Friday, June 21, 2013

Intro to Minimalist Running & Skora Base Initial Review

A few years back, a friend recommended I read "Born to Run." I never had the opportunity to read it (although it's waiting for me on my Kindle as we speak... so maybe I will have read it by the time you read this?), but the idea is that our bodies were made to run. This isn't really a new concept, but the words "minimalist running", "barefoot running", and "natural running" have been growing over the past few years. So what about all the stability running shoes with the 2" heels? I'll admit I own them, and I run in them. The cushioning is marvelous. But... are we meant to run like that? Seriously - that heel drop creates an unnatural running posture, right? (Think, stilettos, right?) Proponents of minimalist running argue that all this great new technology is actually getting in the way of our running and causing more issues and injuries for runner than we may realize. Because we aren't using our muscles the way they were meant to be used while running, they're getting weak and we're losing the ability to "stabalize" our running on our own. And really, there doesn't seem to be any solid information on why pronating (or over-pronating) is actually a bad thing.
Saucony "stabality" shoe vs SKORA zero heel drop
stability shoe vs zero heel drop

I'm not a medical or scientific expert in any of this, but I do know that the arguments make sense to me. Why else does running barefoot in sand help with shin splints? It's the building up of lesser-used muscles. There is an awesome new running shoe company located right here in the Portland area that seems to be at the forefront of all this.

"At SKORA we view Real Running as running how nature intended - efficient, effective and with ease." 

SKORA base minimalist running shoe

Links below may be affiliates. 

SKORA is a small company that has put a LOT of attention to detail in their shoes. I was lucky enough they offered a pair of their Base model for use and review. Because it's such a big transition from what I'm accustomed to running in, I haven't gotten the chance to REALLY hit the pavement with them yet, but I have to tell you the difference you feel putting them on is instantaneous. You feel the difference first and foremost in your calves from the zero-heel drop. I felt more balanced. The cushioning, while not as plentiful as my Saucony, still felt good. I was expecting these shoes to feel like another pair of flats, but they definitely have the feel of a running shoe. And I love how they feel molded to my feet. In fact - I actually measure for a size 7.5 in all shoes, but always size up to an 8 with closed toe shoes. I attribute this to poor shoe choices in my early 20's that the 7.5's just never feel comfortable anymore. In my SKORA, the 7.5's fit, and feel good. You can even remove the sock liner for an even smoother interior if you're the type that likes to run without socks (not me, but I know a lot of people out there do!).

Here is a great article by ultra-marathoner and running coach Peyton Hoyal on making the transition from stability shoes to minimalist shoes.

If you're at all interested in making the switch to a more minimalist (real running) approach, SKORA is a great direction to take. I can't wait to give you a more complete review once I've put a hundred or so miles on these!

And here's an awesome video by SKORA of their shoes in action!

Have you been doing much running lately? I'm finding it a little harder to get out now that G's out of school for the summer. Any advice on fitting it in? I wish I had a good treadmill I could run on without leaving the kids!

Disclosure: I was given a pair of SKORA shoes for use and review, but I was not compensated for writing this post. As always, all views and opinions are my own.

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