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Updated on September 9, 2011
Less is more when it comes to running shoe trends. Barefoot footwear is the largest growing segment in the athletic shoe industry. As far as those creating that type of footwear, hiking boots specialist Merrell has already thrown its hat in the ring.
Merrell launched its barefoot line in spring 2011. Its collection currently includes several styles for men, women and kids who are looking to train barefoot on the track and trail. The shoemaker’s site also dedicated a blog and how-to guide in order to school people on this new take on a very traditional way of running.
At Outdoor Retailer 2011 Summer Market, Merrell unveiled a new style of barefoot shoes and a “gateway” type shoe for the barefoot curious. Featured in the above video, the Dash Glove for women and the Road Glove for men give yet another alternative for those seeking to step even closer to the ground.
“The idea of the barefoot product is to really get you back to the zero drop scenario—so your toes and heels sit at the same level,” said Hy Rosario, VP Merrell Product Development. “Also, by doing that, you’re reactivating and strengthening muscles in your foot, and you are aligning the body as well, which is all a good thing.”
In addition to the Dash and Road Glove, a more minimalist shoe will be making its way to the trails and roads next spring. While it doesn’t feature zero drop, the Bare Access for men and the Bare Access Arc for women does provide a type of trail shoe that is closer to the ground.
“Runners are extremely paranoid about getting injured, so what we’ve done for those consumers [is create a type of shoe for those] who want to get into the barefoot atmosphere, but want to do it in a safer way,” Rosario said. “[Bare Access] is a thicker cushion version of zero drop.”
Keep an eye out for the new offerings from Merrell due out in spring 2012.
Have you tried Merrell’s barefoot line? If so, what did you think?