New Balance Minimus Road Zero 

As most of you know Im a huge fan of the Vibram Five Fingers despite the religious upkeep needed to avoid ruining your olfactory system.  To read my full review please click here.  One of the main factors that turn people away from the Vibram 5 Fingers is…well… the 5 fingers.  People just aren’t comfortable with the feeling of stuff between their toes, or they’re just not comfortable with looking like an animal.

Enter the New Balance Minimus R Zero.  This shoe provides the same great zero drop from heel to mid foot found in the VFF without the stigma that comes with individual toe compartments.  This is the perfect compromise between minimalist and extreme.  You can use it for lifting, running, jumping, hanging, you name it.

With the VFF’s, running was brutal.  You could feel every little crack, crevice and pebble under you foot.  Lose your concentration during a run and your spine immediately turns to dust.  For me, its kind of like having a pet elephant.  Hard, flat footed, smelly, visible toes and only good for one thing – riding to work.  But what a ride it is!

I have spent some time training exclusively with this shoe with great results and I have not been disappointed with its performance in any single area. It does however, excel as a minimalist running shoe and falters a bit as a lifting shoe. Your feet feel adequately protected from the elements while still having that light minimalist feel. When lifting, that same feeling of protection comes with a disconnect. I felt steady under large loads but just not as planted as I do with the VFF.

All in all, the Zeros are an amazing all round shoe.  Fashionable, flexible and somewhat forgiving.  Running is comfortable, lifting is solid and we don’t look like we belong in the Jungle Book when we go out.  Best of all, your nostrils don’t burn after a hard WOD.