Everyday it seems the running shoe market is growing larger. The walls of your local running store are probably overflowing with the “newest and greatest” minimal shoe. So how do you choose from this glut of lightweight shoes? We at SKORA have amassed quite a bit of knowledge in the last few years from designing and developing our shoes, and we wanted to share some of that knowledge with you.
There are ten major characteristics that we’ve identified that should be considered when purchasing a pair of minimalist kicks.
1. Lightweight – Pick up your average running shoe. Now pick up a minimalist shoe. Feel the difference? Every ounce of weight in your shoe adds weight to your foot and your stride.
2. Flexibility – When you run, is your foot able to flex and bend naturally? Or is the sole so stiff you feel like you’re clomping along? The more flexible the shoe, the stronger your feet will get the and more your stride will improve.
3. No artificial support – This just adds weight (see point 1) and masks your stride, meaning it’s easier to get injured because you are not as aware of your bodies cues.
4. No artificial stability – Like artificial support, increased stability takes you farther from your natural stride and makes it more difficult to run naturally and efficiently.
5. Minimal cushioning – The layers of thickness and cushioning in contemporary running shoes are a modern concept. Adding this extra cushioning just means you’re more likely to run into overuse injuries. So look for shoes with a thin yet firm midsole.
6. Zero-drop – Zero-drop means the shoe maintains the same thinness from toe to heel. A zero-drop shoe most closely mimics a barefoot stride.
7. Wide toe-box – This gives your toes the freedom to land naturally. Since your feet swell as you run, this leaves a realistic amount of space for your foot to grow comfortably throughout and still have freedom of movement.
8. Thin-soled – Like zero-drop, this allows your feet to feel the ground and react accordingly.
9. Rubber outsole with good traction & durability – These features ensure more of ease of running over a variety of surfaces, wet and dry.
10. Adjustable lacing and heel lock-in straps – These features encourage the closest and best fit of the shoe to your foot, minimizing the risk of rubbing or sliding.
So there you have it, folks. From our brains to yours, the best features to look for in a minimalist shoe. Until of course, you can get your hands on a sweet pair of SKORA’s.