For decades, some runners have been shaving down the soles of their shoes to make them lighter and enable a more natural stride and footstrike. In recent years, an entire minimalist movement has emerged, and many brands have come to market with shoes that try and get close to the experience of barefoot running.
But as we studied what athletes were doing with these shoes, we saw a range of runners with different bodies and training needs trying to work with essentially a single solution. Naturally, this seemed wrong. So we devised a range of minimal shoes for a variety of feet and training approaches.
Very minimal shoes can feel amazing, especially in the store. But going minimal all at once is risky because minimal shoes ask more of different muscles in your feet and calves. Instead, we recommend using a minimal shoe for one or two of your runs each week.
This will strengthen those less developed muscles and help you realize a new and better overall level of fitness. By listening to your body over time, you can decide if you want to increase the frequency of your minimal training, or change to a shoe that is more minimal, or both.
With unstructured engineering and a lower heel to toe drop, minimalist running shoes allow the muscles and tendons of the foot to flex, push, pull and grip, resulting in increased foot strength and a more natural stride. This can also be an adjustment for your body, so it is important to consider your goals and type of training before committing to a new kind of shoe.
Our most minimal and lightweight shoe ever, the Hattori is literally an extension of your foot. Unlike other very minimal shoes, the Hattori’s mitten-like toe box gives your toes room to naturally arch, grip and push off. To further leverage natural toe movement, the sole features a visible flex groove in back of the toes and in front of the metatarsals. The sculpted foam of the sole also includes strategically placed impact cushioning and delivers a slight piston effect without ever compromising natural motion.
Designed to give you exactly and only what you need, the Kinvara 2 features a lower heel-to-toe ratio that’s built to serve your natural stride. The sole is an ultra-lightweight, durable foam and the grooves cut into the sole (or “siping”) are flat instead of curved. This provides just a shade more stability, which can really matter during the end stages of a run. The upper is a mono-filament mesh that, though incredibly light and breathable, always keeps out the dirt and stones. It’s all completed with a foam heel collar for a snug performance fit.
A great way to step into more minimal training, the lightweight Mirage’s sole features ground plugs that deliver a bit more of an air ride and a little less ground feel than typically found in a minimal shoe. A slightly denser rubber in the sole below the arch of the foot provides a touch of additional guidance for the neutral to slight overpronator. A TPU bridge and an ultra-light, opposed mesh "A" frame upper hug your foot and efficiently add support.
The word from the Saucony Labs Part 1:
“With Mirage, the midfoot support bridge provides motion control, while still allowing the runner to enjoy the advantages of a minimalist shoe. It’s the perfect light trainer for a slight overpronator.”