I have had a great summer and fall looking at a lot of interesting new shoes hitting market now and in spring 2012. I have raced a marathon, a 50k ultramarathon, and have enjoyed a couple of hundred fun runs, training runs, group runs, trail runs and solo runs. It has been a great running year and I look forward to 2012 being even better. Please have a look at a few of my in-hand reviews from this summer and fall. It has added a whole new degree of fun when I can go on a run and give a pair of shoes a real thrashing. The muddy Inov-8s in this picture were literally only hours in my care when they already looked like this! I have loads more in the pipeline, thanks to my readers, my partners in the running shoe community, and to my friends at Elite Feet in Brighton.
NOTE: Click on the shoe name and visit the main review page for that shoe.
Brooks Pure Connect: My "Kinvara killer" has been killed off itself. My initial post, linked to here, is largely positive with a few exceptions. Unfortunately those exceptions ultimately made this shoe unworkable for me. There will be a follow-up review coming eventually, but I hate to be the bearer of bad news and unfortunately the Pure Connect did not work out for me, regardless of the nice things I was able to find in the shoe. It still killed the Saucony Kinvara for me, but the Altra Instinct and the Merrell Road Glove killed the Pure Connect.
Vibram Five Fingers Komodo Sport LS: This review basically compares apples and oranges by looking at these vs. other less radical minimal shoes like the New Balance Minimus Trail, but it is my number one all-time viewed post. It gets almost all of its readers from Google searches for a wide variety of Vibram searches, and is ranked as a #1 result on Google for many keywords. I still wear these regularly, especially to the gym for short strides and strength training.
Merrell Barefoot Collection Road Glove: I just posted this review last week and it is getting a good deal of traffic. This is remarkable considering there is very little official word out there in any mainstream running media about the Road Glove, which drops early next year. I have run about 14 miles in the Road Glove and they are very quickly becoming my all-time favorite minimalist running shoe. The gauntlet has been thrown, I think, but I'll soon see if the Skora FORM and BASE, or maybe the New Balance Minimus Road Zero MR00 can bump it off the throne.
Altra Lone Peak: A very fun review, taking my first stab at some real, better-lighting, staged photos. This review was picked up for national distribution on Active.com as can be seen at this LINK, and by my friend Pete Larson, A.K.A. the runblogger. Due to this exposure, this post has had a couple thousands reads in just a few short weeks. I like this shoe a lot and wear it for everything - walking the dog, trail running, road running in snow, etc.
Altra Instinct: My dad borrowed these once, I got them back, and now he has them again. They are a favorite of mine and of his. A great shoe with a lot going for it in terms of fit, comfort, and function. Along with the Lone Peak, I would say that the future for Altra is bright. I also have the Adam, but I have been a little more reserved in my admiration...more to come on that sometime soon.
Inov-8 Bare Grip 200: A shoe I have not run in that much because I just don't live near epic, off-trail mountains where this shoe would thrive. I love the look, feel, and vibe of the BG 200, though. I wear it for muddy runs, and might give it a go in deep snow. Very unusual shoe and the best zero-drop, ultra minimal shoe for very gnarly terrain.