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New Brand Spotlight: Altra Zero Drop™ Footwear

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Altra Zero Drop™ footwear is comprised of a group of passionate people committed to improving running technique through biomechanically proper footwear. Having over 30 years of specialty running experience, they felt it was time to bring something to the market besides traditional running footwear.

The brand long believed that a running shoe should not encourage a heel strike, but rather should let the body move naturally. After cutting down a running shoe heel and testing a zero-drop shoe, they saw how it reduced injury and changed several lives for the better, even bringing running back into the lives of a few who never thought it possible. Using a zero-drop platform, foot-shaped lasts and gender-specific designs, Altra Zero Drop brings a blend of barefoot freedom with shod protection.

The brand prides itself on their design of cushioned, foot-shaped minimalist running shoes that do not feature an elevated heel. This innovative platform allows for a more natural foot strike and a more efficient ride. The gender-specific toe box construction follows the natural shape of the foot, providing enhanced comfort, increased balance and stride efficiency.

Altra Zero Drop strives to bring natural running shoes to the masses and believes natural running can make a difference in people’s lives, as well as make running fun. Life is short. Run better!

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Vivobarefoot: A Sole for Every Terrain

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Break free of that old treadmill rut and take your runs on a more scenic trail this season with Vivobarefoot’s patented minimal trail runners. From the beach to rocky riverbeds, trail running with one of their lightweight shoes allows for a more natural range of motion with maximum sensory feedback-- all while staying protected from the elements.

Styles featured: Vivobarefoot Neo Trail, Vivobarefoot Achilles, Vivobarefoot EVO II, and Vivobarefoot Ultra

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Karhu: Intro to Forward Running

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Karhu Forward Men's, Karhu Forward Women's

Minimalist vs. traditional, heel strike vs. midfoot strike, low heel heights vs. conventional geometries… these discussions  in the world of running can sometimes take away from the main goals of running: to be a fun, beneficial and minimally injurious activity for the human form.

Does one type of running shoe or foot strike reign supreme over all others? When you think about the broad spectrum of body types runners have, the clear answer is that there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to both aspects.

That being said, the main pursuit of every runner should be to minimize ground contact and, by extension, become more efficient. At the end of the day, running should be a great stress-relieving activity and a regular part of your healthy lifestyle.

Check out the Karhu “Intro to Forward Running” video below for a detailed look at efficient running form. Happy Running!

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Transitioning into Minimalist Running Shoes

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Left-Right: Saucony Hattori,Inov-8 Road-X155,Vivobarefoot Ultra (with insert shown), Biom Natural Motion by ECCO Trainer 1.2

If you’re an avid runner who’s interested in transitioning into the growing trend towards minimalist running, there are a few things you should keep in mind before switching from traditional pronation-control cushioned running shoes to minimalist running shoes:

  1. Gradual transition: Your feet’s muscles need time to adapt to the new pattern of motion that comes with minimalist shoes. They need a gradual transition in order to avoid injury, especially in the tendons and joints.
  2. Day-to-day: When you first get your minimalist shoes, get acclimated to them by wearing them during periods of regular walking, perhaps while running errands.
  3. Start slow: To start, run slowly and only increase your distance gradually as your feet acclimate to the more natural range of motion.
  4. Listen to your body: Make sure to pay attention to any areas that feel sore or tired after your initial runs. Keep your first run sessions to about 20 minutes, taking a day off in between as needed, and then gradually increase as you notice your feet getting more comfortable.

Remember, never push your feet! It takes patience and some time to strengthen all the tendons and muscles on your feet with minimalist shoes. Once you’re comfortable, you’ll reap the benefits of a more efficient stride, stronger foot muscles, and more sensory connection to the trail.

Happy running!

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New to Zappos: Vivobarefoot by Terra Plana

running shoes,men, minimalist, minimalist movement, minimalist running, minimalist shoes, new brands, new to zappos, runners, running, running shoes, terra plana, trail runners, Trail running, vivobarefoot, womenAs pioneers in the barefoot movement, Vivobarefoot by Terra Plana was launched in 2004 with form and function in mind. Its use of a patented 6mm ultra-thin, puncture-resistant sole provides sensory awareness without sacrificing protection.

The greater ground feel that Vivobarefoot shoes provide means your feet are able to move more naturally, reserving energy while helping to prevent injuries.

Vivobarefoot shoes are produced using recycled, locally-sourced materials with eco-friendly production techniques.

Happy running, and don't forget to sign up for the 2011 Zappos.com Rock n' Roll Las Vegas Marathon

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BIOM by ECCO: Ushering In A New Age Of Natural Motion

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The BIOM Natural Motion collection from ECCO® is based on the principle that by adding support only where the foot needs it, the foot is allowed to move and flex the way nature intended. This departure from traditional stability and motion-control footwear is the basis of the minimalist movement in athletic shoes.

Built on an anatomical last, all BIOM shoes provide a more natural flexion and dynamic stride. This allows your feet to move within its natural range of motion, breaking the habit of a heel-strike stride encouraged by more traditional cushioned pronation-control shoes.

Whether you’re looking for a walking shoe or a fitness running shoe, there’s a BIOM shoe tailored for your specific needs. The thing to remember when first transitioning into minimalist shoes, such as the BIOM Natural Motion,  is to start slowly. It takes some time for your feet to acclimate to the lack of heel lifts and motion control found in more traditional running and walking shoes.

Check out the video below, featuring world class triathlete Torbjorn Sindballe, explaining the proper way to gradually adapt to the BIOM Natural Motion shoes.