Natural Running

Innovate Bare-X 150 Review

It is so comfy... is it a slipper or is it a shoe

There is a ton that I love about the Inov-8 Bare-X 150, with only one little downside. The positives- Lightweight, roomy toe box, zero-drop, no tie lacing, look awesome, very durable, incredible comfortable. The downside...very little traction. All in all one of my favorite shoes yet.


The Inov-8 Bare-X weighs in at only 150g (hence the 150 in the name). I believe this makes the Inove-8 Bare-X 150 the lightest shoe produced by the Innovate company, and much lighter most other conventional, and minimalist running shoes.  

Zero Drop

The Bare series from Inov-8 all feature a zero-drop differential. this means that the heel is not raised higher than the forefoot, better accommodating a forefoot/midfoot landing while running. If you are new to zero-drop shoes, these shoes will likely require an adjustment period, but you are not getting any younger so their is no time like the present to adjust to a zero-drop shoe.


The single piece upper is perhaps my favorite feature of the Inov-8 Bare-X. The Inov-8 Bare-X are made to slide on like slippers, and are snug enough to not let your foot move around in the shoe with or without a gentle pull on the incredibly simple lacing system. so shoes simply slip on and off with ease, and there is no tying required. These are my go to shoes not just for running, but when I need to slip on a pair of shoes to take out the trash, or run to the store, or check the mail....Slip on...Slip off again. They are comfortable enough I have also been known to where them as my house slippers.


I was skeptical when I was first considering the Inov-8 Bare-X because of the lack of rubber on the outsole. I thought "an EVA outsole will never hold up to the trails I run." I was wrong. Thus far I have put in 400 miles with these shoes, 95% of which are on the trails of Marin County where I have made my home.

The outsole is lacking in traction which is no problem at all if used as intended....on paved surfaces, on trail these shoes will work, but an steep or muddy terrain you will want to tred lightly.

Toe Box

Innov-8 did well by making all their Bare series shoes with a nice wide, foot accommodating toe box. Other great shoes by Inov-8 such as the popular F-Lite series are not overly narrow, but I do appreciate the extra room afforded by the Bare-X.

Where to get the best deal on Innovate Shoes

I bought my Inov-8s at this sight offers great deals on all sorts of outdoor gear including innovates. By ordering from was able to purchase the Innovate Bare-X for $55. that is more that 50% off of the retail price of $120. Not to mention, if you sign up through this link, I will get $15 credit toward my next purchase.


Natural Running Clinic at MIT with Danny Abshire

Danny Abshire is the founder of Newton Running Shoes and the author of the book Natural Running (read my review). Here is a video of Danny Abshire teaching a Natural Running Clinic to MIT students. This is the most comprehensive explanation of natural running I have yet found on YouTube. [youtube=]

Newton Gravity Review


The Look

The first thing to notice about the new Newton Gravity is that it is now available in colors that you will want to wear. Though color is not the most important aspect of a shoe, it is certainly the first thing to get noticed. That being said, I love the green-on-black look of the newest line.

The Fit

The fit of the Newton Gravity is right on. Unlike the Newton MV2 the toe box is roomy and accommodating without letting the foot move around. These shoes fit wonderfully right out of the box and continued to remain comfortable until they were retired at 350 miles.

The Upper

The upper is a stylish and durable. with extra reinforcement in all the critical places. In particular I appreciate the additional stitching reinforcing the toe baox. I know I am not the only runner to have shoes have a blow out around the toes, and did I mention, now Newtons are available in colors you will want to wear.

The Weight

Weighing in at just over 9 ounces, the Newton Gravity is one of the heavier shoes I have reviewed.  Compared to the average running shoe it is on the lighter side, but compared to the Newton MV2 (about 6 ounces), the Newton Gravity is a beast, but this weight difference did not seem to slow me down, and the Newton Gravity Trainer lasted twice as many running miles as the Newton MV2 before critical fail.

The Outsole

The outsole features the classic Newton four lugs under the forefoot. These lugs raise the forefoot and provide comfort and protection under the forefoot where the foot of the natural runner will first contact the ground. Directly beneath each lug is a corresponding cutout in the midsole, this is what Newton has patented as their "Action-Reaction Technology," designed to return a small amount of energy with each stride. I am still unsure of my feelings on this Newton gimmick. I feel the best shoes are free of gimmicks, but the Newton gimmick is a gimmick in the right direction, encouraging a forefoot stride, rather than most previous gimmicks which were designed to make heel striking more comfortable.

The Differential

The Newton Gravity has a 3mm differential. This is less than most running shoes, however, as the champions of "natural running," I do wish that Newton would take a step forward and join Altra in dedicating to only making zero-drop shoes. Currently the only zero drop shoe sold by Newton is the MV2.

The Durability

From the moment I first wore the Gravity it became my go to shoe, and it remained my go to shoe for about 350 miles. I should qualify those miles. Nearly all of those 350 miles are trail miles, and the Newton Gravity shoes did not fail until I wore them for the Dipsea-Boy, an unofficial Trail-off trail adventure race. At some point during this race the glue holding the lugs part of the outsole to the midsole failed.

Unlike my experience with the Newton MV2, the upper remained in quality condition and would probably hold for hundreds of more miles.


Call for responses: I want to know what you think. Have you worn these shoes? Was your experience similar? Post questions and comments below.


LaSportiva Vertical K Review

[youtube] LaSportiva has long been known for their fantastic line of rock climbing shoes, and less known for their trail running shoes, but with the LaSportiva Vertical K that may be about to change.

LaSportiva has dubbed the Vertical K as not a trail running shoe, but a "mountain running shoe," and rightly so. The radical design of the Vertical K provides traction and rock protection that goes well beyond what a casual trail runner would require. This is not the shoe for a stroll through the woods, but for planting a flag at the top of a mountain and bombing back down the scree fields.


For being such a durable shoe, the LaSportiva Vertical K is surprisingly lightweight. At only about 7 ounces the weight of the Vertical K rivals that of the New Balance Minimus Trail as well as the Merrell Trail Glove.


To add to the list of surprising features of the vertical K is it's flexibility. From toe to heel, the vertical K folds over itself with ease. To a runner this means that your foot controls where the shoe bends rather than the shoe controlling how the foot bends.

Heel Drop

The LaSportiva Vertical K has a 4mm heel-toe differential. Not a large drop, but still not a zero drop shoe. At 4mm, the heel-toe drop of the Vertical K falls into similar company as the Nike Free 3.0, Brooks Pure series and the Saucony Kinvara.


I love the look of this shoe, but it is the functionality of the design that has shaped it's unique look. The design is based on what LaSportiva has dubbed MorphoDynamic Technology. The wave pattern on the bottom of the vertical K, provides not only incredible amounts of traction, but also contributes to the shoes being surprising flexible and lightweight.  This pattern combined with the particular softness of the foam used in the midsole also eli

minates the need for a rock plate, as the crevasses are deep enough and the foam soft enough to absorb the impact of sharp objects that a rock plate would usually protect against.

 The Upper

The one piece upper fits snuggly and holds the foot firmly in place with no rubbing or irritation on any particular part of the foot. The toe box is not incredibly roomy, but it is roomy enough that the edges don't blow out and the toes can wiggle. The entire upper is enveloped in a stylish Nylon wrap. The Nylon wrap seems to do little but to keep the laces tied and free of debris, but is stylish none the less.


This shoe is all about the traction. The traction of the vertical K is unmatched by nearly any shoe it the same weight class. The only other trail shoe I can think of that provides an equal amount of traction in a lightweight trail shoe is the Innovate X-Talon. The Frixionoutsole (LaSportiva's name for really sticky rubber) enhanced with durable lugs reinforces the vertical K as a true mountain running shoe.

Tech Specs From

WEIGHT: 7 oz/ 198 g

LAST: Dynamic Race

FIT: Medium - Wide

UPPER: AirMesh / Nylon® 4-way stetch gaiter / PU Leather external toe cap

LINING: Mesh (back half and tongue only)

MIDSOLE: MorphoDynamic™ Injection Molded EVA

MIDSOLE HEIGHT (MM): Heel:  18mm / Toe: 14mm / Delta H: 4mm


SOLE: Morphdynamic FriXion® XF / VA Wave

SIZES: 36-47.5 (half sizes)

COLOR: Black/Yellow



Purchase LaSportiva Vertical K from

Have you tried the Vertical K? What was your experience? Leave your comments below.

Natural Running Book Review

Though this book lacks the inspiring stories and colorful prose of born to run, it is definitely a suggested read for serious runners. Natural Running is not the most fun read, it read like a text book. Natural Running is after all written by a professional running expert rather than a professional author, but the content alone is enough to keep the reader interested and turning pages. The author, and founder of Newton Running Shoes, Danny Abshire, makes a strong argument for the importance of running with a gait that allows the foot to land beneath the runners center of mass. The reader will gain a better understanding of the mechanics of the foot, and how various foot strike patters affect the overall biomechanics of the body.

When first opening the pages of Natural Running, I was expecting a long infomercial on the qualities of Newton running shoes, and there was a touch of Newton promotion, but the book was much more informative than it was an advertisement. Interestingly enough, after reading Natural Running, in my mind, the ideal running shoe, far from being Newtons, which are full of gimmicks, would be Vibram Five Fingers, or better yet, no shoe at all.

Whether you believe that natural running is a fad, a trend, or a saving grace for runners, your knowledge of running is not complete until you have read this book.

Click Here To View Natural Running at

Newton Distance 2012 Review

If you liked the 2011 Newton Distance you are going to love the 2012 Newton Distance. The 2012 Newton Distance has all the things you liked about the 2011 model, but is now more lightweight, with a much sleeker profile. The Newton Distance is a natural running shoe that lives up to its namesake. This is a distance runners lightweight trainer. Light enough for the short runs, or even racing, but it is the sustained comfort over long distances that really makes this a distance runners shoe.

Zero Drop?

The near level profile of the Newton Distance promotes a natural forefoot stride. The willingness to create running shoes that do not have a raised heel is the defining feature allowing innovative shoe companies such as Altra and Newton to carve out a piece of the overcrowded running shoe market.

At 2mm, the heel-toe differential of the Newton Distance is half that of the Nike Free 3.0, the Brooks Pure, or even the first model of the New Balance Minimus, which all fell 4mm short of a zero drop shoe.

Unlike the Newton MV2 the, the Newton Distance is not zero drop, but with only a 2mm differential between the forefoot and the heel, they might as well be zero drop, which of course begs the question as to why they are not zero drop. (Perhaps like the Newton MV2, the Newton Distance could be made zero drop and ship with a 3mm insert to help transitioning for those not yet accustomed to a zero drop shoe.)


When it comes to running shoes, lighter is better. The 2012 Newton Distance weighs in at only 7.8 ounces, nearly an ounce lighter than the 2011 model.


If you have a near level profile, show it off. That is exactly what Newton has done in the 2012 model of the Newton Distance. In the 2012 model, Newton removed unnecessary EVA from around the heel of the shoe. This not only removed weight, but also made for a much sleeker looking shoe, and let's face it, looks do count.

If you are like me, you like your running shoes loud, and the Newton Distance is just this. With vibrant shouting colors these shoes get noticed, though I do wish that more color options were available.


The defining feature of a Newton outsole is the lugs beneath the forefoot. After decades of putting air pockets, and gel pockets, and springs and any number of other ridiculous features in the heels of running shoes, I applaud Newton in in placing protection under the forefoot where it is needed most. I did however find that I prefer the five lugs of the MV2 over the four lugs of the Newton Distance.


The lightweight mesh upper is very breathable, does not absorb water, and like I mentioned before, comes in screaming loud colors. One advantage the Newton Distance has over the Newton MV2 is the sidewall at the widest part of the foot. This somewhat stretchy sidewall allows for foot splay even for wider feet, and is durable enough to not blow out even with extended use.

Toe Box

Though not foot shaped, the toe box of the Newton Distance is generous and will allow even wide feet to splay without causing blisters or blowing out the sidewall


Comfort is the category where the Newton Distance really stands out, particularly for really long runs or races. The MV2 is sleeker, and more lightweight, but the Newton Distance trainer stays comfy even when passing mile 25.


Sizing is tricky with Newton shoes.  I am a size 1o.5. To get a proper fit with the MV2 I went with a size 11 and the toe box was still rather narrow. The Newton Distance however, seems to fit more to size, but you may wish to try them on before buying.

What I liked Most About the 2012 Newton Distance

  1. Only 2mm drop
  2. Lightweight
  3. Durable
  4. Comfortable
  5. Loud Colors

Things I would like to see in the 2013 Newton Distance:

  1. Zero drop (with insert for transitioning)
  2. standardized sizing
  3. More color choices


Shoes do not make the runner, but wearing the right shoe helps. The Newton Distance promotes proper natural running form, and that is why Newton is such a fast growing brand in the running world. The near level profile of the Newton distance encourages a midfoot/forefoot stride, but ultimately it is up to the runner to implement this natural running form.

Even as lightweight as the it is, the Newton Distance is still more shoe than I am accustomed to. For my shorter runs I prefer a the Newton MV2 over the Distance, for those really long runs the Newton Distance provides comfort unmatched by the barefoot shoes to which I am accustomed. This shouldn't be surprising, it is named the Newton Distance precisely because it is a shoe designed with those long distance runs in mind.

Buy the Newton Distance at

What was your experience with the Newton Distance Trainers? Leave your comments below.

Newton MV2 Review: The Goldilocks Shoe

The Newton MV2 is what I like to refer to as a "goldilocks shoe." The Newton MV2 strikes a nice balance between traditional running shoes and barefoot/minimalist shoes. The Newton MV2 is a lightweight, zero drop shoe, which encourages a natural midfoot/forefoot stride, but a reasonable midsole, as well as lugs placed under the forefoot, allow for more ground protection and a more comfortable ride for those long runs. By including the most important features of barefoot shoes with added forefoot protection has created an in between shoe that you may find to be just right.

About Newton Running

Before there was Born To Run, Danny Abshire, co-founder of Newton Running and author of Natural Running, recognized the importance of a natural, barefoot style, running gait. Armed with a proper understanding of running biomechanics, Danny Abshire set out to create a running shoe that encouraged natural running. This was the foundation for Newton Running.

Newton refers to the MV2 as a racing flat, however, being the most well cushioned shoe in my collection, it is the shoe I have chosen for the majority of my ultra marathon training.

Viva la Zero Drop!!!

The Newton MV2 is a true zero drop shoe. A zero drop shoe no difference between the height of the heel and the height of the forefoot. A minimal or zero drop differential is the most important feature of any natural running shoe.

In other popular zero drop shoes such as the Merrell Trail Glove, and Vibram FiveFingers,  zero drop is achieved by not including a midsole. Instead, producing a shoe that is just a level outsole connected to an upper. Newton has taken a different approach. Rather than eliminating the midsole, the heel is lowered part way, and lugs are included under the forefoot to raise the forefoot level with the heel height.

The Outsole

The distinguishing feature of the Newton MV2 outsole are the lugs beneath the forefoot. Unlike previous Newton models, the Newton MV2 features five lugs rather than four. I believe the idea was to put a lug beneath each metatarsal. beneath each lug is a hollow chamber which allows each lug to compress and then spring back, theoretically allowing for energy return from the shoe. This is what Newton refers to as its patented action/reaction technology.

In my first hundred miles in these shoes I did not notice that this special piece of engineering provided any competitive advantage, but I did notice that the simple act of having the lugs beneath the forefoot, provided the forefoot with more forefoot protection from the ground than in most traditional running shoes, while simultaneously slightly raising the forefoot to create a zero drop shoe.

The Midsole

The midsole of the Newton MV2  provides more cushion than barefoot shoes such as Vibram FiveFingers, which have no midsole. A more cushioned shoe provides a comfortable ride over long distances, however, this also means that your foot is less able to retrieve feedback from the ground. Less ground feel allows the foot to be in contact with the ground for a longer period, producing a less efficient stride.

This being said, the midsole of Newton Mv2 strikes a good balance between barefoot shoes and more traditional running shoes. Offering comfort and protection for those long runs, while still encouraging natural, barefoot style, running form.

The Upper

The upper of the Newton MV2 is a thin synthetic mesh. Thin enough that you can see through it when held up to the light. But this pours lightweight material is also very durable. After 100 miles of rocky trails (which the Newton MV2 was not designed for), the upper, though no longer sparkly white, is still in perfect shape.


Weighting in at only 5.8 ounces the Newton MV2 is lightweight for a racing flat, and it makes for an amazingly lightweight training shoe.

The Sizing

The Newton MV2 has a particularly narrow toe box. Unless you have a foot shaped like a missile, consider purchasing a half size larger. Though a narrow toe box is not a deal breaker, Newton Reps, if you are reading this, I do wish you would consider a toe box that is foot shaped.

Transitioning to a Zero Drop Shoe

Most runners are accustomed to traditional running shoes with an excessive heel-toe differential. This has left left most runners with muscle imbalances in the lower leg that can cause injury if transitioning to quickly to a zero drop shoe. Should you transition to a zero drop shoe? Yes, however, read this guide to ensure that your transition goes smoothly without injury.

Would I recommend the Newton MV2 to a friend?

As a natural running advocate, I strongly encourage the use of a lightweight zero drop shoe, to encourage a barefoot like running gait. The drawback to most lightweight zero drop barefoot/minimalist shoes is the lack of forefoot protection.  The Newton design fixes this problem making the Newton MV2 ideal for the experienced and efficient natural runner interested in longer training runs. For less experienced runners, this shoe is probably best utilized as Newton suggests, only for shorter training runs and races.

Have you run in these shoes? What was your experience? How does it stack up against other shoes? Leave your comments below.

Altra Adam Minimalist Running Shoe Review

[youtube] For those of you that just want the low down and would rather skip the details, I LOVE THIS SHOE! This is the shoe that will replace my Merrell Trail Gloves for the foreseeable future. The Altra Adam is a true zero drop, lightweight, flexible, minimalist shoe with a great ground feel, and a very spacious toe box, whats not to love. Want to know more? keep reading.

There are four primary features I look for in a minimalist shoe.

      1. Zero Drop
      2. Ground Feel
      3. Flexibility
      4. Toe Box

Zero Drop

The Altra Adam is a true zero drop shoe. This is one of the things I love about the Altra company. Altra is dedicated to producing zero drop shoes. Zero drop refers to the height differential between the heel and the forefoot. In a zero drop shoe the differential is zero. In other words, the heel height and forefoot height are even. In my opinion, the closer to zero drop the better.

A true zero drop shoe such as the Altra Adam best replicates the natural running form present when running barefoot for the obvious reason that when barefoot the heel is not lifted. By contrast to the Altra Adam, the New Balance Minimus has a 4mm heel-toe differential. The Nike Free 3.0 heel-toe drop is 7mm.

Altra AdamGround Feel

The Altra Adam has an amazing amount of ground feel. The 3mm outsole allows the feet to feel and react to the terrain while still providing adequate protection from sharp or otherwise dangerous objects. The trade off with ground feel is that after a certain number of miles your feet are likely to become sore from not having that familiar cushion between your foot and the ground. As I primarily run on trails, I found I could get in about 12 miles before the ground became uncomfortable. Road running is much more forgiving in this respect. If you prefer a little less ground feel, the Altra Adam comes with an two variety of insoles, each of which provides a little more protection, and a little less ground feel. If you want even less ground feel Altra has a whole line of zero drop shoes, such as the Altra Instict, that are not as lightweight and flexible, but do include a midsole.


The Altra Adam weighs in at under five ounces making it lighter than the Merrell Trail Glove (6.2 oz), or New Balance Minimus (7 oz), or even the Vibram FiveFingers KSO (5.7 oz). The lighter the shoe the more efficient each stride and less torque on the joints. The featherweight quaility of these shoes makes them amazing for speed work, especially on the track.

Toe Box

When you first see the Altra Adam you immediately recognize that the toe box is shaped a little different than most running shoes. Altra took the novel approach of making the toe box shaped like a foot. Not so much like a foot that you need special toe socks, but enouigh like a foot that the toes are allowed to naturally splay without being impeded by the side walls of the shoe. The roomy toe box of the Altra Adam make it amongst the most comfortable shoes I have worn. If fact, I got the Altra Adam to run in, but have found myself wearing them as my everyday running around shoes as well.

These are the most important features that make up a minimalist shoe, but there are other features that will probably interest you as well.


I found the Altra Adam fit true to size. In the past I have taken to wearing a half size larger for a little extra room in the toebox. The already roomy toe box of the Altra Adam make this unnecesary.


This is the only department were I found the Altra Adam to be lacking. In most running scenarios this is not a big deal, but when running down a steep hill in the mud a little more traction would be nice. This of course is another factor that would alter ground feel.


rather than laces the Altra Adam has two velcro straps. These shoes fit my foot so well I actually found these straps to be unessesary as the semi-elastic upper mesh held the shoe snuggly in place.

Socks or no socks?

Strangely enough, I get this question often. Just as with any other shoe, I strongly suggest that you wear socks. No socks = stinky shoes = less friends. Don't like how socks hold in moisture? Try Smartwool.

About Transitioning to Zero Drop Shoes

If this is your first pair of zero drop shoes you will want to take some time to transition. Most importantly you will first want to ensure that you are running with a natural forefoot stride and maintaining good natural running form. If you are not sure if you are doing this consider hiring a natural running coach such as myself. If you are not in the Bay Area, check out the Altra Learn to Run Initiative.

Even if you have perfected natural running in a shoe with a raised heel, when transitioning to a zero drop shoe you will likely notice your calves will become more sore than you are acustomed to. There is nothing wrong with this, they are simply deconditioned and will take some time to recondition themselves to running naturally.

Start with just a few miles per week with the zero drop shoes and slowly add more milage as is comfortable. Just like with any other kind of training doing to much to fast will lead to injury. If you do not want to sacrifice mileage while you transition, supplement mileage with the shoes you are most accustom taking extra care to maintain a short stride and avoid heel striking.

Order Altra Adam from

Have you tried the Altra Adam or Eve? leave your comments below.


Double Dipsea Race Review

Today I ran my first trail race, and not just any trail race, the Double Dipsea. For those that have never heard of the Dipsea, is a bay area tradition. That can be traced all the way back to 1905. This grueling 7.4 mile trail race begins in Mill Valley and finishes in scenic Stinson Beach, but not before tackling more than 4300 ft in elevation change.

The Double Dipsea tackles this trail twice, begining in Stinson Beach 7.4 miles to the turnaround in Mill Valley and back to Stinson Beach. At about 14 miles (depending on the shortcuts you choose) this is not the longest race I have run, but the nearly vertical hills make this race a challenge for even for the most confident of runners.

My experience with the Double Dipsea was exhilarating. Not only is this an absolutely gorgeous course, but the history and challenge of this course will definitely getting me coming back.

With the staggered start, I began the race about 1 hour after the first runner. the first 3 miles or so is all up hill. Being a faster runner I soon found myself in trail traffic, but trafic was eased by any number of potential routes. Being a newbie on the course I generally just followed whoever looked like they knew where they were going.

Upon reaching the top of the first climb I welcomed the downhill, but dreading the uphill that must follow. The down hill sections I found were made easier by running the long way. It seemed all the short cuts and the trail itself were quite congested. I chose to follow the fire road so that I could simply let fly.

The next ascent was nice as the steep sections are broken up by a road that is on a much less severe incline. Then down the infamous Dipsea Steps. I didn't count them all, but there are definitely more than 600, and it defiantly seems like 1000 when you are on your way back up.

Despite feeling lost in all the trail options on the way back to Stinson Beach, I managed to achieve a spectacular time of 2:00:24.

For those interested I wore my Merrell Trail Gloves. I now have 700 miles on them and they are still going strong.

Have you run the Dipsea, Double Dipsea, or even Quad Dipsea? What strategy helped you?

Free the Heel: Viva La Zero Drop

I found this video from the Natural Running Store that demonstrates the benefits of a zero drop shoe in a lighthearted and easy to understand way. [youtube=]

Thank you Natural Running Store keep up the good work.

Low Cost Minimalist Running Shoes: A Van's Review

Everything I look for in a minimalist shoe is just beneath my feet

Two years ago I bought a my first pair of Vans. I paid six dollars for them at a thrift store in Berkeley. At the time I had never even considered Vans as a viable choice for a running shoe. As a crew leader for the northwest youth corps I was to spend a few months camping and I was looking for a comfortable slip on slip off shoe to wear when not wearing OSHA required 7 inch leather work boots. The shoes survived 3 months in the back country with barely any blemishes. In those three months I fell in love, so I have been wearing my Van's pretty much everyday since then. Tonight, for the first time I decided to were my Van's during my speed workout with the Tamalpa Club. Two words, Amazing. Okay, so just one word. I was blown away by how comfortable it is to run in my Van's. Then during my second mile repeat I began to analyze them, and it turns out that my six dollar Van's have all the key features that one should look for in a Minimalist shoe.

No Raised Heel

The toe to heel differential is Zero, it doesn't get any better than that.

Thin flexible sole

The sole is only millimeters thick. I may not be able to pick up toothpicks with my toes while wearing these shoes, but I can certainly feel changes in the terrain beneath my feet. Granted, I have had my Van's for two years, and I bought them used, so they are quite broken in, but I have no doubt that a new pair is nearly as thin and flexible.

Wide toe-box

There is plenty of room up there, vans are obviously designed for comfort.

No unnecessary support features



Okay, they could be lighter, but they are no heavier than a traditional running shoe. I didn't weigh them, but I estimate about 11 ounces. The pair that I am reviewing is made from waterproofed leather. Not the lightest material, but it has withstood the test of time. That brings me to my next point, the thing i look for in any shoe, or any apparel I buy... durability.


These are typically my everyday shoes. this means that I have work them hiking, hooping, playing flag football, dancing and pretty much any other activity you can imagine me doing in my everyday life, but not until tonight did I wear them purely as a running shoe. This means in purely running miles these shoes only have 7 miles on them. However, I should remind you that these shoes have lasted at least two years of everyday wear and tear, including three months in the back country. We must also keep in mind that I bought the shoes used. The shoes are no longer Sunday shoes but by all in all they have held up very well. Having newly discovered their awesomeness as a low cost minimalist shoe, I will continue to run in them (at least until my Merell trail gloves arrive in the mail) and I will keep you updated as to how the feel after two or three hundred miles.

Final feeling on Van's as a minimalist running shoe... they are great. they probably won't be my primary pair but they make an amazing back up pair, and are perfect for anybody that is just beginning barefoot or minimalist running, or those looking for a low cost minimalist shoe.

I have a sneaky suspicion that converse all-stars are also great minimalist shoes, and I also know that there are lots of them out there, so if any of you have tried Converse all-stars as a running shoe, I would love to post your review on

Run Happy, Levi