While barefoot and minimalist shoes are the rage in the running world right now, it’s not like you can buy a pair of these things and head out for a 5-mile run. You have to start slow and slowly work your way back to your regular distances. Go too far too fast and your feet are going to hurt.
This “training in” period is pretty standard, but a local running shoe company hopes to change that starting this month.
Tomorrow Bothell-based Brooks Sports will launch what it calls the PureProject, a line of lightweight barefoot shoes.
“What’s unique is that we’ve done this in a way that is healthy for the runner,” said Carson Caprara, a Brooks manager. “They aren’t simply lightweight. They help align the body so you can use them for all your training right away. … If you run 20 miles a week in a traditional shoe right now, you can do that right away in these shoes.”
Caprara says Brooks spent 1.5 years developing the PureProject line which went on sale Oct. 1.
The shoes don’t have the distinctive foot glove look of Vibram’s FiveFinger shoes. In fact, they look an awful lot like standard running shoes.
The differences from traditional shoes are more subtle. A split toe allows the big toe to move independently. Brooks claims the anatomical shape and an elastic strap over the instep gives a precise fit. The 4-milimeter sole gives you a barefoot feel without totally removing the cushioning. And the narrow heel is designed to align your center of gravity for a healthier stride.
“So many casual runners over stride because that’s how so many of us were taught to run as kids,” Caprara said. “This (not over striding) can greatly reduce injuries.”
The PureProject shoes weigh as little as 6.5 ounces for women and 7.2 ounces for men and sell for $90-120 at brooksrunning.com.