my shoe dilemma? Solved! I was worrying that I run much better in my Vibram FiveFingers shoes but that they're too hard to deal with in transitions. So I decided to go check out the Nike Frees that I've been hearing about. As soon as I put them on, I loved them. Okay, that's a lie. As soon as I SAW them I loved them because they are PURPLE BABY! PURPLE! Purple is my fave-o color and these are way way purple. But aesthetics aside, when I put them on they felt light as a feather and very very flexible, you can literally bend them in half. These are the Nike Free Run version, which is about a 2.9 on their scale (2.0 being the most flexible, most barefoot-like, 9.0 being the least). I bought them on the spot (luckily, a gift certificate to the running store went a long way to offsetting the cost, although they are not expensive in the way that the Newtons are, they're in line with most running shoes price-wise).
One run in these babies and I was SOLD. They're not quite like the barefoot-feeling FiveFingers, but they are as close as you can come in something you don't have to squeeze over each individual toe. Some transition practice confirmed that they are not only simple to get in and out of (no tongue, for one thing), but the way the interior is designed with no decorative stitching means that they are the most comfortable shoe I've encountered for going sockless in. Perfect for the sprint triathlon! I've done everything from track work to an 11-mile hilly trail run in them and these shoes are solid gold. Light, comfortable, bendable, breatheable, and as close to barefoot as you can get in a running shoe.
The only caveat would be that if you're used to standard cushioned running shoes, take it easy getting used to these babies. You may need to build up foot and calf strength to handle a big mileage load.
Now I'm off to stuff my gear in the van, hope everyone has a wonderful weekend. It's racing time!