Nearly two months into my journey of becoming a runner, I find myself in need of new shoes. Not unlike Cinderella, I have an old pair of shoes I always wear: 2-year-old Vibram KSO's that I love and are perform reliably well every time I get outside. In fact, tonight I was able to go out for a brisk run, concentrating on my form and turnover, and managed to run 1.75 miles with nearly an 8 minute/mile pace. This is the fastest I have run... possibly ever. These shoes have helped guide me to keep my bodyweight centered over my feet, avoid heel strike, and shorten my stride. Needless to say, I am struggling with the idea of replacing them, yet I am well aware the rainy season is soon to come over the horizon in multitudes of clouds and torrential downpours, and these shoes have so little tread, I tend to slip on wet surfaces (especially running downhill - and I deal with hills on a daily basis). So, I'm wondering if you, my fellow runners, readers, and bloggers, might have some advice to give if you've been assimilated into the "minimalist" running movement, and are enjoying your new-found foot freedom, as I am.
The important attributes I'm looking for in a shoe include:
- Super lightweight sole (I'm used to the Vibrams - and I really like that barefoot feeling).
- Enough room in the toe-box for my foot to spread out (my feet are a little on the wide side).
- A minimal sole, with good tread.
I've been encouraged toward the Brooks Pure Grit which looks amazing, but it might be a little narrow for my foot. I'm really curious how the Vibram BIKILA runs; I was able to try one on today, but the fabric in the upper feels more restrictive than my KSO. Again, I'm looking for more traction to reduce slippage on wet concrete as well as protect my feet when I run on more rough terrain (rocky trails). As far as the Vibram brand goes, I may end up trying out the most sporty looking shoe they have, the KOMODOSPORT LS, but I am not particularly fond of the toggle and drawcord system for tightening. I am surprised by the aesthetic of these barefoot shoes with toes; the tend to blend in with the traditional running shoes on the wall!
One last option I'm considering is Merrell. After their line of barefoot shoes recently hit the market, a buzz started, and I'm curious to try them out. Has anyone given the Barefoot Train Lithe Glove a try?
Now, I'm not half as barefoot as Cinderella was after her fancy ball, but I do feel unbalanced and wary considering whether to go back to the traditional tried and true running shoe of old (pre-minimal), or to move forward into the shiny new sporty shoe with toes, and see how my feet, legs, and body respond to distance running in such a bare-bones shoe. I intend to increase my mileage throughout the rest of 2012, and keep on running through Winter snows and Spring showers of next year, so a shoe investment is definitely in order.
Do you have any other "barefoot" shoe suggestions for me? What is your favorite shoe for distance running?
Thanks for your input in advance, and happy running!