Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Barefoot and/or Minimalist Running Shoes

After reading "the book" aka Born to Run, I was motivated to start running in minimalist running shoes. Growing up in San Francisco we learned that it was dangerous to walk barefoot in parks or even on the beach because of the possibility of stepping on a used syringe. Therefore, running barefoot around the city has been ruled out. Living and running in San Francisco, I have seen many people people wearing the Vibram Five Finger KSO shoes. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately for me) most stores in SF are sold out of them. I went to REI to try them on they only had the Five Finger Classics. The toe or finger part felt kind of funny but to give Vibram the benefit of the doubt I did not run in them and did not wear them for a long period of time. Before that day, the Vibram Five Fingers were the only true minimalist or barefoot running shoes I could find... until I stumbled across the TERRA PLANA WEBSITE and learned about the introduction of a barefoot running shoe to their line of barefoot or minimalist...  "hanging out?" shoes, the VIVO BAREFOOT "EVO'S". I signed up for their email list to be notified when they released the shoe and two weeks later I received the message and placed the order.
After my first run in them and as I am writing this post, I am sitting here wearing my VIVO BAREFOOT "EVO" Running Shoes by TERRA PLANA. Although the price tag is a little hefty, ($160) these are some awesome shoes by a company that "gets" the benefits of running, walking and being barefoot. They also seem to "get" the environmental thing especially with some of their other, "hanging out" shoes. From the ground up, the Vivo Barefoot EVO's consist of a 4 mm thick sole which is made up of a TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) abrasion resistant outer sole, a layer of Duratex that is puncture resistant, and a Agion layer inside which is an environmentally and physically friendly odor, bacteria and fungus stopper. The lining of the shoe is made with NatureTex which 50% of is made from recycled plastic bottles. The top of the shoe is made of a light weight mesh material, you can actually see your foot in the shoe. The shoe weighs 8 ounces.

Running in the Vivo Barefoot Evo's was comfortable and extremely close to being barefoot. I ran 5 miles in them and the one problem I had was at the very end of the run the top of one of my toes started to get a little irritated. I suspect this will go away after another run or two. I ran on asphalt and a trail/walking path and the shoes responded great to both terrain types. A portion of the trail was a little more rocky and the shoes were still comfortable. I would anticipate that Evo's would handle great on a more technical trail as well. The icing on the cake... these shoes look infinitely cooler than the Vibram Five Fingers (not that it really matters). If you're new to barefoot or minimalist running it is true that you will need to take some time with the transition period. If you're not a believer about the benefits of running in barefoot or minimalist running shoes read BORN TO RUN and/or watch this video...

1 comment:

  1. I think the main reason people are wearing running shoes to begin with, is for the shock absorber. I don't know if the Terra shoes, aside from being cool and light, do that very well.