I’m aware that I’ve been posting a lot about everyday trainers recently but I have one more pair I need to share, as, they’re my current favourites.
The Flash 2 Desert are from German based Sole Runner and not only do they provide a very barefoot experience, they’re also super easy to style. Although they’re narrower than some other shoes from the brand, they have an incredibly roomy toe box as well as the thinnest sole I’ve come across.
They’re available in two colourways, the Desert (my personal fav) and in Blue/Black.
In comparison to a thinner hi top (such as Joe Nimble flexToes), the Sole Runner Flash 2 Desert has the look of a chunkier trainer, which I find much easier to wear day-to-day.
As they are quite wide at the ankle it’s best to avoid baggy or wide trousers, and I find that they’re best worn with skinny jeans tucked in*. Also, in case you’ve got any ankle skimmers, a straight legged jean that ends just above the top of the trainer (you can do a roll top to get the right length) also works really well.
The inner fabric of the shoes is in black, which peeks out around the inside edge of the upper and tongue and creates a nice contrast with the sand of the upper. This edging also really pops when worn with black jeans.
*A note on skinny jeans… As someone who tries to be aware of how the clothes I wear affect my health, I can’t help call myself out on the fact that skinny jeans are pretty restrictive and I’m working on finding an alternative that I like just as much… Stay tuned on that.
Sole Runners have their own size chart to help when ordering online, which involves measuring your feet and adding 3-5mm (to allow for your foot to glide when walking or running) and then checking this length against their chart. I usually wear a UK 6 / EU 39 and this is the size that fitted me in the Flash 2 Desert.
In terms of comfort I haven’t experienced any rubbing when wearing them, they’re very soft around the ankles and roomy around the foot so there’s no cutting in anywhere at all.
One thing to note is that compared to some other Sole Runner models, the width of the Flash model is slightly narrower. However, I still find there is a lot of room in the toe box and certainly wouldn’t describe them as narrow.
There are a lot of details to note about the Flash 2 Desert that I’ve come across the last couple of months that I’ve been wearing them:
At 2mm I think they have the thinnest soles I’ve come across. However, this means that if you wear them without the insole you really haven’t got any cushioning between your foot and the ground and it’s made me very aware of how much walking I do on hard, flat surfaces.
Sole Runner actually recommend to tread with the midfoot when wearing them as you would do if walking barefoot but it’s something that’s hard to do unless you’re being very mindful of it and feels unnatural to me.
One thing in particular that I like about the design of the sole is how it wraps around the shoe so it actually appears much thicker and suits the overall look of the chunkier mid top style.
I used to always take the sole insoles out of my shoes to get as much ground feel as possible but when I’m doing a lot of concrete walking sometimes I do want a bit of cushioning for comfort.
The insole of the Flash 2 Desert has a tiny cushioned heel to it (of about 3mm), however, I imagine that with the weight of your foot on them that this would pretty much all but disappears as the foam is quite soft. However, I haven’t properly tried this out myself as I’ve kept them out.
One particular design detail that really impressed me but that I didn’t actually notice until I read about it is the attention to the fit of the shoe on the front of the foot (over the bridge or instep). Firstly, the laces are designed in such a way that when pulled tight, the upper lugs pull from the heel to the front of the foot rather than just across the top of the foot (see picture below as I’m not quite sure how to explain it!).
Secondly, the tongue is padded asymmetrically so the vein on the bridge of the foot does not get squashed and it also keeps the tongue from sliding out of place. (To be honest, I wasn’t aware there was a sensitive vein on the top of my foot but I’m going to be looking out for shoes that dig in there now).
Now I know Germans are proud of their engineering (my husband’s German and studied Engineering 😉) but I found it strange that this is what is written in red on the tongue of the shoe… and I quite glad to say that it’s actually covered up by the laces when tied.
To be honest, it’s not very prominent on the Desert colour but would imagine it stands out much more on the Blue/Black colourway.
In terms of the final finish of the shoes, I have three qualms:
Other than this I’ve been very impressed at how they have worn over the last 2 months, especially as I can’t see hardly any sign of wear in the sole at all even though it is so thin.
Heel – (5/5) for a zero drop (note that cushioned heel on the insole might mean you have a tiny heel when this is in)
Sole – (5/5) I’m super impressed at the soles of these shoes. At only 2mm they are the thinnest sole I’ve come across and provide a really good ground feel, they are also incredibly flexible too.
Toe – 4/5 in terms of the width of the toe box then I would give these top marks as there’s ample room for toe spreading. However, the depth of the toe box in quite shallow, which means you don’t have quite the maximum amount of wiggle room up and down.
Upper – (5/5) the lacing system really does hold the shoe well onto my feet and even if I didn’t notice it I like the thought that’s gone into the design of this so that it pulls from the heel around the whole of the foot.
Sole Runner have a number of stores in Germany and Austria (see my barefoot shoe map for exact locations).
There are also a number of stores around Europe that stock Sole Runner otherwise I’m afraid it’s back to online shopping when it comes to buying barefoot shoes.
Sole Runner will deliver worldwide, however, it might be worth checking if you are ordering from outside of Europe on Amazon as you may find cheaper shipping costs and easier returns.
If you are ordering online and have any questions about the size or fit you can get in touch with the Sole Runner team directly (firstname.lastname@example.org or +49(0)8807 2449 889) who are super helpful. Also, do always feel free to ask me any questions below and I’ll help as much as I can.
There’s a lot of thought gone into the design of the Flash 2 Desert to ensure they provide a very barefoot experience. However, I think they’re a little let down but a few final touches which make them appear to be not as well finished… If I had my way I’d get rid of the ‘German Engineering’ on the tongue, sort the silicone film between the sole and the upper and snip that production label right off. Saying that, I’m still a big fan and will be getting a lot more wear out of mine!
Also, if you’re looking for more of a boot but like the look of the style then check out the Transition 2 Desert.
Thank you to Sole Runner from providing a pair of Flash 2 Desert for this review.