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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

News from the Minimalist Shoe Front

We all know companies like Vibram and Terra Plana as firmly ensconced in the minimalist shoe movement.  It appears as though the big companies are making some tentative attempts at producing minimalist shoes.  I'd consider most of these attempts to be "reduced' running shoes, not true minimalist shoes.  Still, it's a shift in the right direction.  Here's a partial list:
  • Nike- improving on the "Free" line with new models to be released in May.
  • Saucony- rumor is they're producing a shoe with a zero heel-to-toe differential.
  • Brooks- no details... but they have some stuff in the works (contrary to their CEO's comments.)
  • K-Swiss- Making a VERY interesting reduced shoe akin to the Free.
  • Adidas- Refining the Adizero
  • Inov-8- Also making a shoe with minimal heel-to-toe differential, maybe a trail shoe.
  • Newton- producing a lightweight shoe with zero heel-to-toe differntial.
  • Avia- AVI Bolt II (to be reviewed soon)- lightweight reduced shoe
And the up-starts:
  • Kigo- Shel (to be reviewed soon)- looks like a good VFF alternative.
  • Sockwa- looks good, I'll be glad to get my hands on a pair.
  • Softstar- producing a moccasin-like running shoe... should be a winner.
  • huaraches- (testing now)- classic huaraches... very good.
  • Terra Plana- We all know about the EVO... it's the Ferrari of minimalist shoes.
Of course there are more... but the potential options are expanding.  I'd like to see the major companies produce true minimalist shoes, but I'm happy with baby steps for now.


  1. seriously? kigo named the shoe after me. hmmmm.. wonder if they are into athlete sponsorship?!

  2. I really like the looks of that Soft-Star moccasin - can't wait to see the final product!

  3. Nothing that the minimalist footwear market is doing today is new. The major companies all bombed when they tried to roll out minimal footwear in the 80s and 90s. Does anyone remember the Sock Racer from Nike. Adidas even had at one time a shoe that is really similar to the Vibram model. They tried no one bought. The Free had been around long before "Born to Run" but it wasn't until the book that people started to purchase them. In 2008 we couldn't give away Vibrams. After Born to Run we can't stock enough. It's amazing how much one book has changed an industry.

  4. I'm happy to report that after scouring the internet I finally saw some pictures of the new Sockwa Amphibians, they put some teaser shots on their facebook page. Looking good. I cant wait to try a pair. According to the page, the presale begins April 16th. In case you want to check it out...
    Has anyone heard anything specific about the Amphibians?

  5. Missing the Feelmax Osma, which may provide the most barefoot-like feedback out there.

  6. I was excited about the Sockwa Amphibians until I saw it just me or are they just a pair of pool shoes/aqua socks? Are they thinner? What's better about them? $45 isn't bad at all if there is something I'm missing!