So, Adidas, the Avis of the athletic shoe world, has jumped into the minimal-shoe race. Their newest footwear, the Adipure Trainer, is due out in November, ninety bucks a pop, and while they are being touted as runners, Gizmodo says they are targeted for the gym more than the track, more like cross-trainers.
I think they are every bit as attractive as Vibram fives myself, but I'm guessing the barefoot crowd can't wait to grab 'em.
I won't go through the whole discussion again. The folks who like these kinds of things will probably like the new offering from Adidas. They reportedly have a bit more sole than Vibrams, foam-cell cushioning, but still not anything close to traditional arch-support and fat-heeled athletic shoes.
Fans say these are like ebooks–they aren't nearly as popular as paper, but coming on. Athletic shoe biz in the U.S. alone pushes 22 billion dollars a year, and the minimalist footgear is a little over $750 million, that's what? between three and four percent?
I think ebooks will probably get a lot more of the book market than rubber slippers will get the running shoe market, but I've been wrong before.
Frankly, I think they'll do better as gym shoes for several reasons. First, iron pumping, riding a stationary bike, using a treadmill or stair-climber are all much lower impact activities than running on the sidewalk. When I had my home gym, I usually worked out barefoot and never had problems.
Second, if you are the kind of guy who can drop a nice monthly chunk on your gym membership, chances are you will wear spiffy and spendy clothes, and the foot gloves would go with three-hundred-buck coördinated Physique gym outfits and Big Dog muscle shirts.
Third, if you go to the gym to pick up women as much as you do to work out, anything that's a good conversation starter is an asset. As long as the conversation doesn't start with "Wow, those are the stupidest-looking shoes I have ever seen!"
I can see places where minimal footwear would be useful. Couple weeks back, whilst jumping hither and yon in the sandpit at my silat teacher's, I managed to raise a blister on the ball of my right foot. That's because I prefer dancing shoeless in the sand. Great, as long as you are sinking ankle-deep in the stuff after a fifteen-foot step-and-hop; not so great if you repeatedly hit a patch where the sand has thinned to a dusting with packed earth under it. Like jumping barefoot onto a big sheet of sandpaper. Bad idea.
But the It's-natural-to-run-barefoot business still doesn't work for me, and since I'm not apt to be running anyway, doesn't really matter anyhow.