Left to right: Inov-8 Roclite 275 GTX Trail, New Balance WR00 Minimus Running shoe, and New Balance WT10 Minimus Trail Running Shoe. P.S. Thanks to John for setting up a mini-studio and taking pictures of my shoes for me.
I started running in earnest about a year ago. To begin with I ran in my old and tattered hiking shoes, and the first run was on a cold and rainy January night. I was exhausted by the end, I didn’t run very fast, and I was sort of wet despite my rain gear and hiking shoes. However, it set the bar so any run after that couldn’t be as bad as the first!
After a couple of months I decided I was staying with this running things, and sprung for a pair of real running shoes. Heavily influenced by Elise’s posts on running and her experiences with different brands, I decided on New Balance. Unlike her road running shoes, I really felt the trail running style would suit me best. These are forefoot running shoes, which is the style of running I had started with in the first place as well.
I love my trail running shoes (NB Minimus WT10). They’re black and pink (which matches my rain pants and their crazy pink zippers), and they are incredibly flexible. The day they arrived I just wore them around the house, and I remember being blown away that I could *feel the details of the threshold through my shoes*! Even walking with them for a few days before running was an interesting experience. I was noticing so much more of the surface I was walking on, and was way more aware of how I was moving my foot, and in turn – how I was moving my body. Following that up with running was more of the same – much more of an awareness of the ground, and especially when running I was experiencing a bigger capacity of adjusting my balance in reaction to the surface. For example, I was running in the woods one day and hit a largeish rock towards the side instead of straight at the top, but it was ok! I just adjusted my foot and my ankle and the rest of my body, and that off-balance step didn’t throw me off balance.
Right after I bought my next pair of shoes, my chiropractor told me my body wouldn’t handle running long-term very well, since a childhood hip-thing led to a knee-pain, and so my running career was over as I was getting into it. I’m replacing it with biking, which means much less impact on the knees and hips, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t sorry about not being able to be a runner. In the big picture it’s pretty insignificant, so I’m not remorseful though.
The second pair I bought was another New Balance minimus pair, this time a road style (NB Minimus WR00). We went to the New Balance store in Boston, and I was expecting a Target-sized store with millions of pairs of shoes lining the walls (well, maybe not Target-sized, but pretty big. Everything in the US is big, right?). That store in Boston is not big. It does not have a million pairs of shoes. Unfortunately, I wasn’t too into the trail styles they had there. I tried a super-minimal style, where the amount of material between the foot and the surface was almost nothing, and definitely on the extreme end of minimal style running shoes), but that was too minimal for me. I was quite set on buying shoes that day though, so I left with the road style pair. The biggest difference I notice from the trail to the road style is that the negative space at your arch is filled in on the road style. To me that means that the flexibility in the middle of the shoe is somewhat limited, as in I don’t rotate or roll as easily from side to side while running since the direction is definitely guided forward from heel to front. It makes sense for the surface its intended for: With running on trails there will be a lot of variety in where you step, but the smooth surface of roads and pavements doesn’t encourage the foot touching down in a myriad of ways. With the repetition, some more stability and support is probably needed. Of course, I’m saying this as a complete novice, based only on my own experiences using these shoes.
Side notes: the Minimus Trail is somewhat water-resistant, but the mesh at the top will eventually get wet. The Road is not waterproof or water-resistant what so ever – even wet streets are too much for them. They are very breezy, so I’d think they’d be excellent in warmer weather, just not so good in cold weather. Finally, I’ve used both pairs sockless without issues. I don’t think I would try several hours in them without socks, since there are spots that do rub, but generally, sockless is fairly painless.
Fast forward to the near past, and I was finally ready to upgrade my hiking shoes. I’m pretty sure they were well over 10 years old, and they’ve been great, but are no longer any kind of waterproof. Which is something I now desperately needed since there was a gap between my running shoes that were great for hiking when nothing was wet, and my rainproof Wellies that were not so good for hiking. I went in to the store and declared my needs (waterproof hiking shoes I can hike the surrounding mountains with, that are flexible like my forefoot running shoes), and this is what I landed with (Inov-8 Roclite 275 GTX Trail). They look like funky 80s neon space silver sami shoes to me, but they are all goretexed and pretty light and flexible as far as hiking shoes goes – and that really was what I was looking for. Annnnnd… that was the tale of my shoes. Riveting, I know!
From Me-made-may last year, taking the trail running shoes for their first real hike. The me-made part were the bright lime-green yoga-ish pants.