Much to the surprise to many of us in the minimalist running community, shoe manufacturer Brooks has announced its intention to listen to the market and produce a minimalist line of shoes. (Though I should point out they were very cautious not to use the term "minimalist running shoe.") This is most surprising due to a 2010 open letter from the CEO of Brooks in defense of bulky stability trainers. After hiring a market research team, or reading the comments posted at the beneath the aforementioned open letter, Brooks has decided that there is a market for minimalist shoes, and regardless of their drawbacks or benefits is willing to produce a shoe that millions of people will buy. I applaud Brooks on this noble move.
To avoid commiting to a minimalist shoe, the author of the announcement referred instead to a shoe that allowed more "feel" and less "float."
"Float" I assume is referring to excess cushion, and "feel" I gather refers to the lack of.
Regardless of what they may call it, I am excited to hear that Brooks will attempt to produce a minimalist option. though there are lots of great minimalist shoes currently on the market, admittedly the market could use more competition. On a similar note, Brooks has also promised to make these shoes less expensive.
"Our glaring opportunity is to create a new product line designed from the ground up to provide the runner with an incredible feel experience. “Less is more” has become the design philosophy of many brands in the market right now that are chasing the minimal trend. The hard part about that for us is that we don’t feel that “less is more” is a great consumer proposition. It is no doubt an uplifting life philosophy, but a product promise? Runners shouldn’t have to pay more for less technology. We want to build a better, biomechanically sound product in a lighter package that allows the runner to feel more with less."
I do hope that Brooks is brave enough to drop the heel rather than drop the ball like Nike's attempt at a minimalist shoe, the Nike Free. If they can commit to including all the key elements of a minimalist shoe look for a runnaturally.org review in 2012.