Barefoot Trail Running
In our last post we began talking about how minimalist shoes are for more than just running and we demonstrated how some of the producers of minimalist running shoes were starting to produce minimalist shoes for work. Some companies like Vibram Fivefingers and ZEM actually design and manufacture minimalist shoes for water sports such as kayaking and wakeboarding. Today we’d like to narrow in on minimalist trail running shoes.
One the keys to choosing a pair of minimalist trail running shoes is to take a hard and honest look at what kind of environment the shoe will actually be used in. A regular mountaineer has much different requirements for a set of minimalist shoes that someone who occasionally likes to run in wooded areas. Often a high quality pair of minimalist running shoes can take on pretty rough terrain. The best minimalist running shoes can often cover a multitude of different environments.
That being said, narrowing down the right shoe for the right environment is essential for making a smart choice. A company well known for trail running shoes is Merrell and with the relatively recent release of their barefoot line they’ve combined their ability to create durable shoes with a zero offset and Vibram soles to produce high quality minimalist trail running shoes.
Other companies have also entered the arena including VIVOBAREFOOT who produce a vast array of barefoot running shoes and casual minimalist shoes. The company is one of the leading pioneers in minimalist footwear and offers high quality, eco-friendly shoes that can tackle many different environments.
When deciding on a pair of minimalist shoes, make sure that both the company and shoe have experience when it comes to trail running. Reading barefoot shoe reviews and gathering feedback on what other people had to say is also an important step when making a purchase. If you’re entering rougher environments focusing on durable materials becomes a priority. A lightweight shoe with thinner soles may be more appropriate if you spend your time on more solid terrain.
As we mentioned above, a good pair of minimalist running shoes can often be taken on the trail or into the mountains with little or no harm done. It’s when one’s surrounding become dangerous to thin soles that a more in-depth look into minimalist trail running shoes is required.
We recommend you test your current minimalist shoes and see where you feel comfortable wearing them. Experiment and push your shoes to see what they can take. Likely you’ll find that they’re able to handle most situations you find yourself in. If you do start feeling uncomfortable or that the shoes don’t provide enough protection, upgrading to a pair more suited to the environment should be your next step.