Friday, March 4, 2011
Ok so NB provided me with a pair of the new NB/Vibram 'less is more' trail shoes -Minimus. These guys are as light as a feather. There is no separate insole and I suppose should be used without socks to get that 'Barefoot' connection. On first fitting (my size 9.5) they felt a bit tight. I am used to this having quite wide feet and shoes usually give a little as they are broken in. Apart from the 'new shoe' tightness they felt good. I started using minimalistic shoes (Inov-8 x-Talons) last year and weaned myself onto them slowly, having run in cushioned shoes all the time I have been running. The Minimus comes with a caution tag that lets runners know that this shoe should be introduced to your running routine gradually as it will put strain on the foot, calf and Achilles tendon; sound advice for those who have predominantly used cushioned shoes. I took these shoes for a 5k trail run so I'm only reporting on the initial feel. I got no pains or aches and in fact the shoe felt as though it were healing the damage of a 21k road run I'd done recently. The grip was good on angled dusty trail and the sole thin enough to get a good feel of the running surface. Being a relatively new runner (3years) I didn't have a lifetime of bad habits to break in order to run with minimalistic shoes and have read a lot about barefoots v's cushioned running lately. This shoe has been designed to give a natural (neutral) running experience from its upward toe curve to the low drop from heel to toe (4mm) and it certainly delivers this. I felt very lightfooted and the running motion felt quiet and effortless, the shoe reinforcing the pratice of fluid running. I'll be using these shoes to taper for, and run, the Tarawera Ultramarathon after which I'll be able to give a fuller account of their performance. But my first impressions are that New Balance and Vibram have come up with a winning formula.