There is no question that the barefoot and minimalist running trend has certainly caught fire in the running world. Shoe companies are quick to cater to the interests of the running community, who are quick to fork over the $$$ to support the latest trend. I will say from the outset that I have been skeptical of minimalist running from the beginning. The idea we were born to run this way doesn’t hold much water for me since we weren’t “born” on concrete and pavement! I am more willing to entertain the notion that minimalist running may have more benefits for trail running, but I’m on the fence there as well.
Regardless of my beliefs, one thing is for certain- any new “tool” is worthless without proper training. You wouldn’t get in the cockpit of a plane without flying lessons, so why would you lace up minimalist shoes without understanding how to run differently in them? Now, while I’m not prepared to take the plunge and buy into the trend, momentary as it may be, I am intrigued by the idea of using minimalist shoes for everyday wear. In theory, wearing these shoes has the potential to strengthen my legs by forcing me to use different muscles as I walk throughout the day.
The science is mixed about whether or not minimalist shoes decrease injury or improve running. It also seems clear that foot strike plays as much a role as choice of shoes. However, as with many “tools” of this nature, if it works well for you, then it works. Thus, I’ve been doing some research on the best minimalist shoes to purchase for everyday wear. Ideally, I’ll find a pair that blend in fairly well with my normal wardrobe so my feet don’t stand out anymore than necessary! Based on reviews, I’ve narrowed my choices down to the following shoes. If you have any thoughts or experience with them, I’d certainly love to hear from you!
Brooks Green Silence: these don’t exactly qualify as “blending in” but I’m definitely interested in the design.
Merrell Barefoot Tough Glove: these shoes definitely fit the bill for blending in, and many of the reviews suggest them as excellent shoes for any office environment.
NB Minimus Trail: With material real estate being at a premium as it is, the idea of trail shoes seems reasonable to avoid slipping and sliding on anything more than smooth, dry terrain.
NB Minimus Life: These appear to be the more general use cousin of the Minimus Trail, with similarly strong reviews for everyday use.
NB NewSky: They are made out of recycled water bottles! Need I say more?!
I’ll be sure to keep you posted on my final choice and review them following a thorough testing!