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I am Alex Bridgeforth. A 1st Lieutenant in the United States Army. I am addicted to running. I share running in my world; shoe, nutrition, training, and book reviews are just the beginning. Enter your email to keep up. It's free.

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Shoe Review Round-Up (Issue 5)

This is going to be my fifth shoe review round-up. I love re-posting and sharing reviews of shoes to get new shoes out and let people know about the minimal shoe market.

Just click on shoe to read a preview, then click the title to be linked to full article.

Comment: What’s your favorite out of this bunch?

If you like the post; like or reblog it on Tumblr, pass it around on Facebook, or Tweet it on Twitter.

Also, if you have any questions about running, supplements or training please ask away.

Shoe Review Round-Up (Issue 3)

This is going to be my third shoe review round-up. I love reposting and sharing reviews of shoes to get new shoes out and let people know about the minmal shoe market. This post has been a long time coming.

Comment: What’s your favorite out of this bunch?

Adidas Adizero Takumi Sen

  • @runwiththehouse (bit.ly/LDPUMQ) - We get a lot of great stuff from Japan. Well-built cars, anime, bonsai trees, origami, sushi, Hello Kitty. OK, maybe not that last one. But add to the list the Adidas Adizero Takumi Sen, a premier racing flat for the Japanese market that is coming to the U.S. after selling more than 60,000 pairs in the land of the rising sun.

Altra Zero Drop Lone Peak

  • @runwiththehouse (bit.ly/MPXfwv) - For us, the zero drop design was easier to adjust to on the trail, since you naturally spend more time up on the front of your foot as you navigate trail hazards and change direction more frequently. Testers liked the balance of cushioning and ground feel offered in the Lone Peak. Even with a stone guard in the forefoot, the shoe remains very nimble and gives feedback about the trail surface underfoot. More than one tester noted that in spite of lugs that don’t look like much, the traction of the shoe is impressive over rocks, roots and other debris.

Altra Zero Drop Provision

  • @bdayshoes (bit.ly/MJxAjA) - In short this is probably the most comfortable road shoe I’ve ever worn in my 20+ years of running; even better than my previous favorite the Altra Instinct! For an ultra-shuffler like me this was enough shoe to get through 41.2 hilly, hot asphalt miles but not too much shoe. If I had to choose between the Provision and Instinct I’d lean a bit towards the Provision because the upper is a bit more secure for off-road running and I really like the slightly firmer midsole. But you can’t really go wrong either way.

Brooks Pure Connect 2

  • @runwiththehouse (bit.ly/MWHeU0) - The PureConnect 2 carries over the midsole and outsole of the original PureConnect, with a new upper featuring asymmetrical lacing. Note the open mesh design and lacing similar to the Green Silence.

Brooks Pure Drift

  • @runblogger (bit.ly/NbG9Il) - The Pure Drift is a new addition to the Pure-Project lineup and it features a removable 4mm drop insole, which when removed makes this a zero drop shoe. I’ve long wondered why shoe companies have not attempted to build “transitionability” (is that a word???) into a single shoe through a removable insole, so kudos to Brooks for taking the step.
  • @runwiththehouse (bit.ly/OvmnsM) - The PureDrift is an entirely new shoe to the PureProject line. It’s lowest to the ground and lightest, with Men’s designed to weigh 5.6 oz (size 9) and Women’s 5.1 oz (size 8). A removable sockliner drops the shoe from its standard 4mm offset to a 0mm offset, giving just a bit of padding between your foot and the ground.

Brooks Pure Flow 2

  • @runwiththehouse (bit.ly/MWGr5q) - The PureFlow 2 carries over the midsole and outsole of the original PureFlow, with a new upper featuring asymmetrical lacing. The Nav Band has been tightened from the prior model.

Brooks Pure Grit 2

  • @runwiththehouse (bit.ly/MBcatw) - The PureGrit 2 carries over the midsole of the original PureGrit, but receives a more aggressive outsole along with its new upper. Brooks added a midfoot wrap to minimize lateral motion.

Cushe Grin

  • @minimalistrunnr (bit.ly/LDO6n0) - Bare Motion is a new technology Cushe have been developing and at its core is a dual density rubber outsole comprising of a two piece construction and unique Manuka honeycomb flex structure allowing for natural movement, balance and sensitivity without loss of protection.

Fila Skele-Toes

  • @RoctheRun (bit.ly/LDNMVj) - Toe shoes allow for the foot to spread and work as it was designed to do. It gives you the barefoot feel, and the forefoot strike that many people believe will help eliminate injury. The price was perfect. The fit was great. All the design leads me to believe this shoe will hold up overtime.
Fila Skeletoe Wave
  • @RoctheRun (bit.ly/LDPJAZ) - Fila has done an amazing job here. One thing you cannot do with water shoes and sandles in grip when you walk. This spring we went rafting and I had on my skeletoes. At one point we got out to hike up to a waterfall and people were slipping all over the wet rocks in sneakers. My brother in law looked down and said the following “dude, I can actually see your toes gripping the rocks in those friggin things”.

Hoka Stinson Evo

  • @bikernate (bit.ly/RvFsdo) - After doing several shorter (10-15) mile runs I decided to give them a test.  After running 10 miles in the morning I worked all day, came home and ate supper, had a few drinks, played cards with Amy, and then went out into the night and ran 30 miles of pavement.  Besides a very minor pinky toe blister, they were awesome. For the last two weeks I have only done one run in any other shoes (got a pair of the Salomon S-Lab Senses - HAD to try them for a 20 mile run).  I wore them this last weekend for a 7 hour 26 mile mountain/trail run with no problems.  I have even hiked in them and found them to be a great hiking shoe.

Invisible Shoes Connect

  • @bdayshoes (bit.ly/PrLlLF) - The Connect is billed as being the closest thing to barefoot but with protection. Basically, the Connect gives you the most ground feel. How much ground feel? Well, it’s going to be similar to other 4mm rubber outsole shoes — like the Classic or Sprint FiveFingers. That means that a misplaced step on a stone (or Lego) is going to be impossible to miss. Textures shine through the rubber sole (walking on grass vs. concrete vs. a rug). The Connects definitely keep you grounded.

Inov-8 Roclite 243

  • @runwiththehouse (bit.ly/LDMwS0) - This model is an update to the Roclite 285. As the name suggests, this performance trail shoe gets lighter by almost half an ounce, and it also lowers down to a 3mm offset.

Inov-8 Trailroc 150

  • @runwiththehouse (bit.ly/LDMwS0) - For the most barefoot-like experience in the Trailroc series, the 150 offers lightweight, minimalist performance with a low-profile, zero-drop platform. The shoe is supremely flexible with an estimated weight of just 5.3 oz.

Inov-8 Trailroc 226

  • @runwiththehouse (bit.ly/LDMwS0) - The 226 (Women’s version of the 235) is a zero offset design that, like all Trailroc models, offers three sticky rubber compounds of various hardness for optimal wear and grip.

Inov-8 Trailroc 236

  • @runwiththehouse (bit.ly/LDMwS0) - Suitable for trail racing or training, the 236 is the Women’s version of the 245. Its 1 arrow Shoc-Zone gives the shoe a 3mm offset.

Inov-8 Trailroc 246

  • @runwiththehouse (bit.ly/LDMwS0) - This is the Women’s version of the 255, offering the most cushioning and protection in the Trailroc range with a 6mm offset, along with max grip on loose or dry trails.

La Sportiva Vertical K

  • @minimalistrunnr (bit.ly/LAJ8qh) - It is bulkier when compared to most non-technical trail shoes but you don’t feel it when running in them. The shoe just look deceptively bulky as the side of the shoe looks like an extension of a thick outsole – it is NOT and the stack height for the Vertical K is only 21mm with a forefoot height of 17mm – moderate for a technical trail shoe.

Merrell Barefoot Bare Access 2

  • @runblogger (bit.ly/M8aOTU) - Additionally, Merrell Barefoot gets a major update with heightened ground feel and a new upper design for running and fitness. Bare Access also gets a design update with greater ground connection and upper design but maintains a minimally cushioned ride with eight millimeters of M Bound™ cushioning throughout.
  • @runwiththehouse (bit.ly/RuIsGY) - A road-focused shoe, the Bare Access 2 adds a bit more material underfoot (15mm stack height front and back, compared to 13mm in the original version) and moves to an all-Vibram outsole, replacing the Vibram pods used on the first Bare Access. Overlays on the upper have been reduced as well. The Bare Access Arc 2, the Women’s model, also receives these updates.

Merrell Barefoot Road Glove 2

  • @runwiththehouse (bit.ly/RuIsGY) - The Road Glove 2 remains low and level, with just an 11mm stack height front and rear. With a fresh look from top to bottom, the Road Glove 2 (and Road Glove Dash 2 – the update to the Women’s Dash Glove) carries forward the Road Glove’s most popular features such as Vibram outsole and rearfoot sling while transitioning to a synthetic upper with minimal overlays.
  • @runblogger (bit.ly/M8aOTU) - M-­Connect Series includes four collections that are designed to enable ground connection but are built on different platforms based on activity – from Barefoot and Bare Access to Multi-­Run with Mix Master and Multi-Hike with Proterra.

Merrell Barefoot Vapor Glove

  • @runwiththehouse (bit.ly/RuIsGY) - Available in both Men’s and Women’s models, the Vapor Glove is Merrell’s most minimal running shoe, with just a 6mm stack height front and back. It doesn’t get more minimal than this, folks. You still get a Vibram rubber outsole, durable mesh upper and external TPU heel support.
  • @runblogger - (bit.ly/MaTWNu) - I asked for a bit more detail from my contact at Merrell, and was told that weight will come in a 5oz, and the sole has 2mm of EVA cushion plus a 4mm outsole. For comparative purposes, the Road Glove has 4mm of EVA, and the Bare Access has 8mm. Thus, this shoe will be the most minimal in the Merrell Barefoot collection.

Merrell Mix Master Glide

  • @runwiththehouse (bit.ly/MVG89a) - Women who are into trail running have an exciting new shoe to consider from Merrell this summer. The Mix Master Glide is the Women’s version of the road/trail hybrid Mix Master 2 shoe.

Merrell Mix Master Tuff

  • @runwiththehouse (bit.ly/RuIsGY) - Designed for the toughest conditions you’ll encounter on the trail, the Mix Master Tuff is a beefed up version of the Men’s Mix Master 2, with additional overlays and a gusseted tongue up top along with a shock absorption plate and more aggressive lug pattern for the platform.

New Balance Minimus MT10 Leather

  • @bdayshoes (bit.ly/MqLXyr) - Most obviously, these leather MT10s are made with leather uppers instead of mesh. In the case of the grey leather MT10s, the leather is a supple and smooth cowhide. It seems to wear well in the weeks I’ve been wearing them as everyday shoes. More on that later.

New Balance Minimus MT1010 Amp

  • @bikernate (bit.ly/MPWvY ) - Once running in them I immediately could feel the extra cushioning.  They still very much feel like a “barefoot” shoe and are extremely flexible, but they have a nice level of softness that is much more forgiving on my feet than a 110 or MT00, etc.  I would describe them as half as cushy as a Brooks Pure Grit and twice as cushy as the 110’s.  They are right between the two.
  • @mgbarefootguy (bit.ly/LDPkPc) - Overall, I find the Amp a useful addition to my shoe armada. Though it isn’t a true minimal shoe, it is a straight up comfortable trail shoe. The fact that it beefed up some minimal features went mostly unnoticed by me. New Balance did this in an artful way that seems to enhance the shoe rather than make it unnecessarily bulky.  I think it will impress new mininimalists and seasoned ones alike.  That’s a job well done by New Balance in my opinion.

New Balance Minimus MT20v2

  • @minimalistrunnr (bit.ly/PeLiin) - New Balance also launched a modified version of their Minimus Trail 20 running shoes – the MT20v2 and WT20v2. Still 4mm drop but much lighter and less cushion. Sort of a cross between MT110 and MT20. I wear tested this last year as part of the New Balance Wear Tester program and cannot write about it or keep the prototype.

New Balance RC5000

  • @RunWithTheHouse (bit.ly/LDOsKt) - The RC5000 is a feather-light racing flat tipping the scales at just about 3 ounces in both Men’s and Women’s models. Testers found the shoe to deliver excellent performance in both track and road settings. The RC5000′s super light feel gives it plenty of get up and go, and it provides enough cushioning for harder surfaces without adding a weight penalty.

Nike Free 3.0 v4

  • @minimalistrunnr (bit.ly/NtQg9w) - I highly recommend the Free 3.0 V4 over the Free Run +3 for those starting to transition to minimalist running shoes. Or those who are already in Free Run +2 or +3, move to the Free 3.0 V4. If you choose to stay with the Nike Free line, I’m pretty sure Nike will release a zero drop or closer to barefoot version (Free 1.0 or Free 2.0) in the not too distant future.

Nike Free Run+3

  • @vetrunnah (bit.ly/MPUScY) - If that is the case then it might be better to have a little more cushioning in the heel, as I continue to increase my mileage in anticipation of training for a marathon. I know that this line of reasoning is blasphemy to the lower drop and proper form crowd, but as much as I might work on my form, it seems as though I still tend to land on my heels.
  • @vetrunnah (bit.ly/LDNBtd) - The biggest thing that I really noticed about these shoes (much the same as the Free 4.0’s) is that I run quietly in them. I do not hear myself pounding my heels into the pavement and there is no slap when I transition to the lift-off phase. It is a smooth transition, even going uphill, which hasn’t been the case for other shoes I have run in this year.

Nike Free 4.0 v2

  • @vetrunnah (bit.ly/LhvhIK) - The Nike Free 4.0 have had the best start of any shoe I have EVER owned. I haven’t had to modify them in any way, no surgery to make them fit my feet, no messing around with the lacing or other things to get my running shoes to me correctly.
  • @vetrunnah (bit.ly/LDNnCi) - It has been a very long time since I have been excited by how a running shoe fits and performs for me on just about every kind of run (except trails – these are definitely road shoes) that I have thrown at it. They have fit since the first time I put them on and truly proved how great they were the second run I did in them. A 13.1 mile run with the last 5.0 miles done in the pouring rain with no blisters. That was when I started to believe that I had something special.


ON Running Cloudracer

  • @minimalistrunnr (bit.ly/NbYPDR) - Comparing the [Newton] MV2 to the Cloudracer, I prefer the fit (MV2 is way too narrow on the forefoot) and technology (hard to adjust to the MV2 lugs) of the Cloudracer – I did NOT get injured running in them. The Cloudracer is bulkier and if they can shave off 3 ounces from the midsole and outsole by making it thinner and more flexible, this can be a favorite racing shoe for a lot of runners.

Saucony Kinvara 3

  • @RunWithTheHouse (bit.ly/MBQAnJ) - So how does one of the most buzz-worthy shoes of 2012 measure up on the road? Our testers say that the Kinvara 3’s updates make for an even more intuitive, natural-feeling ride. And that’s saying something, given how many runners felt right at home in prior versions of this light and fast shoe.
  • @Runblogger (bit.ly/MUEqqd) - The most notable update in the Kinvara 3 is that the forefoot feels just a tad roomier than in previous versions. I went back and forth on whether the sensation was real or not, then finally just decided to ask Saucony if they had made any changes up front. I was told that forefoot width is the same, but that they increased the volume of the upper in the forefoot just a tad.

Saucony Peregrine 3

  • @RunWithTheHouse (bit.ly/NJkW4q) - A versatile, durable trail shoe, the Peregrine series is lighter than traditional trail models, with a protective upper, flexible midsole, and grippy lugs. The Peregrine 3 introduces a new upper only, meaning that the platform with its cushioned midsole and protective rock plate remains unchanged.

Saucony Virrata

  • @RunWithTheHouse - The brand-new Virrata’s name may be difficult to say at first (it’s pronounced vur-ah-tah), but here are three things about it that are perfectly clear: (1) zero offset, (2) extremely light, (3) highly flexible. We got a chance to run a few laps in a pre-production model, and let’s just say that this shoe is set to offer the smooth ride and barely there feel that many runners crave.

Skechers GO Run Ride

  • @bdayshoes(bit.ly/N1rlw9) - If I had to compare the Skechers GO Run Ride™ to another shoe of my recent experience, I’d say it’s very much like the marriage between the Saucony Kinvara2™ and the Nike Free™. It’s like the Kinvara2 in terms of low heel-to-toe drop (4mm), feel of the cushioning and the soft sock-liner interior of the upper and like the Nike Free because it’s crazy flexible. The biggest difference between the Kinvara2 and the GO Run Ride is that the GO Run Ride has significantly more toe room than the Kinvara2 because of the use of a more anatomical last.

Under Armour Charge RC Storm

  • @minimalistrunnr (bit.ly/LaaWa7) - If you like the original Charge RC or is comfortable running in it, then adding the Charge RC Storm to your trail running is a no brainer. Obviously the original Charge RC works well for non-technical trails but what I found is that the Storm has better traction on slippery trails and being water resistant when it is drizzling – common weather pattern in Northern California. The added water-resistant finish did not affect the breathability on warm days.

Vibram FiveFingers Capri

  • @bdayshoes (bit.ly/LDNGgh) - The model “Capri” is the ideal choice for who loves spending time outdoors: the top quality upper in full grain leather, the holes located on the fingers to enhance breathability, the full leather lining and the classic lacing system for easy fit, makes these shoes make the indispensable ally when the mercury rises considerably.

Vibram FiveFingers SeeYa LS

  • @bdayshoes (bit.ly/M1Bh4) - the SeeYa model is incredibly lightweight due to a minimal rubber and polyurethane sole (rubber at points of high contact and polyurethane on the arch). They’re extremely breathable and pretty comfortable as just knockaround or general fitness toe shoes.


Vibram FiveFingers Spyridon

  • @bdayshoes (bit.ly/LDpcnA) - The Spyridon offers the same great trail running experience as the Spyridon LS providing the perfect balance of “foot feel” and protection on rugged terrain. With Vibram’s 3D Cocoon technology, the Spyridon has a multidirectional sole, which allows for impact protection from stones and debris with minimal weight. The Coconut Active Carbon upper breathes naturally using 34% post industrial coconut fiber. It is finished off with an adjustable hook-and-loop closure ensuring a secure fit and reflective applications for safety after dark.

Comment: What’s your favorite out of this bunch?

If you like the post; like or reblog it on Tumblr, pass it around on Facebook, or Tweet it on Twitter.

Also, if you have any questions about running, supplements or training please ask away.

Too Many Running Shoes (A recap of the last 8 shoes I’ve bought)

This is going to be a quick run down of the last eight pairs I’ve bought (a few that I’ve returned).

(From Left to Right)

1. New Balance Minimus MT20

I originally purchased this shoe soon after moving to Augusta, GA. It was at Finish Line in the Mall. I loved the older version, MT10. I recently retired the MT10 after 500 miles. My only issue with the MT20 is that New Balance Changed the forefoot strap from the plastic in the MT10 to the material on the rest of the upper and it made the forefoot much tighter. I use it a casual shoe every now and a again but I plan to give to it one of my younger brothers or to one of the members on their cross country team.

2. Merrell Barefoot Sonic Glove

I love this shoe. It is the perfect winterized version of the Merrell Trail Glove. Right now I do 100% of my trail runs in the Sonic Glove. I actually bought this shoe from GB Shoes, just a run of the mill, shoe department store. It is a zero drop shoe with a neoprene upper that protect the foot from sand and rocks. The only issue is that it is a bit too minimal for technical trail races and longer races, but for all other trails they will work perfect.

3. VIVO BAREFOOT Neo

I purchased this on LeftLaneSports.com for about 50% off. I had to send back the first pair and exchange it because I got one size too big. Now that I have the right size they are my shoe for everything but trails and long road races. I have done a marathon in them and my feet didn’t like me that much. I use them for Crossfit Training and at Army Physical Training. Even though they are a little bit more expensive than a normal running shoe they definitely feel like they will be lasting well into the future. 

4. Saucony Kinvara 2

I bought these at Sports Authority on a whim after my first marathon. I wanted a cushioned road shoe because my feet were destroyed on my first marathon wearing the VIVO BAREFOOT Neo. The Kinvara felt good at the store but after taking them for a few quick runs up and down the hall way I knew they were too narrow. This was actually the reason I hadn’t bought them before. So I took them back, still in search of a good, long distance road shoe.

5. New Balance MT110

I bought these to replace the New Balance MT101 (They have too much a heel-toe drop for my liking). The fiasco of the MT110. I wanted these shoes so bad, maybe my expectations were a bit too high. They didn’t work for me at all. Even after taking them on a couple of trail runs it felt like the outside bottom side of my foot was broke. Take a look at my review for a more detailed explanation of why I have returned these shoes.

6. Merrell Mix Master

I think I may have finally found my replacement for the New Balance MT101. These have a 4mm Heel-Toe drop and have a rock plate for protection. I bought these at GB shoes. I haven’t taken them out that much because I haven’t had a need to get used to them for a long trail race. I still use the Sonic Glove as my main trail shoe. 

7. Altra Instinct

I’ve wanted these forever. A cushioned, zero-drop road shoe. This past weekend a co-worker and I drove over to Atlanta for some shopping. I saw that New Sole Running carried them. I’ve wanted to try these on before I went through the online ordering to make sure I’d get the right size the first time. I really loved them so much at the store that I bought them there. I haven’t done one run in them yet because I’m tapering for my 2nd Half Marathon coming up on Sunday. I’ve walked around them a bunch and can’t wait to take them out for a spin.

8. Invisible Shoe Connect

I finally have my own Huaraches. Two of my younger brothers already have their own, both run in them, and the younger of the two has run cross country races in them. I can’t wait to try running in them outside my hotel building. I’ve only walked around in them. It was fairly simple to get them laced up. They honestly feel like an opeen Five Finger shoe. Also, they only cost $25.

Even with all my shoe buying (my fiance still loves me), I am looking forward to the release of several other shoes; Saucony Kinvara TR and Salomon S-Lab Sense U.

If you like the post; like or reblog it on Tumblr, pass it around on Facebook, or  it on Twitter.

Also, if you have any questions about running, supplements or training please ask away.

Saucony - Geometry of Strong

(via @runblogger from runblogger.com)

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