Brooks PureConnect Men's Shoe April 2012 Color
To address the current trends toward “barefoot” and “minimalist” running, more and more shoe companies are providing options to meet the demand. Where on the barefoot-to-traditional shoe continuum product offerings fall varies from company to company. For Spring 2012, Brooks is introducing a line of shoes, under the heading PureProject, that slot between the midpoint of the continuum and the barefoot end. While the PureProject shoes may not be nearly barefoot (think Merrell Trail Glove or Saucony Hattori), they certainly reflect the less-is-more concept and provide a unique foot-fuction philosophy that should resonate with a lot of runners.
With the PureProject, Brooks brings forth 5 innovations to enhance the sensory aspect of running. 1. Ideal Heel uses a unique heel geometry, which reportedly results in the initial ground contact point occurring 2cm forward compared to traditional shoes. 2. Toe-flex utilizes a split-toe midsole/outsole configuration to better engage the big toe’s natural stability function at toe-off. 3. Nav Band hugs the midfoot with an elastic band for a secure fit. 4. Anatomical Last allows for the toes to splay during ground contact and allows the shoe to better follow the contours of the foot. 5. BioMogo DNA is a midsole blend that truly adapts to different ground forces, so the running experience is unique to the pace of the run; a softer feel exists at slower paces and a firmer feel is present at faster paces.
Leading the way in the PureProject is the PureConnect. This shoe is the most minimal of the shoes in the PureProject launch. With a 4mm heel-to-toe offset and a reported midsole height of 14:10 (14mm in the heel, 10mm in the forefoot), The PureConnect puts the runner close to the ground and delivers a great feel for the road. Specifications indicate a weight of 7.2 ounces for a men’s size 9.0 and 6.5 ounces for a women’s size 8.
The low weight, small heel-toe differential and adaptable midsole that firms up as the pace quickens combine to provide a unique sensory experience that is sure to hit the sweet spot for runners that seek a touch more protection than the nearly-barefoot shoes provide. If you love the Saucony Kinvara but find the Saucony Hattori to be too minimal, chances are good that the Brooks PureConnect will be in your closet next Spring.
The Brooks PureConnect has an MSRP of $90 and is expected to be available in our Running Warehouse, San Luis Obispo retail store in October 2011, while the online release of the shoe, www.runningwarehouse.com, is January 2012. Learn about the other shoes in the PureProject line (PureFlow, PureCadence, and PureGrit) in future blog posts.
Brooks PureConnect Women's Shoe October 2011 Color
Inov8 Bare-Grip 200
Now available at Running Warehouse
Inov8 was making minimalist trail shoes before it was hip to be minimal. A UK company, Inov8 (pronounced: innovate) was founded on the principle of providing trail shoes that would be engineered to work in extreme conditions. Unhappy with the unstable, high-off-the-ground trail shoes that were available in the market, Inov8 set out to provide trail shoes that were close to the ground and thus inherently stable. Furthermore, trail shoes needed to be able to provide excellent traction and shed mud. Think about the damp landscape of Great Britain seen in the movie Braveheart, and you get a good idea of the conditions that Inov8 sought to conquer with its first trail shoe.
The first shoe produced by Inov8, was the Mudroc 290. This award wining shoe is known as the original Fell Racer. Fell racing involves racing from here to there, without a course, and undoubtedly over some hills (fell is a word used to describe a hilly landscape in parts of England). As such, Inov8 trail shoes were originally designed to provide supreme traction on steep climbs and descents, while also being able to shed mud. Inov8 now has a full spectrum of trail shoes designed to tackle a variety of terrain, ranging from hard packed ground, to loose covered trail and soft, mushy fields.
Saucony Hattori Men's Shoe
For Fall 2011 Saucony looks to build on the success of their minimal lineup of shoes, lead by the Kinvara, with the introduction of the Hattori. The Hattori will be the most minimal shoe in the Saucony line and one that has its target squarely set on grabbing market share from various smaller shoe brands that have their own ideas on what constitutes a minimal shoe.
The new Hattori is a zero drop running shoe that sports a reported midsole height of 10 mm and weighs in at a reported 4.5 oz for a men’s size 9.0. The upper features ultralite mesh with synthetic exoskeleton lockdowns and soft suede overlays. A velcro closure replaces traditional laces and another velcro strap around the heel offers additional customized fit options. The midsole is made up of compression molded EVA that features XT-900 outsole compounds in key wear areas.
Being very light, extremely flexible and while 10mm may sound thick, the shoe is indeed quite thin, and is thus a viable option to runners seeking a more “barefoot” running experience. Additionally, the Hattori should prove a compelling offer to runners looking to transition from the 4mm heel-toe drop of the Kinvara, Mirage and new Cortana or as a different option for fans of minimalist shoes that are currently in the market. The release date for the Hattori has the shoes tentatively slated to be available at Running Warehouse on May 1, 2011. The new Hattori will have a list price of $80.