Are you curious about the whole minimalist running shoe notion, but reluctant to shell out the big bucks for a pair of Vibrams?
There's a new kid in town, coming in February. "Be Real Shoes" are an intriguing Vibram alternative with some cool features, and you could win a pair for the price of a comment!
What's So Great About Going Minimalist?
This is a topic of much debate, with studies flying back and forth and lots of impassioned opinions and disagreement.
And ya know what? I ain't going there. Proponents point to many benefits of barefoot and minimalist running shoes; but there's been a backlash. Recent studies suggest minimalist running may not be better after all. But there are, anecdotally, a ton of folks who say they used to have biomechanical problems that improved greatly once they ditched all the cushioning in their shoes.
Note: everyone seems to agree that one needs to be careful in making a transition to avoid injuries.
Like many debates in the health and fitness world, I think the best thing to do if you are curious is to try some out and see. Which is why some price competition in the world of minimalism may not be a bad thing!
Why This is this Not a Particularly Helpful Review Along with the Giveaway
Unlike the recent Fitbit Force review where the timing was perfect, this one is kinda crappy. After signing on, I did something funky to my glute/hamstring/hip area, which running seems to aggravate, so it doesn't seen like the best time to embark on a thorough minimalist training program. (Of course the sensible thing would be to lay off running entirely and if it doesn't get better, go see a doctor, right? Why am I incapable of doing this?)
Also, I can't really compare the experience to running in a pair of Vibrams because I've never tried them.
But (disclaimer) I did get a pair to try for free, and so I have a few pictures and thoughts!
Why "Be Real" Shoes?
The founder of Be Real Shoes "quickly fell in love with the more natural style of running and its health benefits," but he had some major gripes. And we're all about griping here at Cranky Fitness!
"None of them fit properly," he whined, "and their design restricted the movement of the toes, which is part of the natural running experience. I knew I could do better."
These shoes feature:
- A patent-pending incredibly lightweight material, providing protection and traction while coming in at a fraction of the cost of the competition's shoes.
- Shoes designed to work as a trail shoe, crossfit shoe, and water shoe.
- Made in the US utilizing ecofriendly manufacturing techniques enabling the rubber soles to be 100% recyclable.
- Named one of the top design finds at the Summer Outdoor Retailer Market.
FAQ's as Answered by Crabby McSlacker:
Do they look Weird and Funny like other Minimalist Shoes?
Yes! The Lobster laughed at me wearing mine, but oddly enough I kinda liked looking down and seeing what resemble Bear Paws where my feet used to be. I think they're adorkable.
Do The Shoes Have Separated Toes?
No, thank god. I hate things between my toes, eww. My toes like to sprawl and these have a Huge Freakin' Toebox.
How Do They Feel Running on Hard Surfaces Like Sidewalks?
I avoid pavement and sidewalks anyway. But I'm afraid these would make me work even harder to find nice soft places to run. I couldn't help but suspect the harder jarring would mean Even More Trouble Ahead for my aging body parts. But if you are youthful and like the notion of toughening up your feet without actually shredding them on sharp things, these would be great for that.
How Do They Feel On Softer Surfaces Like Dirt and Grass?
For my brief test runs, they were comfy and felt like somewhere in between barefoot and shod, which I think is what one aims for with this sort of footwear.
Hooray for grass!
Do They Promote a Forefoot Strike?
Well, I subjectively I thought they did, but the evidence seems to indicate that donning a pair does not immediately and magically turn a long-time heel-striker who is trying to change her ways into a natural forefoot striker.
How Do I Win a Pair of These Cool Shoes?
Leave a comment letting me know why you'd like a pair! A small pool of worthy finalists will be selected, then the Random Number Generator will choose the ultimate winner.
Winner will be selected a week from today, on January 27, 2014, and will have until midnight PST Friday January 31 to claim the shoes or I will redraw a new winner.
Note: I totally forgot to ask whether this giveaway is limited to U.S. residents or not, duh! So if you are non U.S. and would like a chance to win, go ahead and enter but let me know your status. I will wheedle and plead to see if at least Canadians can be included but even the nicest sponsors aren't always able to do this.
Want the Shoes? Or if Not, What Do You think of the Whole Minimalist Movement?