By May the Inov-8 off-road shoes I had run the 2010 Half Marathon in had well and truly worn out. My birthday was coming up in June and I was very excited as Inov-8 had made the move into truly minimal shoes. So a month later I received a pair of Bare-Grip 200s – an off-road shoe with no midsole, no cushioning and no height differential between heel and toe.
Again, a great pair of shoes. There is no option but to run with your forefoot as you really don’t want to slam your heel down on a rock or root in these. But they are fantastically grippy and responsive – the only problem is the lightweight mesh upper seems to be taking a bashing from not that much running, and tearing.
Using these shoes marked my transition to minimal running full-time on road or cross-country, something that I have stuck with ever since. Any padding has now long gone.
It has been a slower transition to true barefoot running, as I find it is so dependent on temperature and weather – rain means picking up sharp grit, and cold means numbness which reduces feedback and increases chance of injury.
Throughout the summer I tried to get in one truly barefoot run each week, whether in town or cross-country, but that only lasted up until autumn. This year’s project will be to increase my barefoot mileage and that may mean developing new tactics.