Wednesday, May 30, 2012

To Minimal or To Not Minimal?

That is the question I have asked myself several times in the past year or so.

The craze of minimalist running has hit the market hard. Of course, not everyone has jumped on board...but a lot of people have and let me tell ya, the people who are on that wagon, LOVE IT.

Battling through pain and injuries and shoe issues the past 6 months or so really pushed any thought of running in this type of shoe into the very back of my mind. And of course, being a newer runner, I err on the side of caution when the idea of switching things up crosses my mind. I'm still learning what works, what doesn't and how my body responds to change.

It would have been a very bad idea to try something new with what I had been dealing with earlier this year. But I'm healthy now (cross your fingers and toes please) and I've been toying with the idea. I think now that I have a solid base of running and am more in tune with my body....I can take the plunge. But honestly, who the heck could I trust to give me good information, a good shoe and some insight as a runner and not just a "salesperson"?

Enter Nathan of Tortoise & Hare Sports

Owners, Nathan and Rebecca

I had been anticipating the opening of his store for a few months and he finally got it up and running, and let me tell ya, he didn't disappoint.

I dragged Wade over there the other weekend to get some insight and an honest opinion from someone I trust and I think I got more than an just opinion....I got an education. Nathan is soft spoken, calm and immediately put me at ease while I asked question after question. He never made me feel stupid, or made me feel like he was just answering a question to hear himself talk as I have experienced in the past with running shoe shopping.

His store is modern, simple and minimalist...just like his outlook on running and shoes. He has a single treadmill and uses his iPad and a very hightech software program to analyze form, gait, and a bunch of other stuff I can't speak intelligently about. (big surprise) The store doesn't have a lot of frills or extra product floating around. He was clearly thoughtful in his selection of shoes, clothing and accessories....and I like that.

Brands I noticed and liked: Brooks (duh), Oiselle, Picky Bars, Lole (I HAVE to own the Run-up shorts someday), Garmin and many others new and old to me.

The product wall are looking much "beefier" these days.

He gave me 3 pairs to try and naturally I went for the Brooks PureCadence. Lightweight, yet offers support for someone like me who needs it.

From the Brooks Website:

"Lean construction fuses with a responsive fit in the PureCadence. For Guidance to Support runners, this shoe delivers more support through smart, streamlined features such as a wider Nav Band that’s locked in to the medial strike pod. A reinforced heel counter secures the foot and the internal PDRB helps prevent overpronation. The PureCadence gives runners who need more stability the chance to experience the feel of a natural foot strike with a lightweight, breathable shoe.

Just like our core line, we hold PureProject to the industry’s highest weartest and durability standards. Because of their lightweight construction and fewer materials, runners should generally expect shoes from the PureProject line to last approximately 250-300 miles".

I will be taking it slow and starting out with mini runs of about 1 mile and slowing building up...I'll post after my first run in them which will likely be tomorrow morning! I'm also looking forward to attending my first Good Form Running Class this weekend (Saturday) that will be taught by Olympian and Good Form Running guru, Grant Robison.

Any Phoenix friends are welcome to join me!

As you might have seen, my shiny new shoes arrived last week and I have to admit that I'm a lil nervous to try these. But very excited.

Here's to me not tripping, falling, or hurting myself.


  1. Welcome aboard! I have been on this train for awhile now...I just picked up a pair of brooks pure grit and love my saucony kinvara's and my new balance 890's. Enjoy the switch and take your time! Oh yeah and keep shopping at Tortoise & Hare sports!

  2. The minimal thing is almost making me nuts as far as the bandwagon of the uneducated. Those that know their stuff know that most people cannot just Cold Turkey start running in minimal shoes. It takes time to adjust the lower legs and the gait. I walked into RRS last night to get trail shoes for a 50K I'm going to attempt next month (which I told the salesperson this) and I wanted to try the Brooks Cascadia (because for certain, I have not yet built up my mileage running in minimal shoes to handle 31 miles in them. Right now 13 is my max in Brooks Cadence, around 6 in the Kinvaras.)

    Anyway, the salesperson brings out the Cascadia like I asked but then also two pairs of trail shoes that are pretty minimal (not ala NB Minimus or anything, but like still like 7-8 ouncers). She seemed all on the bandwagon of how "lighter shoes have changed her running" etc, etc. She is setting people up for injury without knowing their running history. I got the Cascadias because I have been running for 18 years and I know myself, but, seriously. If I didn't it would have been pretty ugly climbing 7000 feet (then dropping it) in trail racers.

  3. GAH! So annoying! It's taken me 2 years to gather up the balls to try them out...and I'm doing it verrrry slowly to avoid injury. Some people just don't learn!