Gear: Running Shoes

New running shoes are minimal, colorful and eco-friendly

By Rebecca Agiewich


Brooks introduces four new shoes for the fall through its Pure Project Collection.


Top: Brooks PureConnect Women's. Above: Brooks PureConnect Men's

Brooks jumps on the “barefoot running” bandwagon with the PureConnect, which they describe as “more freedom and less shoe.” The most minimal of the four shoes under the PureProject umbrella, the PureConnect is for runners who want to go as “light as possible,” says Ty Whitten, manager of Seattle running store, Super Jock ‘n Jill. $90.


With more cushioning between your foot and the ground, the PureFlow  aims to combine the barefoot running experience with a more supportive shoe. Whitten describes this model as a “great everyday trainer.” $90.


This trail runner features a rugged, non-slip, concave outsole that, when running, splays out, leading to a more balanced platform. Ultralight mesh helps create a comfortable fit. This trail runner also doubles as a good every day running shoe, says Whitten. $100.


Stiffer and more structured than the other shoes in the PureProject lineup, the PureCadence is built to last, while still remaining breathable and flexible. It’s also ideal for runners who need a little more support and guidance. $120.

Brooks Web site>>

Newton MV2

Pronounced “M-V-Squared,” the MV2 is a “zero drop” shoe, meaning there is no drop from the heel to the forefoot, hence the term zero-drop. This lightweight, minimal racing shoe (only 5.8 ounces for a men’s size 9) also features Newton’s trademark “lugs” — which promote a mid-foot or forefoot stride The MV2 is ideal for shorter training runs, tempo runs and track workouts, as well as just walking or at the gym. Green features include 100 percent recycled laces, webbing, insole top cover, box and packaging. $125. Men’s and women’s sizes.

New Balance newSky

This snazzy-looking shoe is made from 95 percent recycled PET plastic bottles and is built around the principles of reduce, re-use and recycle. Though it borrows structural elements from New Balance’s Minimus, the uppers of the newSky are constructed from high quality polyester manufactured from recycled plastic bottles — about eight bottles per pair.

Pete Gimre, owner of three New Balance specialty stores in Tigard, Bellevue and Lynnwood, points out that the newSky is more of a casual shoe — not a real technical performance shoe. “I wouldn’t wear them as a running shoe,” he says, adding, but it’s definitely “footwear you can feel good about.” $95. Men’s and women’s sizes.

Altra Adam

The minimalist shoe blogs (and yes, that is its own category of blog these days) have been abuzz with favorable reviews of the Altra Adam, a zero-drop shoe that is often mentioned in the same breath with the Vibram FiveFingers KSO. The Minimalist Shoes blog calls the Adam a “minimalist’s dream,” especially because it can be cushioned with two different insoles for runners who might be transitioning from standard running shoes, or who just want a little more support. A women’s version of the Adam, called the “Eve” (clever!), is specifically built for women’s feet. $100.

>> Read the review:;


Vibram FiveFingers

By Carolyn Price

Who hasn’t been curious about all this barefoot running and minimalist footwear? I was and knew I needed to check out the ones who started it all—the Vibram FiveFingers.

My Bikila’s arrived in a minimalist box and took up minimal room. They resembled toe socks, in an amphibian sort of way, but with a Velcro strap across the top … I guess so my toes wouldn’t slide out. Fat chance of that; I couldn’t even get them on as my toes buddied up in pairs.

Tips from my friend Dave Egan, the Vibram rep, helped me coax my toes into their own toe slots. (See below)

Once on, I finally understood what all the buzz was about. These were comfortable. Literature says the FiveFingers offers a more natural forefoot strike during running and allows the foot to move and work in a natural way. I thought that was true.

And since Vibram has been in the business of making rubber soles for 75 years, I thought they had figured out this FiveFinger running concept fairly well.

The soles were padded with unusual patterns of grippers, and padded well enough that running over rocks didn’t really hurt. One thing I noticed is that my legs became unusually tired even after a short 10-minute jog.

I discovered there are rules to be followed when starting a FiveFingers’ training program—it takes a gradual transition to build strength in the lower leg and foot, especially to avoid overuse injuries and sore muscles. And, they are not for everyone—especially those who wear orthotics, like me. But at $95, they’re worth checking out.

Tips for putting on your FiveFingers

Push the heel down flat and do not try to put it on until all your toes are in place.

Push the foot forward like you were putting on a slipper.

Starting with the big toe, work each one in by “creeping” the foot forward with your toes.

When you get down to the smaller toes, pull them apart with your thumb and the fabric should slide back between them.

When all the toes are in, pull the heel up and into place.

Walk a few steps for the foot to fill out the toes.