Meet the First Performance Coach to Get His Own Signature Training Shoe, Thanks to New Balance

Eric Cressey, a self-described "guy from Southern Maine," now has his own line of kicks. It helps that he trains 100+ MLB players every offseason.

He just joined the ranks of LeBron James, Shaquille O'Neal and Michael Jordan, but you wouldn't know it by talking to him.

With the unveiling of the New Balance Minimus 20v6 Cressey Trainer, Eric Cressey has (we think) become the first performance coach ever to have his own line of signature shoes. But Cressey—who's best known for his work with Major League Baseball Players—isn't letting it go to his head.

"It's pretty cool, especially being a guy from a small town in southern Maine," Cressey says with a laugh. "But we try not to take ourselves too seriously."

The New Balance Minimus 20v6 Cressey Trainer

The New Balance Minimus 20v6 Cressey Trainer

Indeed Cressey is quick to point out that he alone did not develop this shoe. Instead, he credits the design to the staff and athletes at his Cressey Sports Performance facilities in Massachusetts and Florida, where more than 100 professional baseball players train during the offseason.

"This shoe is about our athletes," Cressey says. "They all contributed to the evolution of it in one way or another, through their training and feedback."

Cressey started consulting with New Balance in 2011, around the time of the launch of the original Minimus. Over time he and his staff offered feedback that helped lead to the addition of new features to the Minimus line, such as the "burrito wrap"—a more snug, less segmented tongue that gives the shoe a secure fit, akin to an aqua sock, before you tighten the laces.

The New Balance Minimus 20v6 Cressey Trainer

The New Balance Minimus 20v6 Cressey Trainer

The idea was to build a shoe light enough to provide a barefoot feel but supportive and durable enough to handle the many demands athletes place on their feet during training.

"If you were the type of person who wants to deadlift barefoot, you'd still have that type of contact with the ground [in the Minimus]," Cressey says. "I think this is an awesome shoe for your gym-goer who wants the benefits of minimalist training but still wants to be able to sprint, do change-of-direction drills and push sleds."

The shoe is a departure from traditional cross-trainers, which have thicker midsoles and more supportive builds. For that reason, Cressey suggests that anyone new to minimal footwear use the shoe only for training. "I wouldn't go wearing this for six to eight hours walking around the mall if you're not used to it," Cressey says. As you adjust to the footwear, you can wear it for longer periods of time.

The New Balance Minimus 20v6 Cressey Trainer

Notice the wider build in the forefoot, near the toes.

Athletes with wide feet will quickly appreciate the Minimus's larger toebox. Traditional cross-trainers taper toward the front. This may look cool, but it has the unfortunate effect of smooshing the toes together. The Minimus's roomier build up front allows the toes to splay more naturally.

The Minimus is molded (not sewn) together, which cuts down on the chances it'll irritate or rub your foot the wrong way. The shoe also features a Vibram outsole, a form of rubber so durable it's nearly bomb-proof.

New Balance Minimus 20v6 Cressey Trainer - Vibram Outsole

The "bomb-proof" bottom of the New Balance Minimus 20v6 Cressey Trainer.

And true to its namesake, the shoe comes in the colors of, and features the logo of, Cressey Sports Performance (see image #2 above).

The New Balance Minimus 20v6 is priced at $100 and is available now.


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock