bit too cushy and mushy for taiji. For some reason the tongue and sides are very thickly padded. They make good business casual shoes for winter time but are no good for taiji.

Last weekend they had a sale at a Mervyn's store near me on Converse EV Pro 2K5. I'm a sucker for these things, always searching for that perfect shoe so I had to try a pair. Like a lot of Converse shoes, I had to take size 9 rather than my usual 9 1/2. They were going for $50. Zappos has them for about $60. Here's the page at Zappos so you can see what they look like: http://www.zappos.com/n/p/p/7153685.html These are excellent all around shoes and very suitable for taiji. They are much wider than most shoes around the area of the ball of the foot, allowing the front of the foot to spread out nicely. Highly recommended for taiji and general use, such as business casual. One of the reviewers at Zappos had this to say about them, which I find entertaining:

"Aww Skeet Skeet! Converse done got crunk wit dis shoe! These boyz is tight! Madd soft on the dawgs, feels like I be rockin slippas. Dope star logo ta boot. "


[This message has been edited by JerryKarin (edited 07-27-2005).]
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Postby Bamenwubu » Wed Jul 27, 2005 2:28 pm

Jerry,
I love the quote!
I was thinking of coming here and posting not too long ago, actually, as I found what for me is the perfect sneaker for doing TCC.
I know, I know, I've been pushing the old cloth shoes for ages, and I still wear them for indoor practice, but as pointed out they're not practical for every day wear and they certainly aren't the best choice for wearing when practicing outside.
The shoe I've found is made by Dr. Scholl's, the gel-sole shoe they make. I don't have any pretty pictures of them to post, but they are simply the most comfortable shoe I've ever worn for any reason, and they have proven to be truly awesome for playing TCC on the concrete slab our group uses for class on Saturday mornings, or out on my back deck.
The bottoms are flat with a minimal tread pattern, and an extremely convenient "swirl" on the heel. I don't know what else to call it, actually, it's a round, concave pattern of consecutive circles that sits right on the center of the bottom of the heel. I find it extremely convenient for TCC practice, as it gives my foot a much greater grip on the floor when I have my foot turned out to 45 degrees and when I make the turns on one foot where the weight is on the heel it then gives me a greater ability to turn without the shoe gripping the ground. The circle pattern doesn't offer as much resistance to a turn as the straight, studded or wavy lines that are on the heels of most tennis shoes I've worn.
So for me, this is truly an awesome shoe for playing the form.
The gel-sole feature also gives me feet quite a lot of cushion, it almost feels like I'm walking on jello, while at the same time giving me a good spring effect into my postures.
These shoes certainly have worked well for me so far. In fact, I liked them so much I went back and bought a black pair to wear at work. I now have my white pair for practice and my black pair for work (one of the funny things about the dress code where I work is that we CAN wear tennis shoes, but they can't be white tennis shoes, it doesn't make any sense to me either).

Bob

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Postby Kalamondin » Fri Jul 29, 2005 7:38 pm

OK, Jerry,

You've convinced me to try another pair of Converse shoes. The model you showed looked like the soles would be better at keeping out the rain, so I'm going to try ones that looks similar, but a little more colorful: http://www.zappos.com/n/p/dp/7316419/c/40588.html

Vans: "For some reason the tongue and sides are very thickly padded." These are skateboarding shoes, and skaters like to do those tricks where they stick one foot under the board, kick it up so it spins in the air while they jump up and try to land on it. So I suspect that's why they're so padded. That and padding for landing badly/kicking your board on the way down.

There's a skater up here who just completed the beginning hand form class. He took to the idea of sinking chi to the dan tien and rounding the kua like a duck to water. All that skateboarding taught him how to maintain a low center of gravity and relax while moving from the waist.

Skater does singlewhip, kinda: http://www.mrx.no/SkateboardPark/The_skater_filtered.html

Hopin' ta soon be rockin' slippas...

Kal
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Postby psalchemist » Fri Jul 29, 2005 7:50 pm

Hi Kalamondin,

NICE picture of "skateboarder does single whip, kinda." Image

It made me think of the taichi reference to walking on thin ice. One should be able to root on thin ice, yet not break the surface...

That skater must have a really relaxed kua, it explains well what you said about your student taking to rounding the kua, "like a duck to water." Image

Best wishes,
Psalchemist.

[This message has been edited by psalchemist (edited 07-29-2005).]
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Postby JerryKarin » Fri Jul 29, 2005 9:41 pm

Kal, I hope you have good luck with those. They are actually pretty different from the EV Pro 2K5 suede model I like, so I can't vouch for them. If possible, see if you can try both on in a store. The EV Pro comes in grey too.
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Postby Kalamondin » Wed Aug 03, 2005 7:28 pm

Understood, thanks. Now I'm revisiting the cotton soled shoe idea. I understand there are all sorts of disadvantages: slippery, heels slide out, no arch support, not a street shoe...but after watching the video at the link recently posted in the push hands forum ("Huang short jin") I wonder if the shoes very difficulty isn't their advantage...you learn to root well in unstable conditions. If you watch the vid. there's one guy who starts sliding and falling before Master Huang even contacts him. He's enthusiastic in his rushing attack, but a little too much so and slides. I understand we should aim to root anywhere at any time. The cotton soles might force one to pay attention to these things. I've practiced (gingerly) on ice, in mud, and in slippery socks on a wooden floor...but not regularly. I wonder if cotton shoes aren't the daily equivalent?

Kal
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Postby Anderzander » Wed Aug 03, 2005 8:21 pm

Flat soled skate shoes have been my footwear of choice for outdoor practice.....

Image
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Postby JerryKarin » Sat Aug 06, 2005 3:51 am

americanathletics.com has managed to pull some Converse One Stars out of a hat. It's sick, I know, but I couldn't help myself from buying the one pair they had of black in size 9 and a pair of those fabuluous purple ones. I'm becoming the Imelda Marcos of the taiji world!
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Postby Tripper » Sun Aug 07, 2005 7:44 pm

Ah the eternal quest for the ideal tjq shoe - I have come to think that this is a never ending quest probably something to do with excellence in the form, and actually nothing to do with the qualities of the shoe itself Image Trouble with kung fu slippers in my experience is the back of them get flattened too quickly. For many years used what we in the UK call 'deck shoes' - blue canvas tops, white sides and rubber soles, think you guys in the states call them something else. But gone off these 'cause all the ones I have bought recently fell apart in a couple of months. Tried martial arts shoes, found soles too narrow. Am now trying the Chinese FeiYu's - after a month I like them, but we'll see how it goes.
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Postby Wu Chang-Chi » Sun Aug 07, 2005 8:16 pm

I use Feiyues as well and am very happy with them after having tried cotton sole slippers, plastic sole slippers, running shoes, and boat shoes (same as deck shoes, I think).

I also like practicing in my Dr. Marten's at work.

Wu
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Postby artyeo » Thu Sep 01, 2005 3:29 pm

I have been wearing what we call china kung fu shoe for more then 10 years,
and recenly change to adidas as shown. still feel that the old shoe is better
sorry cant find my old shoe. I will send to you the pic when I found it

artyeo
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Postby artyeo » Thu Sep 01, 2005 4:00 pm

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Postby Louis Swaim » Thu Sep 01, 2005 5:26 pm

Greetings,

I've found that "skate" shoes of one brand or another usually fit the requirements of a good taiji practice shoe (i.e., a flat sole with a minimal tread pattern). I learned from my daughter that the current favorite is a brand called Etnies. I picked up a pair on sale for myself while we were school shopping the other day. They get along just fine with my redwood deck. They also meet with the approval of the shredder community.

Take care,
Louis
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Postby JerryKarin » Thu Sep 01, 2005 5:44 pm

Oh dear those do look nice. Gonna hafta buy a new shoe rack... Image Image

[This message has been edited by JerryKarin (edited 09-01-2005).]
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