Run Right.

As the barefoot running boom continues to captivate the footwear market, we wanted to re-visit some of our favorite brands to see what they have cooking for S/S10. First up at bat, barefoot impressarios Vibram Five Fingers.

Vibram has recently launched their take on an old-fashioned sneaker…yep, laces and all. They wanted to offer more famliar features to runners, perhaps to bridge the gap between skeptics and die-hard barefoot enthusiasts. The Vibram Five Finger Speed boasts all of the same technical features of Vibram’s earlier models, it just has a more traditional silhouette. Well, minus the “web-toe situation.” They also opted for some subtle retro details, like the bold stripe, will maintaining a minimal black and white palette. Unfortunately, The Speed is a European-only release for the remainder of 2010.


“The Speed features a Dri-Lex covered 3mm polyurethane insole (thickest under the ball) and a 4mm anatomical pod outsole design that offers more plating protection, and distributes forefoot impact without compromising important ground feedback essential to a proper forefoot strike running form. A more athletic padded collar and topline, a lace closure and Mesh upper for improved ventilation.”

We were able to catch a special “unboxing” of a brand new pair over at Birthday Shoes, fast forward to the 1:45 min marker for the breakdown:

While not a new brand, Kigo Footwear, let’s call them the more conservative “cousin” of the Five Finger, takes a more subtle approach to the design stratgey of their product line. Kigo trainers are also made for a variety of climates, activities and environment, including walking, hiking and trail running. The Kigo Shel model offers the same features as its webbed counterpart on multiple levels, the primary difference is the paired down silhouette, did we mention it’s eco-friendly as well?


Always on point, Nike releases the Free 5.0 to keep the competition on their toes, literally. “The Free 5.0 is designed for the runner who wants the strengthening and natural gait management benefits associated with barefoot training, along with the cushioning, traction and underfoot protection that most runners also need.”


We are also really feeling the laser cut patten on Nike Free Run+, they looked so good we had to buy a pair last month while in Sydney from Rebel Sport. Not only were we able to run to and from interviews and meetings, we felt great doing it. The Free Run+ was the perfect balance of “barely there” barefoot flexibility and support.


In the “lightweight racer” category we had to call out the Mizuno Wave Musha 2. Weighing in at 7.8 ounces, this sneaker is pure performance, geared towards runners that want a faster pair of shoes for shorter race distances. The difference between this shoe and others in this category is that Mizuno has mastered the art of lightweight support by incorporating a higher density EVA along the instep. The Wave Technology is a “biomechanically engineered midsole technology that resists overpronation, thus relieving stress on ankle and knee joints” providing a longer, lighter and faster run.


While cruising the aisles at Jack Rabbit the other day, the Zoot Ultra Speed caught our eye. They are not joking around over at Zoot, the stretch upper eliminates the need for laces and socks (Dri-Lex fabric with antimicrobial Smart Silver battles moisture and odor). Thanks to its sleek profile and low weight (a mere 6.5 oz), the Ultra Speed is ideal for long and short distance triathlons.


Brooks is leading this category in terms of eco-sensibilty. The Green Silence (look for a new colorway coming out in September 2010!) is made of “recycled and other earth-friendly components”. But don’t let the “eco-tag” distract you, the Green Silence is a fast-performance racing shoe that offers a competitive alternative to non-biodegradable flats.


New Balance provides a minimalist update for trail runners (a really interesting and often neglected category)with the MT/WT100. “The MT/WT100 is a trail racing flat designed for the most dedicated ultra-trail runners. The 100 features a minimalist upper construction for a comfortable, lightweight ride and fewer internal seams to help eliminate irritation. The upper is also equipped with a moisture management treatment to quickly wick away moisture. A ROCK STOP plate in the outsole shields feet from rocks and obstacles and a unique outsole lug configuration provides ideal traction and speed on trails. The SURE LACE keeps shoes tied to ensure an uninterrupted run.”


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