I’ve been devoted to minimalist running shoes since I started running back in July 2009. Lots of companies have come out with zero-drop or minimal-drop running shoes, but only one—Merrell—has gone out of its way to find the women who run in minimalist footwear and to learn what we want in a shoe and how to teach others who want to make the switch. Merrell is also the only running shoe company that makes sure to keep plenty of us women run-bloggers in the loop about upcoming styles. Have you noticed how it’s mostly dudes showing off and reviewing the super-secret new shoes? That’s not just my shoe envy showing. It’s my gratitude for a company that knows we’re out here and are hungry for information, motivation, and appreciation for being strong, active runners.
Merrell doesn’t just talk the talk. The women at Merrell run the run. Check it out:
Merrell just launched its “Pretty Strong” women-focused BareForm running site. Merrell calls it BareForm running because wearing flat footwear requires you to adopt a mid- to forefoot style similar to barefoot running. (Note: I never call myself a barefoot runner since I always wear shoes. I am without a doubt, however, a hardcore minimalist runner.)
Although there are a handful of us women bloggers who run full-on barefoot or, like me, in flat shoes, we’re still in the minority out in the real world. You don’t see many like-shod women at races or on your local greenways. At each of the 20-plus races I ran last year, there were never more than a few of us—but I always got TONS of questions from women about my footwear.
Thankfully Merrell recognizes the need to get this info out to a wider audience of women. And not just to the already converted, but also to women who might be curious about minimalist running and don’t know where to start.
Some highlights of the new site:
- A 40-day training program designed to strengthen your feet, improve your form, and ease you into BareForm running. The program was designed by coach Walt Reynolds, professional trainer and president of NovaSport Athlete Development and one of the experts behind BareForm running.
- A running playlist available on iTunes, filled with songs at 180 beats per minute, perfect for helping you increase your cadence, resulting in a naturally shorter stride. Excellent for preventing stuff like shin splints!
- An activity-specific shoe guide to help you find the right shoe for whatever you’re up to.
- Womanalist chats on Facebook—they even let me host one!—where women ask a bunch of us bloggers questions about the how, what, where, and why of minimalist running.
Big kudos to the folks at Merrell for acknowledging, encouraging, educating, and simply including the 16.9 million women runners on our roads and trails. I’m looking forward to meeting many more flat-shoed women at races this year!