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Posted on December 29, 2011
If minimalism is all the rage among runners, consider Saucony the latest trendsetter. Their Spring 2012 line doesn’t just embrace the movement, it dumps the 12mm heel-to-toe drop entirely. In other words, as of May 2012, the entire Saucony line will be minimalist influenced.
This all started with the Kinvara’s debut in 2010, a response to the growing request for a shoe that offers barefoot running advantages without the risks. “We wanted to provide a responsible alternative to folks that wanted some of those benefits of barefoot running without the high risk of injury that may come from it,” said Tim Knowlton, VP of Sales at Saucony.
The Kinvara became such a popular choice for minimalist runners that the 2011 Kinvara 2 maintained most of its predecessor’s structure, adding slight improvements to midfoot fit, toebox structure and more modern design elements. Because of the shoe’s extreme flexibility, it’s recommended that wearers ease into use to avoid muscle stress and fatigue.
And though wildly successful, the Kinvara isn’t the only Saucony shoe manufactured for minimalism. The Mirage offers an option for the mild pronator, and the addition of a midfoot support bridge provides motion control while still allowing the runner to enjoy the advantages of a minimalist shoe. This is the safest minimalist shoe Saucony makes for those transitioning from a traditional running shoe, as the bridge helps balance the runner.
Saucony also produces an option even closer to barefoot running: the Hattori, with a 0mm drop and weighing a mere 4.4 oz. The Hattori offers no pronotion support, but rather encourages natural movement without restriction. This is a great option for barefoot runners who want to build up their speed.
And as for the Saucony franchise? During Outdoor Retailer 2011, Tim explained how the brand is applying the minimalist successes to other styles. “Higher end traditional running shoes sometimes can be a little too bulky as they are today. We’ve taken some of the learning from these minimal shoes and brought them into our franchise models … kind of blending the different worlds into what we hope will become lightweight, little bit lower profile, new geometries and more efficiency.” Saucony tests found that runners can seamlessly move from a 12mm offset to 8mm without transition, enjoying the benefits that come with a lower offset immediately. As a result, the ProGrid Guide 5, the ProGrid Triumph and the ProGrid Hurricane will all sport 8mm midsoles in the new year.
Which minimal shoe will you sport in the coming year?