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October 2016

Barefoot Running—Almost

By Kelly Tokarz

Just in time for New York Marathon training, a new trend in fitness is hitting the streets. Say hello to barefoot running. Benefits include improved posture and strength, better running form, and increased flexibility. That’s all well and good, but seriously, to be literally barefoot in the park? Scary. Here, the top 5 brands making barefoot running shoes—the flexibility and feel of running barefoot with obvious protection:

Vibram FiveFingers KSO
Pros:
• Mesh top layer breathes while keeping out debris
• Ridged, ultra-thin sole adds protection against most training terrains and conditions
• Can be worn for most athletic activities
Cons:
• No added grips, making running on slick surfaces somewhat challenging
• Sizing can be unpredictable, dependent on toe size and foot structure
Verdict for Vibram FiveFingers KSO:
Perfect for cross-training; feel the grass underfoot, not the gravel
Buy Vibram FiveFingers KSO, $85, at vibramfivefingers.com

Vibram FiveFingers Bikila
Pros:
• Flexible, with full-foot coverage
• Strategically placed grips for added control
• Adjustable strap
Cons:
• Feels less “barefoot” than other Vibram FiveFingers models
• Doesn’t accommodate socks easily (tip: go up 1 size when buying if planning to wear toe socks)
• Available colors are less fashionable than other Vibram models
Verdict for Vibram FiveFingers Bikila:
For the serious runner—makes running on most surfaces easy and safe while coming as close to the barefoot running experience as possible
Buy Vibram FiveFingers Bikila, $100, at vibramfivefingers.com

Terra Plana Vivobarefoot Evo
Pros:
• Ultra-thin, puncture-resistant sole
• Lace-up for easy adjustability
• Accommodates socks but still breathable enough to wear without
• Available in yellow, black, and blue
• Eco-friendly—100% vegan
Cons:
• Sizing runs true to size until size 9; sizes 9 and up, order one size down
Verdict for Terra Plana Vivobarefoot Evo:
The feel of running barefoot with the comfort and style of a traditional sneaker; and the 3 mm sole, including antibacterial layer and insole, feels like a foot massage while allowing for heightened awareness of the running surface
Buy Terra Plana Vivobarefoot Evo, $160, at terraplana.com

Newton Distance U
Pros:
• Colorful and stylish with a traditional-sneaker look
• Pads on soles adjust running form and promote better posture
• Breathable upper mesh sole gives the option of sock-free running
• Adaptable to a person’s custom orthotic inserts
Cons:
• Considerably less-flexible sole than most minimalist running shoes
Verdict for Newton Distance U:
Ideal for barefoot-running beginners
Buy Newton Distance U, $155, at americanrunningcompany.com

Inov-8 Terroc 308
Pros:
• Provides the same protection as traditional sneakers
• Stylish design
• Fits true to size
• Thinner sole than traditional running shoes
Cons:
• Only slightly less heel padding than traditional sneakers
• Only one major flexibility joint
Verdict for Inov-8 Terroc 308:
If you’re just taking this barefoot running trend for a test drive, play it safe with this shoe
Buy Inov-8 Terroc 308, $99, at zappos.com

Kigo Curv
Pros:
• Flexible soles and ridged grips for movement and control
• Eco-friendly—made of post-consumer and biodegradable elements
• Mary Jane style, 6 color options
• Great for everyday wear
Cons:
• Less protective top layer than other similar models
Verdict for Kigo Curv:
For breathable and eco-friendly, Kigo is it! And at 5 oz per pair, you’ll forget you’re not actually barefoot!
Buy Kigo Curv, $69.99, at kigofootwear.com

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Step into the World of Barefoot Running

Watch the video to see the benefits of barefoot running shoes over regular sneakers in action.

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2 Responses to “Barefoot Running—Almost”
  1. adidas says:

    I love sports, I love nature, I love the Vibram Five Fingers!

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