Even though there have been complaints about advertising before, because they either bashed right-wing or left-wing politicians (and, because of what advertisers want to say, readers call me a “communist propagandist” or a “right-wing pukebag,” respectively).
Still, I was surprised this weekend, after writing a short review of a long-time advertiser’s products in the free edition on Friday …that a reader unsubscribed in protest.
It never ceases to amaze me what sets off a reader, at what things they choose to be offended by. The review was after the end of the stories, of course, and I even took the space to note that the advertiser didn’t pay for the review. But sob!, that’s just not acceptable in a free publication! Heck, even if it was a paid placement, does s/he stop reading every publication that includes a review or an ad? That’s the only way they can be consistent in their protests, after all.
Anyway, here’s what I wrote — every offensive word:
You’ve Probably Noticed the Ads now and then for Xero Shoes; there’s one this week, above*. They’ve been running here on and off since before the founders were on Shark Tank. I’m really intrigued by their “minimalist” running sandals, even though I’m not a runner. So much so that when they started running ads in True, I bought a pair (they didn’t give them to me); my wife bought two pair. We both found them hugely comfortable to walk in …but I didn’t like the lacing post going between my toes (Kit was fine with them, and wears them a lot). I told my contact at Xero my experience, and he said “wait a bit.” Well, I waited, and earlier this month he sent two pairs of their new product, the “Amuri Z-Trek” — a pair for me, and another for Kit. The Z is for the strapping system; they don’t have anything going between my toes anymore. They’re so freaking comfortable they’re amazing. Kit, who liked the originals, loves these even more. She’s on her way home from a trip, and wore them pretty much the whole time. Yeah, it’s winter in Colorado: you can wear socks with these!
They’re not “flip flops,” which I never have liked. Not only do they have something sticking between your toes, but having to grip with your toes is just not a natural way to walk. Plus, most flip flops are made with foam that slowly compresses, misaligning your feet and ankles until you’re standing on an unstable foundation. How can you tell? Just watch someone walking in them: most people fall off one side or the other, or step over the front edge. It’s clearly not stable, and not a healthy way to walk. Typical sport sandals, like Teva or Chaco or Keen, are typically really stiff. One of my Z-Treks (men’s size 11) weighs less than 8 ounces, compared to my clodhopper Keens, which weigh 19 (each!), and they’re so flexible they can roll into a fist-sized balls: they can fit into no matter what tight space you need to pack them into …unlike my Keens. I get a good chuckle that Xeros have a “5,000 mile warranty,” yet they’re half the cost of the typical “sport sandal” I’m never going to buy again.
Their regular sandals (the Cloud and the Venture — my previous pair is the Venture) have a huge advantage over flip flops, and this part I liked: the lacing system goes all around your foot, so it holds on without you having to grip them with your toes as you walk. They’re waterproof, too. I even left mine on when I went swimming at the beach. (I did say the lacing makes them secure! Try that with flip flops!)
Finally: a perfect replacement for my something-to-be-desired Keens. And no, they definitely did not pay me to say any of this: they’ll be hearing this reaction for the first time in this issue, just as you are. 🙂
* (Note: actual ad not included in this post. Click the logo if you want to go to their site.)
Terrible, Ain’t It?
An awful thing to include in a free newsletter, after the stories, that subscribers are not required to read? I just don’t see it. Rather, ads are what make the free edition …free. They are how you’re able to get the stories delivered to you; they pay the freight. So if someone advertises a product a lot, then sure: I want to check it out. No extra charge.
It’s certainly amusing what people get bent out of shape over.
March 2016 Update
When I said in a recent issue we were headed to Hawaii (and that’s where we are this week), Xero Shoes emailed to say they had a new sandal coming out that would be perfect for my trip, and if I waited until this week to say anything about them, since they weren’t announced yet, they’d give me a review pair. I suggested he give Kit a pair instead, since she wears sandals a lot more than I do, so he gave us both a pair.
Like the previous style, they don’t have something between my toes (which I hate): the “Z” strap makes them very comfortable. So what’s the difference from the previous style? Their slogan is “Feel the World!”, and with the previous kind, you really can. They’re “minimalist” running sandals with just enough sole to protect your feet, but you can still …well… feel the world.
The new ones have a very slightly thicker and tougher sole that reduces the feel. And it works: I’ve walked around on chunks of rough lava on this trip with no trouble, and still wore them while swimming in the ocean. You can see them here. Our deal is, I’d give them an honest review in lieu of an ad this week, so there you go. (And they do have some regular ads scheduled for after release!)
Oh, and yeah: I’ve given my Keens to a thrift shop.