The Minimalist Thing? – A Shoe Review

The first thing you should know before reading this post is that I work in a running shoe store. One that doesn’t carry many minimalist shoes because they are a fad and most people use them improperly and get hurt (or so I was told). That aside, the question I get asked almost everyday at least once is, “Do you have those five finger shoes/toe shoes/vibrams?” To which I resist a huge sigh and say no. 90% of the people who ask for them are A: Under the age of 25 and trying to be cool, B: People that scream “I AM COOL”, or C: Mothers looking for them for their sons. The rest are just genuinely curious. Most of them have horrible feet that screams for a supportive shoe. Most of the people that ask are in a heavy stability or motion control shoe for whom making that jump is just not safe.

The more I read about the shoes, the more the research stating injuries makes sense. Yes, we were genetically engineered to run barefoot. ON DIRT FOR ABOUT 3 MILES. Not on asphalt/camet/concrete for a marathon. They are also meant to supplement your training shoe, not replace it. They are strengthening tools, nothing more. You don’t lift weights every time you work out do you? If you do, you should be working different muscle groups or you are just being dumb.

So even with all that knowledge in my head I starting thinking about if they could help me. My feet are not as strong as they were when I did dancing. My lower legs are toned, but not strong enough to support my tremendous running habit. I also have a pretty solid heel strike that I would like to improve to a more forefoot motion.

Enter weird work circumstances. One of the employees is quitting and was given a pair of the Saucony Hattoris a few weeks earlier. She offered them to me since I was the only person they fit. She knew she would never wear them.These ugly things looked like rejected childhood watershoes. I looked them up and was offered this discription by saucony.com:

“Our most minimal and lightweight shoe ever, the Hattori is literally an extension of your foot. Unlike other very minimal shoes, the Hattori’s mitten-like toe box gives your toes room to naturally arch, grip and push off. To further leverage natural toe movement, the sole features a visible flex groove in back of the toes and in front of the metatarsals. The sculpted foam of the sole also includes strategically placed impact cushioning and delivers a slight piston effect without ever compromising natural motion. Weight: 3.8 oz.”
 

Enter the test run:

Finally got a chance to take them out for a spin tonight. I promised myself that on their maiden voyage, there would be no more than half a mile. Well I was in Forest Lawn so that meant hills, oh well! I was eager to get home so I was planning a quick 3 miler. I did 2.5 and switched out to the duck shoes. Wore them with socks (you can wear without). Off I went. Forefoot striking the whole length away from my car I realized I felt suddenly really fast. After I stopped thinking about it, I had a solid midfoot strike going and was cantering along at a 2 min per mile pace FASTER than my previous run pace. I thought it was excitement so I tried to relax. Nope, still fast but boy could I feel my legs. But it was a good connected feeling. It was like running through the grassy fields as a kid……I made it back to my car and wore them home. I am not sold on them yet, but stay tuned because I will definitely be giving them another workout. The main notice/complaint that I had was that they seem to put me off balance to a supination point. I seemed to roll out instead of inward as I was running. I’ll have to keep an eye on that.

Thanks for listening!

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4 thoughts on “The Minimalist Thing? – A Shoe Review

  1. Chelles_bells

    I dont know if I can ever get myself to put on a pair of minimal shoes. I just have a lot of foot pain without trying to run on them. I also have a massive issue with pronation, and I hear that these shoes would not help and would probably make them worse.

    However, I do wear flats every day without any arch support. I prefer them to heavily padded shoes just out of comfort, so I might try to find a pair of minimal shoes that would serve as an every day shoe. I wonder if I’d get the same benefit with all the walking I do.

    1. Definitely don’t do the minimalist thing if you already have pronation issues, it will only make them worse and could give you even more trouble. Especially in the Achilles and calf tendons. If you did get one for everyday wear just ease into it. Wouldn’t want to hear you getting injured from silly shoes. 🙂

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