I have a far more introspective blog entry that I should be writing about courage and confidence, but instead, I'm going to do a first impression shoe review.
At Ski Rack (www.skirack.com), I got to play around with some of the new minimalist shoes on the market. My requirements? Small difference between heel and toe, low profile heel cup and otherwise no bells and whistles. Perhaps this was an overreaction to my failure of a shoe purchase earlier this Fall, but after two months of struggling through a neutral cushioned shoe that made every run feel awkward, I was ready to head back to a simpler shoe. I had previously fallen in love with the New Balance 737, but as with some love affairs, New Balance crushed me by pulling it off the market. The 737 was light and simple, perfect for someone like me, who basically needs something to protect my soles and not much else.
I tried the Kinvara first and was immediately impressed with the level of comfort. I also tried an offering by Brooks and by Pearl Izumi. The Brooks shoe was a unisex shoe and felt too boxy for me. I like to have a good feel of the road and feel secure in a shoe, so I nixed that offering. The Pearl Izumi had a narrow fit, which didn't feel great on my super high arch. After trying the Kinvara again, I decided to go with it, adding a bright orange shoe to my collection.
My major concern was whether my feet would freeze in the highly vented shoe. To my surprise, my feet were completely comfortable, even on an extremely cold and windy Sunday night test run. All told, the shoe was a hit. I felt light and efficient and for the first time since surgery, like running was a natural choice for me. As others have noted about the switch to a more minimal shoe, my calves were a little sore, but no more than usual for me. I did notice that my feet were much more sore than normal after the 8 miler. Overall, however, the fit was great out of the box and besides needing some adaptation time, I think these are going to be an awesome shoe for me.
Of note, for runners in the Burlington area, Ski Rack is competitive on price for this shoe, coming in less than Roadrunner Sports and of course, is one of our local options. The service is great too and the ability to return a shoe without a lot of hassle if it just doesn't work out is worth it, at least in my estimation.