Barefoot running has always intrigued me. Maybe intrigue isn't the right word. I've always been curious, but in a kind of, "did you guys know that they make real shoes?" kind of way. Sure, I would be interested in trying a pair of minimalist shoes just to see what the fuss was about, but I wasn't about to pay $100+ just to relearn how to run.
And then I was contacted by OnlineShoes.com, who offered me the chance to try out a pair of minimalist shoes from Merrell. Oh, they're free? Then, yes. Yes, I'm interested. I tried out the Merrell Bare Access Arc in the very fancy color of Adriatic. Um, that's blue for you people who don't speak Crayola 64. They have a 0mm heel to toe drop (AKA, no chunky heel) and they weigh less than five ounces. That's really, really noticeable. They are incredibly light to hold in your hand and to wear on your feet.
My first reaction was that they looked a little...not fast. Yeah, I know, I'm far from the epitome of fast and shouldn't be talking. But they have a rounded front that is not at all what I expected, so aesthetically I wasn't impressed. I know it's not supposed to be about how the running shoes LOOK, but there you go.
I was tempted to just toss them on and go for a run, but then I remembered that that's the worst idea ever. I read up on how to transition to barefoot running. I'm not going to pretend to be an expert, but I will say that my first run in them was half a mile, and it took me a while to transition to beyond a full mile. If you are interested in the transition, here are some expert links: Active, Huff Post and Harvard.
Final opinion of the shoe: I would not recommend them unless you are dealing with chronic injuries that you haven't had success treating any other way, or maybe if you want to gain some speed in short distances. Honestly, I can't imagine wearing these for a long run. Even after a long, slow transition, I still get slight pains in the Achilles tendon area after frequent use. But, I look forward to trying them out for an upcoming mile race or maybe even a 5k. Since they force you to run on the ball of your foot, it feels natural to get into that sprinting mentality and pick up the pace.
So, free shoes? I got mine. Want a pair too? Head over to this voting contest - your vote will be your entry into the contest for a free pair of Merrell shoes (up to $110 value).
Now, um....I hate to influence your vote here. No, I'm lying. The point of writing this is to influence your opinion. If you have ever read the very funny Detroit Runner, then you might want to vote for him! There are only four people in this contest (for who best lives the Merrell lifestyle) and I'd love him to win. So, go over there and do your good deed for the day. If it nets you a free pair of shoes, so be it, right?
Have you ever tried barefoot running? Anyone have any tips to share about the transition?
Before this, I had never tried it. Honestly, I'm happy I gave it a try but I'm not sure that it made much of a difference for me, primarily because I didn't have any stride issues, knee pain, etc. to start with.
Do you wear the same shoes for all your runs?
Right now, yes. I always have. I rarely have more than one kind of shoe on the go, and if I do it's two of the same pair. However, I felt faster in these (probably because they are so light) and I think I'll make it a habit of wearing a lighter shoe for these short races - although not necessarily a minimalist shoe.
I received a pair of Merrell running shoes for free courtesy of Onlineshoes.com, but the review is my own. Got that, FTC? Good.