The WEEK OF ALEX posts got off to a good start yesterday with my balsamic caviar recap and recipe. Though Lulu, Mel, and I miss Wendy very much, we have to suck it up and march on without her for the next few days. What better way than to wake up on Saturday and head out for a new pair of shoes?

Man, recipes first, now buying shoes...what's happening to my manly week?

Actually, the shoes I need are running shoes. I really enjoy running, but I'm not a long distance runner, or hardcore enough to do marathons or anything. I just like to run three to five times per week, usually three to six miles per run.

About a year and a half ago I started to develop a lot of pain in my left foot. It came and went for a few months, but it was something in the tendons of my foot that almost felt like my shoe laces were constantly extremely over tightened. 

Last year, after quite a bit of research and the thought that my foot pain may have been due to my shoes (a somewhat heavy and cushiony trail shoe), I made the switch to a more minimalist running shoe in an attempt to change how I run. My hope was that changing my running style to a more natural stride would help to reduce the chances for further injury.

I chose a pair of the Nike Free+ 5.0 shoes, and I've really loved them since the day I bought them. My foot pain immediately subsided as I began landing on the balls of my feet rather than my heel. Now that these shoes have several hundred miles on them I'm ready for a new pair of shoes, and I decided I want something that is even more minimalist than what I was using. Basically, I want to take another stride towards barefoot running. (Get it, stride? I'm way funnier when Wendy isn't here, at least that's what Lulu and Mel tell me.)

While I'm not ready to buy a pair of the Vibram Five Finger shoes, both because I think they might make me look like an ape and I'm not sure how I feel about my toes having stuff between them, I wanted a shoe that would really make it feel like I was running in almost bare feet. Since I bought my Nike Frees, several other minimalist shoes have hit the market, and there was one in particular that intrigued me.

The shoe I'm talking about is the New Balance Minimus Trail that came out earlier this year. This morning, Lulu and I headed down to our neighborhood running specialty store, Pacers.

Lucky for us, Pacers is only a couple blocks from our house. They have a great staff who are all very friendly and knowledgeable. I saw on their website that they had the shoe I wanted in stock, so I was a very easy customer today and walked in knowing exactly what I wanted.

The person helping me had the shoe I was looking for in no time and I was running up and down the block to test them out before I knew it. That's another great thing about Pacers, they let you go for a quick jog either up and down the block or on a treadmill in the store (great if it is raining out).

The Minimus shoes are actually quite similar to the Five Fingers. They incorporate the Vibram soles and are so flexible that they can double back on themselves quite easily. Putting them on, they actually fit sort of like slippers. 

As I'm writing this, I actually just got back from my first run in them, and I really love them. I know my calves will be sore tomorrow, because they do force you to run on your toes much more, but I think I'm going to really like these shoes a lot. No knee pain, no ankle pain (even though my right ankle has been sore lately), and a slightly faster time than I've been doing lately.

If you're a runner and are looking for a shoe that is your minimalist shoe transition, this might be the shoe for you. 

Are there any runners out there that like the minimalist approach to shoes? Let me know, I'm quite interested in your take.

Comments 4

Comments

SpencerKoch
8/20/2011 at 6:50 PM
I was having some knee pain from running. Went to the local running shop and came out with some new balance stability shoes. Poof: knee pain gone. Minimalist is interesting to me, but I'm not going to change my shoes as long as I am feeling good.
Alex
8/21/2011
That sounds like a pretty good plan. The repetitive use pains that come from running can be quite mysterious.

Check out some of the minimalist shoe articles online, especially ones that investigate why African runners can run huge distances into their 80s. Even if you don't switch to those shoes, it's some pretty interesting stuff, and can still help you and how you run.
I have a home blog and recently found yours. I have been reading your old post over the past couple of days and came to this one. My husband is an athletic trainer, ultramarathoner and six-time Ironman. He has worn the Five Fingers for over three years now and loves them. He does all of his races in them. Here is an old post from his blog that talks about them. ironmanlongrunr.wordpress.com/2010/10/25/theyre-just-shoes/
Wendy
3/13/2013
Hi Jessica, and welcome! That's so impressive that your husband is an ultramarathoner/iron man, etc. Our hats are off to him! Thanks for sharing the post and your blog. Your house is adorable, and I just love capes!
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