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Minimalist Shoe Question
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Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Wow on 07/06/2011 06:54:56 MDT Print View

Wow guys thanks for all the input, I really appreciate each an every idea. I'm still researching so keep the good ideas coming. I did order a pair of Golite Amps and La Sportiva X-countries. If those don't work out I'll be checking the Innov8s and other models.
I surprised by the interest in this topic, guess I'm not the only one try to find a better minimalist shoe. Thanks for the help.

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Re: Minimalist Shoe Question on 07/06/2011 07:26:51 MDT Print View

someone just mentioned Brooks Cascadia.
they are nice running and walking shoes.
these are a pretty popular ultra running shoe,
But they are definitely NOT minimalist shoes.
711g for a pair of size 9.5

carl becker
(carlbecker) - F

Locale: Northern Virginia
Re: Re: Minimalist Shoe Question on 07/06/2011 07:26:52 MDT Print View

I tried the Merrell Trail Gloves. I went back to Inov-8 X-talon 212 and Barefoot 200 trail runners. The fit, grip and weight did it for me.

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: Re: Minimalist Shoe Question on 07/06/2011 10:55:21 MDT Print View


Edited by annapurna on 12/01/2011 22:35:18 MST.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Current Thoughts on Shoes on 07/09/2011 15:19:17 MDT Print View

Okay so I got two shoes in the mail, the Golite Amps and the La Sportiva X-Country. Here are my initial impressions.

La Sportiva - I love this shoe in many ways. I like the grippy rubber and agressive tred. Problem is I just barely fit in them but I think they will constrict my toest just enough to be a problem so they are probably going back.

Golite Amp - These fit better but they are a bit long, and I think sizing down would make them too narrow so they might go back based on fit. I could probably make them work but I like the fit of my New Balance 101s better. I do like the zero drop sole. I have concerns about durablity with these. In pictures they look really built up with plastic overlays etc. that make them look more durable than the La Sportivas with all their mesh. Problem is some of these materials are pretty light so I have my doubts about whether they are more durable. On top of that the sole is made up of multiple peices of rubber glued together. I prefer a simpler sole because I don't have to worry abou the glue failing and peices coming off. Since the sizing isn't perfect and I wonder about durablity I'm not sure they are much better than my NB101s.

I'm still searching but I may end up just getting a new pair of New Balance 101s and keeping an extra pair in a bounce box in case they blow out. At least I know what to expect with these shoes. If I can keep my overall pack weight low I might try the Merrell Trail Gloves. I actually like the Trail Gloves a lot and I've been wearing them around the Texas Hill country for a while now. I think they would be as durable as any of the other trail shoes I'd just be concerned about stone bruising over the long term and the fact that a sharp rock or stick could theoretically peirce through the sole.

Any new ideas would be appreciated.

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
"Minimalist Shoe Question" on 07/09/2011 15:30:14 MDT Print View

"At least I know what to expect with these shoes."

Absolutely. That sounds like the safest option, no surprises, keeps things simple.

Sorry neither of the two options worked out for your feet. It's difficult finding "the" shoe that suits your feet and body when you don't have access to a quality shoe store with a variety of options to try on.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Trail Gloves on 07/09/2011 17:10:14 MDT Print View

I took the Trail Gloves on a training hike with about 20 pounds. They worked well overall. The only time I think I paid more attention than normal to the ground was when I was going over really rocky sections where I would probably have an eye on the ground no matter what shoes I was wearing. I did hit one pointy rock though and while it didn't bruise me I did notice it.
Another issue I just thought of with the Trail Glove is that they probably wouldn't be ideal if you crossed any snowfields. They are too rounded and don't have enough tred to dig in.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Update on Minimalist Shoes on 12/01/2011 10:30:59 MST Print View

Okay I'll revive this thread with an update. I eventually bought a sized up pair of La Sportiva X countries. I wore them for about 170 miles of continues hiking, I think my longest day was 27.5 miles with them. My feet felt a bit sore and at the time I thought they might be constricting my toes after all. In hindsight I think my feet were just taking a beating since they are a lot more minimalist thant the 101s and have no rock plate.
I had a pair of NB 101s waiting for me when I got to Lake City. When I got there I felt like the X Countries were doing pretty well but I figured I might switch to the more protective NB 101s just to be safe.
Recently I took the X Countries on a hike along the AT for about 10-12 miles. My feet were still sore a couple days later. I'm not sure what changed. I think I toughened up my feet when I wair fairly minimal shoes all summer walking over the very rough Texas Hill Country. Also the trail had a fairly smooth tred for the first week so my feet had further chances to toughen up. Lately I haven't been on rough ground as much and I've taken it easier due to a sprained ankle. Another factor is that the AT has lots of sharp rocks covered in leaves, you can come down on one hard without realizing it.
My conclusion is that the La Sportiva X-Country is a pretty good minimalist shoe. Its a bit norrow but it is more anatomical than the Crossleathers which I also tried on. It is a minimal shoe however. It can feel like more than it really is because of the big lugs (which I love) but it doesn't protect your feet nearly as well as the NB 101 which are already minimalist for some people. Don't buy them unless you are ready for them.

Edited by Cameron on 12/01/2011 18:14:31 MST.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Update on Minimalist Shoes on 12/01/2011 17:29:32 MST Print View


Some good observations. I am a big fan and critic of XC racing flats for hiking. Biggest con is they do not last very long, so that is not good. Also they do poorly in cactus infested environs, but I can live with that. Lastly, most provide really poor traction.

As far as sore feet, that is going to vary by individual, amount of hiking done on a regular basis, hiker's physical condition, weight of gear, etc., etc.

I can hike a lot of long days without sore feet, but I suspect I am going to be a minority here.

For the past several months I have been hiking in a pair of Mizuno Wave Universe 4 XC flats. I don't think a lighter shoe is made by anyone. I got these fairly large so my feet could spread out. And even though they are really longer and wider than what I normally wear, they have worked well. The ankle/lace area can be snugged and I never feel they are too loose in the back of the shoe. Total drop is around 4mm. It looks like the midsole is starting to crack just in front of the ball of my foot. The insoles are glued in so I am not going to take them apart. I am getting longish bumps across this area that can be felt. Doesn't hurt, but I know it is there. The mesh has really held up well, which surprised me. Also the mesh is very fine so my feet don't get a dirty from dust as all my other shoes. They are so light, they feel like hospital slippers.

I have used several different brands of the lightest XC flats over the past several years, but the biggest negative is the lack of a rock plate. I guess I am going to try the MT110's when they come out. I haven't used any of the MT series in the past. But I am a big advocate of the lightest shoe possible.

Peter Rodrigues
(prodrigues) - F

Locale: New York
Re: minimalist shoes on 12/01/2011 18:19:58 MST Print View

There's a good post and subsequent comments on Geoff Roes' site (2010 Western States winner), though it is geared toward ultra running.

Thom Darrah
(thomdarrah) - MLife

Locale: Southern Oregon
Minimalist Shoe on 12/01/2011 18:27:19 MST Print View

Brooks has just recently launched their "Pure" line of minimalist shoes including the following models;
PureConnect (road)
PureFlow (road)
PureGrit (trail)
PureCadence (road)

RunningWarehouse has all four models:

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Re: Re: minimalist shoes on 12/01/2011 20:24:05 MST Print View

someone else around here actually reads Geoff Roes blog !
Roes is probably one of the top two or three 100 mile trail runners in the US.
2010 Western Staes winner, AND record holder.
Wasatch 100 record holder.

here is a " hot link " to his minimalist shoe blog
he is specifically talking about minimalist shoes as related to long mileage.

Minimalist Shoe Comments by Geoff Roes


Edited by asandh on 12/01/2011 20:27:08 MST.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: minimalist shoes on 12/01/2011 21:16:20 MST Print View

About 15-20 years ago, I used to crew for one of the competitors in the Western States 100. A high percentage of the competitors are residents of California. One year, a promoter brought in an ultramarathon team from the Tarahumara tribe in Mexico (known for their mountain running ability). The team was going to compete barefooted, as was their custom, or with huarache sandals. Well, that year was a big snow year, and the first 25 miles of the race course was snow covered (at the end of June).

First of all, these Mexicans were not used to snow at all. Secondly, they needed some kind of specialized footwear for the first 25 miles. So, when the promoter arrived with the Mexicans and they saw the snow, they headed out to a local sporting goods store to purchase soccer shoes for each one. That was good thinking, up to a point. Not exactly minimalist.

The problem is that they weren't used to wearing any shoes, so some got terribly blistered from the soccer shoes. One or two made it.


Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
"Minimalist Shoe Question" on 12/01/2011 21:55:46 MST Print View

@ Thom,

I've been running in the Pure Grit this past week, so far I'm happy with them and they will likely grow on me, they have a few weaknesses that limit the shoe for me, one is the upper which isn't very good for the rocky technical trail out here. I'm going to stick with my Saucony Peregrines for long runs and ultras for now as this shoe strikes a good balance for me.

Roes' most recent post is excellent insight into what an elite actually thinks about all this minimalist/barefoot hoopla going on. Personally, I've transitioned into more substantial shoes over the last year and have phased out the MT101 and MT10 entirely for a more balanced shoe.

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Re: "Minimalist Shoe Question" on 12/02/2011 07:29:13 MST Print View

Eugene I looked at the Pure Grit in a store recently but did not have the time to try it on. would you ever consider it for 50+ miles ?
didn't you run in the Rogue Racers for a while? how would you compare the Pure Grit and Rogue Racer, they seem to be in the same weight class.

p.s. to Leslie just below ...
I saw a barefoot runner coming off my favorite running hill yesterday. His foot was all bloody and he was screaming for bandaids :-(

Edited by asandh on 12/02/2011 08:15:18 MST.

Leslie Thurston
(lesler) - F

Locale: right here, right now
"Minimalist Shoe Question" on 12/02/2011 07:34:40 MST Print View

luke, i suggest saving your hard-earned loot and go barefoot. :)

Lou Renner
(lourenner) - F
Don't forget huaraches... on 12/02/2011 14:26:45 MST Print View

A pair of Invisible Shoes huaraches sandals comes it at about 6.8 ounces (for both) and takes up very little room in your pack. Plus, they're waterproof.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
RE Don't forget houcharas on 12/02/2011 14:46:50 MST Print View

I've thought about them a few times. I wear Chacos and like them but they dry your feet out if you wear them too much. My friends found that out the hard way this summer!
I'm surprised with all the interest here in minimal shoes that I haven't heard more about the X-Country. In my opinion they fit a bit wider than similar Innov8 shoes like the 212. I tried those on but couldn't size upt enough to fit my feet in without ending up with a shoe that felt like a snowshoe. The La Sportivas are very similar but a bit wider.

Peter Rodrigues
(prodrigues) - F

Locale: New York
Minimalist shoe question on 12/02/2011 17:17:32 MST Print View


I do read his blog. Love the contrast with guy like Tony Krupicka, Karl Meltzer or Dave Mackey when it comes to shoe talk. Barefoot to Hokas.