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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 4)

This is going to be my fourth 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. I’m going to keep each preview short so the overall post isn’t too long.

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

Adidas adiPure Adapt

  • @runblogger (ow.ly/cBNbp) - I’ve had the adidas Adapts since early this year, but will openly admit that I have not run in them very much. My reason is a rather silly one, but it’s one that I think is going to cause a lot of problems for this shoe: it’s really ugly.
  • @minimalistrunnr (ow.ly/cMAlU) - Adidas adipure Adapt is for the select few who are in the advanced stages of the Natural Running routine. Specifications show a 9mm stack height and a 5mm forefoot height for a 4mm heel-to-toe drop.

Adidas adiPure Gazelle

  • @runblogger (ow.ly/cBNbp) - Running Warehouse lists the the adidas Gazelle as a 6.0oz, 6mm drop shoe (stack height = 17mm heel, 11mm forefoot) that would seem to fit squarely in the transitional category.
  • @minimalistrunnr (ow.ly/cMAlU) - Adidas adipure Gazelle is the next step for runners already following a  Natural Running routine. Specifications show a 16mm stack height and a 9mm forefoot height for a 7mm heel-to-toe drop.

Adidas adiPure Motion

  • @runblogger (ow.ly/cBNbp) - According to Running Warehouse, the Motion is a 7.5oz, 8mm drop shoe (stack height = 23mm heel, 15mm forefoot) targeted as a first step toward less shoe. 
  • @minimalistrunnr (ow.ly/cMAlU) - Designed for the runner looking to improve their midfoot running gait, this is the most traditional feeling shoe in the adipure range. But it still accommodates heel strikers and the beveled heel promotes mid-heel strike.j

Altra Zero Drop 3-Sum

  • @minimalistrunnr (ow.ly/cMHto) - With perforated insoles, midsoles, and outsoles, and drain holes for fast water discharge, these shoes never weigh you down. Ion-mask hydrophobic coating helps keep the shoes light, even when they’re wet, and innovative laces and holes help you quickly pull your shoes off and on.

Altra Zero Drop Instinct

  • @vetrunnah (ow.ly/cBO6d) - My first impressions of the Altra Instinct’s was very positive. I am cautiously optimistic that these running shoes are part of the solution for my higher mileage running and will really be interested in seeing how they are at the 100 mile mark.
  • @vetrunnah (ow.ly/cMFlz) - The Instincts still look boxy to me and as I said in my initial review of the Instinct’s, appearances are deceiving! They have a nice quick feel when running in them that promotes landing with more of a forefoot running style. 
  • @Bintherun (ow.ly/cMHcg) - After 79 miles and counting, with about a dozen runs ranging from five to sixteen miles, I’ve developed a keen liking for the Altra. I have worn these shoes at the track as well as the road with great results.

Altra Zero Drop Instinct 1.5

  • @minimalistrunnr (ow.ly/cMHto) - Everything under foot is the same with a slight addition of spring at the toe to provide a faster feel. The upper has been redesigned with a new updated mesh and look.

Altra Zero Drop One

  • @minimalistrunnr (ow.ly/cMHto) - The ONE is a revolutionary lightweight racing shoe. Perfect for road running, The ONE is ready for anything – your next 5K or marathon.

Altra Zero Drop Superior

  • @minimalistrunnr (ow.ly/cMHto) - With a removable StoneGuard™ system and CheckerTrail sticky rubber outsole, The Superior trail shoe gives incredible protection and stability on loose dirt and rocks. A Zero Drop platform, foot-shaped design and 2-layer, A-Bound™ midsole promotes maximum foot relaxation, stability and speed. 

Body Glove 3T

  • @minimalistrunnr (ow.ly/cBQfW) - The Body Glove 3T Barefoot minimalist shoe protects your foot, allows unparalleled dexterity for the toes that can be articulated, provides excellent grip on all surfaces and features their exclusive IDS (Integrated Drainage System) which allows water to drain through the sole and air to circulate when on land keeping your feet cool.

Brooks Pure Grit

  • @runblogger (ow.ly/cMHlf) - As I so often do these days, I swapped in the insole from the Skechers Go Bionic and the fit improved dramatically to the point where the forefoot felt more than spacious enough for my taste, and the arch contour was markedly reduced. With the insole taken care of, the Grits feel awesome on my feet – super comfortable and no squeezing at all.

Columbia Liquifly

  • @minimalistrunnr (ow.ly/cMAw7) - I’m impressed by this super lightweight minimal trail shoe from Columbia. With a drop of 4mm and weighing 6.9 ounces, it has a breathable, water-draining mesh upper with protective synthetic overlays. Lateral and longitudinal flex grooves that allow for natural foot movement.

Leming Footwear Collection

  • @minimalistrunnr (ow.ly/cBT8X) - Barely less than 8 months since Leming Footwear (formerly STEM Footwear) shoes hit the market, they have already sold over 7,000 pairs in over 40 countries. Here’s a sneak peek at 5 new styles for 2013, all built on a new 8mm LEMRubber™ air-infused sole.

Lizard Kross

  • @minimalistrunnr (ow.ly/cBOJd) - Lizard’s Kross shoe is designed as an extension of the body, featuring a lightweight Vibram rubber outsole. The proprietary Kyodo Sole units promote natural barefoot posturing while a self-cleaning, multi-directional tread pattern ensures the best grip on rock, mud and wet surfaces. 

Merrell Barefoot Bare Access

  • @runblogger (ow.ly/cBwXv) - The Bare Access scores big points with me for its fit. It’s one of those shoes that feels as if it were made just for my foot. 

Merrell Mix Master 2

  • @runwiththehouse (ow.ly/cDPc2) - Go fast or faster, go trail or asphalt in the Merrell Mix Master 2 (Men’s) and Merrell Mix Master Glide (Women’s), a nimble shoe that’s trail tough and cushioned enough to handle the roads on the way to the trailhead.
  • @minimalistrunnr (ow.ly/cMHMt) - I did not notice the 4mm drop and it does not affect my running gait. The fact that I still include it in my shoe rotation for trail running is testament to that.

Mizuno Wave Ekiden

  • @runwiththehouse (ow.ly/cBRZg) - The Wave Ekiden comes to the US market for the first time after becoming a favorite among many runners overseas. This racing shoe slots in between the Universe and Ronin models, featuring a 6 mm heel to toe differential and a weight of just 4.6 oz.
  • @runblogger (ow.ly/cDN0u) - I’ve long thought that Mizuno had a big gap in it’s offerings between the Universe and the Ronin/Musha lightweight trainer combo. This gap is soon to be filled by the Mizuno Wave Ekiden.

Mizuno Wave Evo Cursoris

  • @runwiththehouse (ow.ly/cBAYA) - What to Watch For: Zero drop (18mm stack height as measured by Running Warehouse), 7.5 oz (Men’s) 6.2 oz (Women’s), Wider forefoot base to accommodate toe splay, Forefoot Wave technology to provide added spring on toe-off
  • @runblogger (ow.ly/cBK0e) - I’m pleased to see Mizuno increasing it’s variety of offerings at the more minimal end of the shoe scale. I was recently invited to join the Mizuno Mezamashii Project and this included a pair of free shoes, and the only shoe in the current catalogue that matches my tastes is the Wave Universe (though it’s a great one!).

Mizuno Wave Evo Levitas

  • @runwiththehouse (ow.ly/cBAYA) - What to Watch For: Zero drop (15mm stack height as measured by Running Warehouse), 6.5 oz (Men’s) 5.2 oz (Women’s), Wide forefoot with narrower midfoot to maintain low weight, Forefoot Wave technology to provide added spring on toe-off.
  • @runblogger (ow.ly/cBK0e) - I’ve run in both the Ronin and Musha and though they are both solid choices in the transitional lightweight trainer/racer category, I find them a bit too much shoe for my taste. Had either the Levitas or Cursoris been available I would have jumped on them right away!

Montrail FluidFlex

  • @runwiththehouse (ow.ly/cBMKv) - Wouldn’t it be nice to tie on a trail shoe that gives you a connected feel for the ground but also offers a good amount of protection from trail hazards and a bit of cushioning to keep you comfortable mile after mile? That’s the exact design spec for the new Montrail FluidFlex.

New Balance Minimus 80 Multisport

  • @minimalistrunnr (ow.ly/cMFsm) - The Minimus 80 Multisport is a barefoot-inspired multi-sport shoe designed for the athlete who needs enough cushioning underfoot to endure a full day of adventure in the outdoors. The Minimus 80 with a 4mm drop will launch in January 2013.

New Balance Minimus MR10v2

  • @minimalistrunnr (ow.ly/cMFsm)The Minimus 10v2 retains the 4mm drop and is designed for road runner but changes include the addition of a Vibram designed outsole and a modified upper, bringing the Minimus 10v2 more closely in-line with other shoes in the Minimus collection. Available March 2013.

New Balance Minimus MT10v2

  • @minimalistrunnr (ow.ly/cMFsm) - Updates to the Minimus 10v2 Trail are minimal, addressing specific areas of concern. The first of those was a change to the forefoot band with a more traditional synthetic replacing a less forgiving rubber, enabling the band to provide necessary support without completely restricting the foot.

New Balance Minimus MX20v2

  • @minimalistrunnr (ow.ly/cMFsm)The 4mm drop Minimus 20v3 Training shoe is ideal for cross-functional workouts like Cross Fit. It offers a low profile, stable REVlite platform, with reduced midsole/outsole heights in the heel (12mm), to enhance an athlete’s ground feel and to allow for optimum power generation during a workout. 

New Balance RC5000

  • @runglogger  (ow.ly/cBwpm) - I was pleasantly surprised by how it fit – plenty of room up in the toebox, reasonably comparable to the Mizuno Universe in this regard. The sole felt distinctly softer than that of the Mizunos.

Nike Free 4.0 v2

  • @vetrunnah (ow.ly/cDPqM) - However, if you are primarily a paved surface runner, who doesn’t mind picking a few small rocks out the soles of your shoe every so often or run on a treadmill, the Nike Free 4.0 v2 is a great shoe. It is extremely comfortable, good-looking, light, is a “fast” shoe and I recommend it highly. 

Puma evoSPEED Collection

  • @minaimalistrunnr (ow.ly/cBLRT) - Designed under the criteria of “light, flex, and fit”, all evoSPEED footwear features lightweight materials, increased flexibility and an optimized fit that enables a greater freedom of movement without compromising support, to enhance speed.

Puma evoSPEED Runner

  • @minaimalistrunnr (ow.ly/cMI35) - The shoe looks bulky on the outside but putting it on and being sockless, the evoSPEED Runner is super comfortable! And it has a wide toe box to boot. On asphalt and concrete, it is a great training shoe and especially for long distances. 

Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra

  • I will be buying this shoe! I love the black and red. I already love the heck out of my Sense that I have right now.
  • @minaimalistrunnr (ow.ly/cMF2V) - Pricing is much better than the original $200 for the Sense. It has the company’s new EndoFit technology for precision fit and ProFeel Film for forefront rock protection.

Salomon Sense Mantra

  • @minaimalistrunnr (ow.ly/cMF2V) - With a 6-millimeter drop, It has the company’s new EndoFit technology for precision fit and ProFeel Film for forefront rock protection.

Saucony Hattori LC

  • @Runblogger (ow.ly/cMGzD) - Let me start by saying that the shoes feel fantastic on my feet, one of the most comfortable shoes I have worn. This alone makes them a keeper for me.

Saucony Kinvara 2

  • @bdayshoes (ow.ly/cBKGi) - Overall I’d give the Saucony Kinvara 2 high marks and definitely would be interested in owning another pair. Do to the lack of toe room in the pair I have I’d probably limit how far I’d run in them.

Saucony Kinvara TR

  • I bought a pair of these. I like them with my VIVOBAREFOOT insoles. It gives the shoe enough width and room for me. We’ll see  how they stack up against the Mix Master and the Salomon S-Lab Sense.
  • @Runblogger (ow.ly/cBPE4) - I have a pair of Kinvara trails on order from RW that should arrive within the next few days, and I’ll try to get a first impressions post up later this week.
  • @Runblogger (ow.ly/cDO7u) - This morning I took out a few shoes to compare it too, and shot a few side-by-side photos. The comparisons are between the Kinvara TR, Kinvara 3, Brooks Pure Grit, and Merrell Mix Master 2.

Skechers GO Race

  • @Runblogger (ow.ly/cDQdw) - I was lucky enough last week to receive a wear test pair of Meb’s Go Race, and have run a 12 miler and a 7 miler in them. Feels great, kind of like a lower drop, better fitting (at least on my feet) version of the Adidas Adios 2, which will surely be a shoe on the feet of many of Meb’s competitors in London.

Skora Core

  • @minaimalistrunnr (ow.ly/cMGrM) - SKORA CORE features a perforated Pittards® Armor-Tan® Goatskin leather upper, a combination lining with WR100X® leather and antibacterial Agion mesh, and an asymmetric lacing system. With a unibody IBR outsole, CORE offers incredibly supple road feel, and superior anatomical fit.

Skora Phase

  • @minaimalistrunnr (ow.ly/cMGrM)SKORA PHASE is constructed using the latest lamination techniques, with a minimal single-layer mesh upper and laminated reflective details. With an asymmetric lacing system, and a unique unibody IBR outsole, PHASE provides barely-there performance and lightweight responsiveness. 

Tune Ornament Loafer

  • @bdayshoes (ow.ly/cMABA) - Personally, I am incredibly excited that Tune is bringing these loafers to market. There is a gaping hole in the minimalist dress shoe market and I think Mike’s products here could be just what we need to restore comfortable feet to the (often stuffy) workplace! I think Mike has his ducks in a row in how he’s approached the design of the Trues and, really, just looking at them I have to say they look incredibly comfortable.

Vibram FiveFingers Alitza

  • @bdayshoes (ow.ly/cMFUv)Built for today’s active lifestyle, the Alitza is a cool, casual crossover, providing a fashionable look for everyday urban activities. The transparent mesh upper is soft and comfortable against the skin, while the elastic straps ranging across the instep enhance style, comfort and fit during fitness activities.

Vibram FiveFingers EI-X

  • @bdayshoes (ow.ly/cMFUv) - The EL-X is a thin, breathable and lightweight shoe perfect for low impact and light fitness activities. Our 3mm TC-1 rubber outsole provides slip resistance and great ground feedback while the EVA insole provides plating protection and comfort.

Vibram FiveFingers Entrada

  • @bdayshoes (ow.ly/cMFUv)A sleek take on our original classic, the Entrada is the perfect choice for those seeking a minimalist option. Built for light fitness activities and casual use, this shoe uses an intricately designed 3.5mm TC-1 rubber outsole.

Vibram FiveFingers Maiori

  • @bdayshoes (ow.ly/cMFUv) - The Maiori is an update to our popular water sports model, the Flow. Suited for more intense water activities and with added ankle protection, the Maiori performs in the toughest water sports environments.

Vibram FiveFingers Signa

  • @bdayshoes (ow.ly/cMFUv) - Whether kayaking, surfing, paddle boarding or simply walking the rocky shores all summer, the FiveFingers Signa is the shoe for you. The segmented Coral outsole made of Vibram performance rubber ensures ultimate grip and protection in the water and allows natural foot flexion when swimming.

Vibram FiveFingers Sorrento

  • @bdayshoes (ow.ly/cMFUv) - Great for traveling, light walking or casual wear, the Sorrento is an ideal choice for the FiveFingers® enthusiast who wants to enjoy a barefoot experience while relaxing. The leather upper is perforated for breathability and has an elastic gore at the topline for a secure fit.

Vibram FiveFingers Treksport Sandal

  • @bdayshoes (ow.ly/cMFUv) - Breathable but protective, the TrekSport Sandal is the perfect shoe for your weekend excursion. The lightly cleated 4mm Trek outsole made with Vibram TC-1 Dura rubber delivers increased traction on a variety of surfaces.

VIVOBAREFOOT Aqua Lite

  • @bdayshoes (ow.ly/cDNkZ) - Overall, if you’re after a good-looking shoe that has everyday versatility, top-notch ground feel, and allows you to preserve your natural bio-mechanics, posture, and “barefoot” movement, the Vivo Barefoot Aqua Lite is worth your serious consideration. My only gripe with it is that I wish it had a more svelte interior; however, this is a gripe that comes with having tested a hundred plus minimalist shoes and is in no way a dealbreaker.

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?

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