Around the gym, many of you may have noticed some new footwear that a number of people have picked up. New Balance decided to get into the minimalist footwear arena with the Minimus. This entry bridges the gap between the Vibram Fivefingers and the Nike Free with something more substantial than the infamous “toe shoes”. For those that like to geek out, check out the article over at their site about the R&D that went into this shoe:
Katherine Petrecca: We’ve vigorously pursued a path we call ‘Light+Right’. We feel very strongly that building great minimal footwear is about something far more substantial than stripping as much as you can out of a shoe. To us, a meaningful ‘closer to barefoot’ experience is something very specific: a shoe with a neutral foot position, meaning that it has a minimal drop from heel to forefoot.
I think it was Brian that I first saw in the gym with these shoes and he raved about them. Recently I read this post by Eric Cressey, someone whose opinion in the realm of rehab, prehab and general mobility I respect. Cressey detailed a journey much like I had experienced with the alternative “barefoot” options out there. The Nike Frees seemed nice at first, but tend to fall apart easily. In addition, over time Nike has devolved the Free into more and more like a regular shoe. The heel has gotten larger and much more likely to encourage a heel strike when running.
I also tried the Vibrams, which were okay for running but the impact wasn’t kind on my feet when running on anything other than dirt or grass. As I’ve read elsewhere, the concept of true barefoot running is a fine starting point, but combining this with modern day surfaces such as asphalt or concrete require some compromises. Also, for any activity where additional weight or heavier impacts were involved, such as Olympic lifts or box jumps, I really didn’t care for the Vibrams. They are a novel concept and decent for hiking, perhaps trail running and getting attention when walking in public but otherwise I was left lacking.
Now I saw the commercials that Reebok has been running about their minimalist entry — the Realflex — but I had read a less than stellar review of them. Also, our own Stephanie has bought some and she seemed displeased, so perhaps she may grace us with her own words in the comments.
I’m not necessarily encouraging anyone to be like our resident Imelda Marcos, Mr. Champagne. But if you’re currently sporting a squishy conventional running shoe, the Minimus presents a great option for general use.
1 round Cindy = 5 pullups, 10 pushups, 15 squats
1 round DT = 12 deadlifts, 9 hang power cleans, 6 push jerks at Rx of 155/105 or scaled appropriately