Minimal Shoes on the Horizon

I recently wrote about how much I’ve been enjoying my Saucony Kinvara.  I have been running a lot faster with ease lately while wearing them.  I’m not silly enough to think that switching shoes magically made that happen (years of conditioning might help too?) but I truly think they are helping me run more efficiently and dropping some extra shoe weight makes the practice feel better.

I’m really intrigued by the minimalism movement and I just wanted to spotlight a few of the minimal shoes that are going to be hitting the market soon.

New Balance Minimus
NB Minimus Trail - MT10GY

The Minimus lineup includes a road running, trail running and a lifestyle shoe.  They have a 4mm drop heel-to-toe drop.  The toebox on these shoes is made a little wider, to promote the natural expansion the foot does on ground impact.  The shoe has no insoles and the whole thing is designed to promote a midfoot strike.  The soles are made by the godfather of minimal running shoes, Vibram.  The official specs say it is 6 oz. or 50% lighter than a traditional shoe.  I’m assuming that is probably for a men’s shoe, since my regular shoes aren’t 12 full ounces!  These shoes are scheduled for a March release and I know my local Fleet Feet store will be getting them in store so I can try them on (and probably pick up a pair).

Somnio Nada

The Nada is an ultra-lightweight, 3.5 ounce shoe that comes in a minimalist running starter kit designed to increase foot strength, improve posture an alignment, increase running efficiency and reduce injury.  A DVD developed by Phil Wharton, a musculoskeletal therapist & stretching guru, on transitioning safely to minimal running is included with each pair of these shoes.  It has a zero heel drop and can be worn by runners, walkers or anyone who wants to wear minimal shoes in their life.  The shoe retails at $80 and will be out in March or April.  I don’t know of any local running stores that sell this one, so don’t know if I’ll get a chance to try it on.

Saucony Hattori

Saucony Hattori
Image courtesy Running Warehouse (obviously!)

The Hattori is an interesting zero drop shoe that doesn’t have laces, it’s secured by a velcro strap system.  The men’s shoe weighs in at 4.5 ounces so I’m assuming the women’s shoe will be even lighter.  There is a surprising lack of info about this shoe directly on the Saucony site… but there is plenty of rumbling about this shoe on various blogs & forums.  However, most have the same info… it’s lightweight, flexible, will be about $80 and should be available by the summer of 2011.  I guess I’ll just have to wait and see what the word is on this one as it gets closer.  I applied to be a wear tester and was told no because I need to be a solid size 8. (I should have just said I was, since all of my running shoes are an 8 now!)

I’m excited to see all these new options.  I have a pair of Vibram Five Fingers and well… I haven’t done much running in them.  I find them kind of hard to put on and if I wear them too long, my pinky toes ache really badly.  I think it’s purely because it’s strengthening the weak, under-used muscles… but it’s a challenge. But once I have them on, I really like taking #JadeTheBoxer for walks while wearing them.


    • Jessica: Yes, minimal shoes can be used for long runs, but not right out of the gates. You have to condition your joints, muscles, ligaments, etc. to run in minimal styles. Most people need to adapt to minimalism over time, starting with shorter runs & building up over time… Kind of like starting to run!

  1. Cool post, I really like getting an idea of what’s going to be on the market. I have to say, though, the Hattoris remind me a lot of aqua socks. I don’t know how I would feel wearing them…sort of like I should be walking into the ocean?

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