Minimus vs. Maximus

It seems as if a line in the sand of the running world has been drawn: minimalists who want a barefoot feel from their running shoes, and traditionalists who still crave more cushion for the pushin’. We take a look at two new minimal running shoes and two new hyper-cushioned shoes.

Minimal

1. New Balance – Minimus Trail It’s more of a transitional barefoot shoe than the Vibram Five Fingers. The Minimus looks like a trail racer and has a 4mm drop from the heel to toe, as opposed to the coveted “zero drop” of most other barefoot shoes. But the Minimus Trail has no insert and a minimal midsole and outsole for a supremely flexible package. 7 ounces. $100; newbalance.com

 

2. Inov-8 – Bare-Grip 200 Long before Born to Run became a bestseller, Inov-8 was focused on simple, lightweight trail shoes. Their latest innovation, the Bare Grip 200, highlights the qualities that Inov-8 has always done best: low-profile simplicity and super-grippy traction. The Bare Grips have zero drop from heel to toe, and the knobby cleats grip the ground better than any trail shoe on the market. 7 ounces. $110; Inov-8.com

Cushioned

3. Montrail – Fairhaven This hyper-cushioned shoe has Montrail’s new FluidPost midsole that adjusts to the amount of pronation “on demand.” When you’re running on flat surfaces like roads, your foot strikes the softer center of the midsole. As you move to uneven trails, your foot occasionally strikes the edges of the midsole, where the foam is denser and offers more support. 11 ounces. $110; montrail.com