Light and Right: New Balance Minimus Looks to Create True "Closer to Barefoot" Experience

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New Balance Minimus

If you're lacing up for spring running, consider trying out the NB Minimus—a star in New Balance's updated line for athletes seeking a minimalist shoe experience. Running in this type of shoe helps develop a more neutral stance and form; strengthens the legs and feet; and delivers increased ground feel and sense of body control. (Read more on the pros and cons of "barefoot" training.)

New Balance Minimus manager Katherine Petrecca says, "We've vigorously pursued a path we call 'light and right' … and feel strongly that building great minimal footwear is about something far more substantial than stripping as much as you can out of a shoe. To us, a meaningful 'closer to barefoot' experience is something very specific. We're not content to make another lightweight shoe and call it 'minimal.'"

Featuring light uppers with no insert and minimal midsoles and outsoles, the NB Minimus Zero encourages the more natural movement and upright posture that come with midfoot strikes. It also has a wider forefoot in the toe, which allows the foot to expand naturally upon impact.

Incorporating Vibram brand technology, the NB Minimus road and trail options are offered in a range of "drops," which refers to the height of the drop between the heel and toe. Drops in the Minimus collection range from 0 to 4mm (standard running sneakers average 12mm of drop).

All the shoes have reduced foam and rubber on the underfoot, but the stack height—the distance from the heel to the ground—depends on the runner's preference and desired amount of enhanced ground feel. Stack heights vary from 12mm (NB Minimus MR00) to 17mm (NB Minimus MR10). You can also select among different shoe weights—from 4.4 to 8.2 ounces.

For more info and pricing on the NB Minimus collection—and specifics on drops and stack heights—go to New Balance's website. If you've never trained in minimalist shoes before, make sure your transition is a gradual one. You will be essentially retraining your muscles, particularly those in your feet and calves that may have been underused in previous running shoes. For more info, check out our Beginner's Guide to Barefoot Training and hit us up on Twitter (@STACKMedia) or Facebook if you have any questions!

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