As promised , I finally put shoe to pavement (well, more like hard-packed dirt) this weekend. Before I get in to my review of the Puma Faas 250 Trail Shoe, let me start by saying that I have several friends (and one physical therapist) who are big fans of the minimalist running movement.
And, for good reason. There's a lot of good science supporting it, and no real rebuttal to Christopher McDougall's book " Born to Run " by any of the major shoe manufacturer's.
I'm not certain I'm ready to try running barefoot in Vibram Fivefingers any time soon, but I'm certainly open minded enough to try a minimalist shoe.
By definition, a minimalist shoe is a cross between a barefoot shoe (think Vibram) and traditional running shoes. Minimalist shoes are extremely lightweight, offer little to no arch support, and a minimal heel height of 4mm-8mm—to encourage a natural running motion and a midfoot strike, yet they offer some cushioning and flex.
The Faas 250 Trail Shoe has a low profile, a heel-to-toe differential that matches that of a typical minimalist shoe and is very light weight. The shoe tipped my scale at a mere 7 5/8 oz (US Women's 7 1/2).
The toe-box of a minimalist shoe is generally roomy to allow toes to splay inside the shoes, enhancing grip and balance. This is particularly appealing to me as I have a rather wide forefoot. Sure enough, I found the Faas 250 toe box to be plenty roomy.
I should note that I also have a narrow heel that can make my foot very hard to fit. The Faas 250 has a slightly smaller heel cup, which fit my foot perfectly.
Have I mentioned how comfy these shoes were right out of the box!? They seriously fit my foot like a glove.
The heel to toe differential didn't seem to change my natural running gait and being that this was my first run in quite some time, I was pleasantly surprised to find no blisters.
Another pleasant surprise was how cool my feet stayed in these shoes. It was a toasty weekend here in the North East and the mesh upper proved extremely breathable
So, after my first run in a minimalist shoe, have I become a convert? Moving from a running shoe with a heel-toe drop of 12mm - 15mm to one with a hell-toe drop of 4mm - 8mm has definitely shaken up my calf muscles and feet. I've read (and heard from those I know) that it can take an extended period of time (6 months to 2 years) to acclimate to minimalist shoes and I'm willing to work through the transition.
As for my Faas 250's, even the color scheme is starting to grow on me!
If you've made the switch to a minimalist running shoe, I'd love to hear from you! How long did the transition take? What is your running shoe of choice?