Sep 25

Catching Up to 2008

I’m really not one for trends.  I’ve never been called a “trendsetter” and I usually catch-on about a year after the craze has passed.  Not so with minimalist running shoes.  I knew about them around 2008, I just thought the whole idea was ridiculous and definitely not for me.  As if Vibram’s weren’t bad enough, people were actually showing up to races barefoot!  What about all the debris in the streets?  How do these people’s feet not look like John McClain’s in Die Hard after they “shoot the glass!”

Come out to the coast, we'll have a few drinks...

Yippee ki yay muther…

In this country we have shoes stuffed on our feet before we can even walk!  A thousand years ago, when I was a baby, the “walking” shoes all looked the same.  You remember them.  Perhaps they’re even bronzed and on your mantle.  They were white, stiff and the laces never stayed tied.  They resembled something John Gotti would strap onto a snitch before throwing him into the Hudson.  My point is that we learn to walk with shoes on.  We learn to run with shoes on.  We live our lives with shoes on.  Why am I taking them off now?  Will I magically run like a Kenyan because its gotta not be the shoes?  I freakin wish!

I'm supposed to walk in these how?

After learning to walk in these I’m supposed to run barefoot 30 years later?

When it comes to running, I have far from perfect biomechanics.  Some people are blessed to just walk out the door in any old pair of sneakers, run 15 miles and not end up with IT band syndrome or plantar fasciitis.  Not me.  My feet and my running gait need all the help they can get.  Fleet Feet hammered this point home when, 12 years ago,  they put me on their treadmill and analyzed the hell out of my severe pronation.

Needless to say, when this minimalist running shoe thing happened I stayed far away.  I wasn’t even willing to try  it since I thought I needed all this extra support and I tend to not mess with my running. Ever.  Until one day about a month ago I glimpsed these babies in a running magazine:


The lacing system (or lack of laces) is my fav part!

The lacing system (or lack of laces) is my fav part!


They looked way to cool and I just had to have them!  I ordered them up (they were on backorder of course since they were featured in a running magazine!) and when I finally got them last week I couldn’t wait to try them out!

Well, with the first step I thought it was trouble.  I mean they really felt as if I had nothing on my feet.  Remember my post about people wearing flip flops to a fitness class?  That’s how I felt…like I was running in freakin flip flops.  I was using ankle muscles I didn’t think existed!  My legs felt different.  I couldn’t really relax and fall into a natural stride for at least a mile.  I slowed down and starting actually thinking about how I was running. I haven’t done that in a very long time!  It was cool.

I ended up running 8 miles which was way too much for my first run in flip flop shoes.  But I felt good!  Did I mention that because of the split toe I wasn’t even wearing socks?  I was getting crazy y’all.  See?  I’m from the Northeast and I’m saying y’all.  Look out world, five years after they became mainstream, I’m becoming a minimalist runner!  Maybe I should try twerking next.  Hmmmmmm

What’s the last thing you tried and the outcome surprised you?  Do you run in or have you tried minimalist shoes?  What do you think?


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  1. Nicole @ Work in Sweats Mama

    I’ve been reading more and more about the minimalist movement, and, like you, I was initially skeptical. I have very high arches and need a cushioned, neutral shoe to help with the beating my toes receive. But, I’m thinking about trying a minimalist shoe AFTER Richmond. It’s interesting that you bring up the baby shoes. Yes, I have a pair just like that from my early walking days! Our pediatrician actually recommended that we let our girls walk barefoot as much as possible, especially when they were first starting to walk, because that’s the best way to let them learn and for their feet to develop. Go figure! Guess the cavemen had it right…or maybe they just didn’t have awesome shoe stores!

    1. vita88

      I agree with your pediatrician! Walking barefoot probably is the way to go…but who knows as these things change constantly! As for the minimalist shoe – I think they can serve a purpose. I’m going to try them out in 5K race and see how that feels but for the majority of my runs, I’m sticking with the extra cushion and support!! When you try them, let me know what you think…

  2. thedoseofreality

    They are definitely eye-catching Allie! 😉 I saw a little classmate of Emma’s in the toe shoes a couple years ago, and she told me they were really comfortable! I do think the lack of lacing is super helpful!-Ashley

    1. vita88

      That they are! They look a little brighter in pictures then reality but they are definitely PINK. Thanks Ashley!

  3. Charlotte @ Commitness to Fitness

    i wore those shoes too when i was a baby!! when did that trend stop? when i have kids im totally putting them back in those shoes. those are so old school awesome. i wonder if they still make them. and i love the no laces thing! i always stuff my foot into already tied sneakers- unless i absolutely have to untie them, i wont.

    1. vita88

      Your kids will be rockin’ it vintage style! I’m sure you can still get them online:-)
      Tying shoes? ‘Aint nobody got time for that!

  4. Mothering From Scratch

    {Melinda} Those are awesome sauce, Allie! I am sure you will totally rock them. 🙂

    1. vita88

      I like that Melinda – awesome sauce!! You are too cool.

  5. Alison

    I think it’s great that you tried something different! The shoes look really awesome.
    I worked in Nike, and what I understand from the research, is that these kinds of shoes are supposed to help ‘train’ the muscles in your feet and legs that don’t normally get used. And it’s supposed to benefit your overall running experience. 🙂

    1. vita88

      They certainly felt as if they were training those muscles. Mission accomplished! Thanks Alison.

  6. Natalie

    Interesting looking shoes, I am not so sure I would want to wear them though, they just look way to odd for me!
    Glad that you had a good experience running in them though!
    Thank you so much for visiting my blog today, I thought I would pop over and visit you too, great blog, will have a gander at previous entries 🙂
    Marigolds’ Loft

    1. vita88

      Thanks for visiting! Enjoy your SITS day!!

  7. Andrea

    I just bought a pair of awesome running shoes. Nothing like this stunners you have though. Here are the order of events: Two weeks ago my family an I went for a walk. We walked. Then I ran. Then I fell and hurt my elbow, knee, shoulder, and hand. On the following day I bought appropriate running shoes. All I had to do was nearly break a few bones to encourage me to buy decent shoes.

    1. vita88

      Oh no!! Unfortunately it usually does take something major like that to happen. At least there was no surgery involved. Enjoy your new kicks!!

  8. Carla

    These really intrigue me ever since I read the book Born To Run. I am recovering from a knee injury from Zumba class so I haven’t run in a few weeks. I like when you said that you had to focus on the running for the first time is a long time. I know too often I feel like I am not getting enough from my workout because my mind is not there. Thanks for mentioning that!

    1. vita88

      I’m glad you picked up on that. That was really cool for me because my runs are usually zone out time so focusing on the actual run was probably the best part of this experience! Let me know if you try them & good luck with your recovery.

  9. FitBritt@MyOwnBalance

    I’ve never tried the minimalist shoes but I’ve definitely seen them around! I’m with you on wanting sneakers. I just did a dance workout this morning (in my house on my living room wood floor, let’s not get too crazy) barefoot and my feet hurt so much! Yikes. Anyway, those shoes look very cool. I used to think Twitter was such a fad and so not cool…well that’s obviously history now! LOL!

    1. vita88

      That’s funny about Twitter!
      It’s funny what happens when you take your shoes off! All those little foot & ankle muscles aren’t used to having to work that hard. I think yoga has the same type of effect but, obviously you’re not pounding on your joints in yoga.

  10. Joi @ Rx Fitness Lady

    I often wondered about these. My initial thoughts were similar to yours! I have had people stroll into COMBAT with them on and I’m thinking…NO WAY! Glad you offered your opinion. I was so biased, I never even asked anyone what they thought. I just looked at them and said…NOPE! Hope you’ll give us another update after a few weeks/months!

    1. vita88

      I know! I would not wear these to a combat class. I will definitely update you in a few months…especially if I wear them to a race. Thanks Joi!

  11. Nellie @ Brooklyn Active Mama


    (that required ALL caps :))

    I like them!! I don’t know if I would ever be That good of a runner to go without my sneaks but i am impressed you went for 8 miles!! I would be honestly too afraid to do it in the city streets. I once saw a man running, barefoot, in times square. I was mortified for him!

    1. vita88

      Hahahahaha!! My BIL said the same thing!!
      I would be afraid in the city too. I don’t know how these people do it, but obviously it works for them.

  12. Kate

    Have you continued to wear them or did you switch back to your regular shoes? They certainly are interesting!

    1. vita88

      Since I’m training for a half-marathon right now, I’m definitely not wearing them. I need all the support I can get on my long runs. I’ll let you know when I’m back to 5K where these would be appropriate. In the meantime, I wear them for fun and they’re super comfortable.

  13. Michelle

    I run in Nike Frees most of the time and they’re pretty minimal by running shoe standards. I can’t stand heavy clunky shoes, not even on the trails. I like a really lightweight shoe. I don’t think I could do the split toe thing. They’re very bright though.

    1. vita88

      Those are definitely minimal! I never tried them when they came out but they look super cool and comfortable. When it comes to running though, you have to go with what works for your body which is not always the “cute and comfortable.” I’m happy to hear they work for you!!
      The shoes look a lot brighter in the picture. I mean, they are definitely pink but not PINK!

  14. Tamara

    I have those same baby shoes! Not bronzed but my mom still has mine. And I learned to walk at 18 months! Such a late one.
    I was surprised to go from film to digital photography. I resisted for so long. And I’ll be surprised if I ever go to an e-reader because I still read books. I don’t want another screen in my life. Yet.
    My marathon runner friend has these minimalist shoes. She loves them!

    1. vita88

      I love the fact that you resisted digital photography. Change is a difficult thing! I never thought I would like an e-reader either but I got one for a gift. I was hooked when I finished The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and could immediately buy The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. Instant gratification.
      That’s great about your marathon running friend. I cannot imagine running more then I did in these.

  15. Leah

    I have seen these around and truly wondered “What the heck?!??!?” But, sounds like they are popular for a reason!

    1. vita88

      I wear them to teach a few classes and for short distance running. They truly feel like you’re barefoot!

  16. Angela @ Happy Fit Mama

    I’ve been itching to try a more minimalist shoe but I’m so scared of having to slow down and basically relearn how to run. Plus, I’m still fighting an ankle/foot injury that doesn’t want to go away completely. Maybe one day…

    1. vita88

      Exactly!! It may be good for you to do in the “off” season (if you have one?) but definitely not while you’re rehabbing and injury. Good luck and let me know if you *do* try them.

  17. Sara @ Fit.Fun.Femme

    I won’t pretend to know anything about minimalist shoes because I can barely keep up with the latest Mizuno model, but I do know a little something about the color pink and it’s my fav ;). So…the shoes are fabulous in my book. All joking aside, I think it’s really neat that your run was totally different (in a very mindful way) than in regular running shoes. And I’m totally with you – I never jump on trends right away because I always assume it’ll be out of style by the time I make a purchase.

    1. vita88

      They look extremely pink in the picture and they’re a little more toned down in reality but definitely still pink!! The best part of trying them was how mindful I had to be on the run. It was a pretty cool experience but I think I have to stick with short distances…for now.

  18. Hope

    I’ve read alot about minimalist shoes. I always say that I’m not that great of a runner to try anything without enough support. But it seems that our natural walking gait would be best realized without shoes changing the stride of our feet….I guess the same applies to running. At this point and time, I think I’ll rather try twerking.lol Kidding 4 real.

    Those shoes are really hot though. I was nervous about trying to learn to swim, turns out it was not that bad…although I still can’t swim 🙂 Great post. Allie

    1. vita88

      It’s all about trying new things…especially when you have incentive like cute pink shoes! When it comes to running, it’s definitely all about getting the shoes on your feet to avoid injury and to make it less painful. Some people can run in minimalist shoes all the time but I definitely can’t. It’s just nice to have options!

  19. Christine @ Love, Life, Surf

    So I’ve stayed away from minimalist shoes for precisely those reasons, my knee and especially because of my last bout of plantar fasciitis (not the current one) and I didn’t want to do anything that would even possibly put me at risk. But then of course I did get PF again. Oy. I KNOW that my feet and ankles are my weak spots (even after all the yoga). I’m curious about minimalist shoes and if they would help overall but I’m also worried about reinjurying myself. Dilemma! Curious to hear how you feel about them after using them for a bit more.

    1. vita88

      I feel you!! It’s such a dilemma. Trying these shoes was like when I went from skiing to snowboarding. I felt like I had to learn all over again and that’s not fun…but in the long term it absolutely was. I’m thinking that with the colder weather and eventually snow covered streets, my feet will freeze in these!! We’ll see. It’s fun to have something to try out now and then. I’ll keep you updated!

  20. Carla

    I just by the lightest shoes I can find to run in out of the kids department. Reeboks tend to work best. I’d really prefer it if the world just let us walk around barefoot. But nope. I have read a lot of the women who are trying minimalist shoes and I think the over riding theme is that you are really thinking about how you run. How could that ever be bad?

    1. vita88

      It wasn’t! I felt like I was “yoga running” because I was being so mindful. Pretty cool for a change.

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