I’ve been fortunate enough to have had the chance to test drive a few new shoe models set to be released next year, and though I’m not prepared to write full reviews yet, I wanted to share a few photos and thoughts on several ultra-light, mildly cushioned road shoes that I’m really liking so far:
New Balance Minimus Road MR00 – zero drop with some cushion
Merrell Bare Access – zero drop with some cushion
Adidas Hagio – ~5mm drop racing flat, but feels like less
What I like about all three of these shoes is that all have just a bit of cushion underfoot, but no more than is necessary for most of my running needs. Second, all three are plenty roomy in the forefoot (the NB and Merrell slight more than the Adidas Hagio, but the latter is quite roomy for a racing flat). Third, all three are very light – 6.2 oz for the NB Minimus Road Zero and Merrell Bare Access, 6.5 oz for the Adidas Hagio.
The Minimus Road Zero and Merrell Bare Access will be duking it out with the Altra Instinct as top choices in the “zero drop with cushion” niche, whereas the Hagio compares favorably with the Mizuno Universe among road racing flats. I would also say that the NB Minimus Road Zero feels much like a zero drop version of the Mizuno Universe (a review of the Mizuno Universe 4 is also forthcoming). The Merrell Bare Access has the fit of the Merrell Trail Glove combined with a slightly different upper and a zero drop, cushioned sole – I’ve been wearing the Bare Access to work all week, and must say I am rather impressed by it.
I won’t say much more right now other than that you can expect full reviews of each of these, as well as a few other more “barefoot-style” shoes, in the not too distant future. Let’s just say that minimalist runners are in for some treats in 2012!