minimalist shoes for ultras

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04/02/2013 at 20:02


I've been wearing Nike Frees for the past few years and have been injury free ever since, so I'm sold on the minimalist thing, but have been thinking about trying another shoe.

Can anyone recommend a good minimalist shoe for ultras? (road and/or trail)


04/02/2013 at 20:37

On the roads my go to shoe is Saucony Kinvara which is on the padded end of the minamilist scale, off-road I have been in New Balance for a while first MT101's, then MT110's and now MT1010's of which the MT1010's would be the shoe of choice, were it not for the fact the upper has split after 113 miles, only the outer mesh but still more than a bit annoying, might just be a rogue pair, I'll see what New Balance say when I send them the shoes.

Edited: 04/02/2013 at 20:38
04/02/2013 at 20:44
I'm considering wearing new balance 110's for the Thames path 100. Been doing all my long runs in them with no problems.
04/02/2013 at 20:56

I can second the Kinvaras for road ultras, having just completed the Thames Trot in a pair - and that included boggy fields and freezing flood water. They are certainly a bit more cushioned than some minimalist shoes. My minimal shoe of choice is the New Balance MT10s, which are awesome on all but very muddy trails. As many others will tell oyu, shoe choice is a personal thing. New Balance Minimus and Brooks Pure are my ranges of choice.

04/02/2013 at 21:14

Thanks all.

It may sound contradictory, but I think I might need a bit more cushioning in my minimal shoes for when my running form starts to deteriorate after 40 miles or so. Just to take the edge off tired, heavy footfalls.

Does that make sense??!!

04/02/2013 at 22:14
Brooks pure flow and grit are quite cushioned for minimalist shoes
04/02/2013 at 22:18
If you've been running in the Nike frees, why not stick with them? Don't they have the 5.0 that are more cushioned?
04/02/2013 at 22:51

I ran NDW50 fine in VB Neo Trail, but they were not suitable for the mostly-road revised TT50 this Saturday (particularly since I had an injured ankle which put my form off so I was heel striking in a way I don't do normally). But for most trail ultras, I'd consider them fine. I've got myself a pain of Inov8 Trailroc 235s ready for Lakeland 50 - bit more cushioning than the Neos and superb grip.

05/02/2013 at 09:39

Brooks pure flows for the road. The pure grit are good for certain trails, but are pretty lethal over wet rock, which is when I use inov-8s. Also have the NB 110s which are good too.

I've been given a pair of the new brooks pure drift to trial and they are pretty awesome. Very minimal, 4mm drop, but you can take out the innersole which takes them to zero drop. A really nice and versatile shoe.



05/02/2013 at 10:08

+1 for the New Balance 110's, (4mm drop) I've used them for NDW100, fell races, 40-50 mile ultras in the Brecon Beacons and a few trail marathons. I'm still on my first pair which must have 600+ miles on them and are still going strong. I also wear then casually as my normal walking trainers.

You can get them for £35 online

05/02/2013 at 19:24

I'm planning on running The Wall in Vivobarefoot Breatho Trails. Longest with them so far was the Kielder Marathon.

06/02/2013 at 10:23
I'm really glad someone else is running in minimalist shoes - I'm about to try some Saucony Cortana and Peregrine on the treadmill. I've been nursing a knee injury for over a year, and its worse when I'm in my road shoes (Saucony hurricane) but ok when I'm in my off road (Innovate talon). I suspect the difference in heel to toe differential might be a major factor! Cortana feel nice and cushioned at a quick stroll round the house.
06/02/2013 at 16:20
Update - Saucony Peregrine are too firm for me, but the Cortana had a nice smooth ride. Going to look at other options though, to try and get a bit more control/stability.
06/02/2013 at 18:21

Vicky - I started running in barefoot shoes because I got knee pain all the time with regular shoes. Not had a bit of bother with it since, not once. 

06/02/2013 at 18:53

I'm another with no knee pain since I made the transition of minimalist (with associated gait changes).

06/02/2013 at 20:38
Thanks guys! Just ordered some Saucony kinvara to see how I get on with those. Keeping the Cortana for now as I'm not sure if the others are more on road or off....
06/02/2013 at 20:54
Debra, Pursued, just wondering whether you have a neutral gait, over pronation,...?
06/02/2013 at 22:48

cragchick - could you post a link? I've just looked at the Field & Trek site and I can't fine ANY Vivo stuff at all - and I'd certainly be interested...

06/02/2013 at 22:52

Okay, cancel that - just found them. Anyone know whether, if I take a 4 (EU 37) for the Neo Trail and a 5 (EU 38 for the Neo, I need a 4 or a 5 for the Breatho?

06/02/2013 at 23:21

Thanks cragchick! I'm stocked up!!

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