Something happened this past week that we thought you might be interested in hearing about. Outdoor Retailer Summer Market (aka ORSM) occurred in Salt Lake City (and surrounding mountain glory). Yours truly was there as an exhibitor for kigo footwear (small fact, I’m a co-founder of kigo – which is why you’ll never find me doing minimalist shoe reviews here… but I digress.) I thought you might find it interesting to learn that minimalist footwear was one of the top trends at the show.
Are you sitting? This is a PARTIAL list of the minimalist shoe companies that exhibited at ORSM – in no partial order:
- kigo footwear
- Merrell Barefoot
- Vibram Five Fingers
- Terra Plana Vivobarefoot
- New Balance
- Invisible Shoes
- ZEM Gear
That is THIRTEEN companies, and I’m sure that I missed one or two. All different types (sandals, running, lifestyle, kids, split toe, green, non green, running specific, big, small, etc etc) My point? We’re in the midst of a full-fledged minimalist revolution.
The very busy week kicked off with what is called Demo Day. It is a day of outdoor fun where Standup Paddleboard (SUP), kayak, surf, and other outdoor companies can show their wares in use on water and land. The day kicked off with a trail run (race, as it turned out) sponsored by TrailRunner Magazine and HellyHanson (with great schwag from them, Nathan and SkullCandy) – this was fun stuff. As a shoe girl and runner both, there was no way I was missing the race. Good call. It was a sight to behold. Gorgeous run in the mountains overlooking a lake that was sparkling in the early morning sunshine. But as anyone who runs trail knows, you spend most of your time looking at the ground in front of you. What I saw was an appropriate start to the week ahead, viewing the revolution unfold.
There were no less than 60% of the runners in the trail race wearing minimalist shoes.
Not kidding. And they were all different. And the runners wearing them had great form in varying shapes and sizes – one woman literally tip-toed (very quickly) the whole race. Most of us had a nice forward lean, quick turnover and consistent mid- to fore- foot strike. Amazing. Almost made me forget the mountains and lakes.
All of you diligent, intellectual, careful readers have done this. You have shown the general consumers and the large and small footwear manufacturers that allowing your feet to move naturally is good for your body, it is an incredibly efficient way to move, and it is fun! They are listening.
All I would ask is that you continue to think about what you’re doing, listen to your body and focus on your form, just as you’re encouraged to do totally barefooted.
And when you see your friends joining the revolution, encourage them to go slow, wear minimalist (or no) shoes as much as they can in their daily life to strengthen and lengthen the critical muscles and ligaments (shameless plug for kigo here), and to spend just a bit of dinero on a book that can help them transition safely.
As leaders of the revolution, you have your work cut out for you. You can do it. Now run along and bare your sole (sorry.), teach by example and enjoy every moment!