Often people confuse the these two types of shoes, because both are lighter than your typical training shoe.
However, there are key differences to consider when looking at options.
Typically racing flats are very snuggly fit.
Fast paces may mean your foot could move around in the shoe more, so a snug fit is helpful in shoes designed for race pace running.
Minimal shoes, on the other hand, are typically designed to have ample room in the toe-box to allow for proper toe-splay and not constrict the foot at all.
One of the hallmark traits of a minimal shoe is its ability to be rolled up into a ball.
Racing flats, on the other-hand, are often quite stiff, which may help with running economy.
Minimal shoes almost always have a completely flat sole from heel to toe. If not, the height difference is typically less than 4mm.
The footbed ramp angle in racing flats varies from 6 to 10+ mm of differential, depending on the specific model.
Like thinner footbeds are a key trait of minimal shoes, lightness is a key trait of racing flats.
However, with minimal shoes, overall weight is not nearly as important when designing. They are often lighter because there is less sole, but this is not always the case.
The reduced weight of racing flats means the durability is likely also reduced. Racing flats are meant to be worn exclusively for races and race simulation workouts, such as speedwork or long runs near race pace.
Minimal shoes are meant to be worn whenever the wearer feels like it. Coffee shop, gym, trails, track workouts, it makes no difference.
The FIT and TEMPO models are more cushioned, thus have traits of both shoe types. TEMPO could be considered a zero drop racing flat, as it’s moderately cushioned but lighter than your typical training shoe.
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