Runners love shoes, but sometimes the relationship is a little bit complicated. First, you need to have more than one pair of running shoes, in case one is wet. Putting on wet shoes does not make for happy feet. Then you need an old pair for stuff like painting or raking leaves. It’s hard to throw away old shoes, this lengthens their life a bit. And you need a pair that’s sort of waterproof for wet days. And once your feet have experienced the comfort of running shoes, you never want to wear anything else, so you need at least one pair of neat ones in case you have to pretend to be a grown-up. If you have a favorite shoe, the company will always discontinue it, so you have to have one pair waiting in a box for when you need it. And then there are lucky shoes for racing that must be protected at all costs.
My journey to shoe minimalism started about a year ago. (That means shoes that are less, NOT fewer shoes!!) The first pair I tried was Fila Skele-toes. I decided I definitely don’t like toe shoes. Then I bought a pair of Merrell Trail Gloves, and fell in shoe love. Like the name says, these shoes fit like a glove. They are low to the ground, have good ground feel, and wrap securely around the top of your feet. These have become my go-to shoes. I have a couple of pairs for running, a couple of variations for walking around in, and a clean, indoor pair for wearing on the floor at work. I even have some Merrell flip-flops that stay secure on my feet (I hate it when my shoes slide around).
However, much as I love my Merrells, they are not a great shoes when the trails are muddy or covered in wet leaves. So last spring I tried a pair of Vivobarefoot Breatho Trail shoes. They have a very barefoot feel, and the soles are very grippy, but I really don’t like them. Like I said before, there is nothing more aggravating than shoes that slide around on your feet. These slide, a lot. I can’t lace them up tight enough to fit well on the middle part of my feet. And a size smaller would be too short. So I guess they will just live in the closet. If anybody wants to try minimalist shoes, and has wider feet than me, let me know, and you can have them.
One problem with wearing minimalist shoes, is that you feet get used to them, and don’t want to wear anything else. Anna thinks this is great, and has been shoe shopping in my closet! I guess this could also bee seen as an opportunity to get more new shoes 😉 ( Check out my previous post to read about my discovery of Inov-8 boots.) Finding Inov-8 solved the problem of running in mud and wet. These shoes are called Bare Grip 200. They have no midsole at all and no drop, but have an almost cleat-like bottom. They grip securely in the mud, wet leaves, loose rocks, and snow. The last two days have been my best runs since the leaves fell down this fall! Minimalist shoes are very low to the ground and if there is any wet on the trail, you end up with soggy feet. That’s fine in the summer, but cold, wet feet in the winter is not very nice. So the next project is to find some kind of waterproof socks. Challenge accepted!!