Merrell… Yeah, I’m obsessed with them and this is why…
If you haven’t noticed yet I’m a Merrell runner and some say I might be the first ever Merrell Minimal Fan Boy… It’s true, and I am fine with that, I love it. Why? Well after running a billion miles in regular “high heel” shoes I tore a tendon in my foot at mile 16 in a marathon and had to really stop and rethink my running altogether… I was on my way to ironman so what could I do???? I thought my journey was over.. Then Dr. Ryan Green (Varsity Sports) and Dr. Mark Cucuzzella (Two Rivers Treads) came into my life and I started sponging data, drills, exercises, and any tips I could get from their natural running brains. Within weeks I was running again, within months I was running long, then I knocked out a couple 70.3’s, tons of training volume, and now it’s almost time for the full Ironman Louisville 140.6 in August. This natural running method not only felt so much better during the actual run but my legs, core, and overall body has drastically changed and I have noticed a substantial amount of muscle development and overall power increases.
With that being said, just merely buying the shoes won’t do a damn thing for you… There is some hard work ahead, a lot of patience, and a complete overhaul/reboot of your running form. You should be ready mentally to let everyone keep piling on the miles and volume as you drop back down to zero and start from scratch. This is not something that brand new minimal shoe buyers want to hear and it usually scares them away but here is the reality people, IT”S HOW WE WERE MEANT TO RUN… You think it’s natural to put womens high heels on and run a marathon?? Umm, let me think… NO!! So why would you wear big giant shoes (that have giant high heels) UNLESS you have a true medical need. Some people absolutely need big giant cushy running shoes or big giant TANKS that provide massive stability, and that’s ok.. Some people need wheel chairs, crutches, orthotics, and other helpers due to medical necessity. If you need these things due to prior injuries, trauma, or your bone/musculature development then fine, it’s needed, but If you DON’T need this stuff then why would you use them??? The market trend is beginning to pick up steam and move towards a large minimal market. I think as time goes by the shoe market is going to shift dramatically away from these “dependent” style shoes, that most people run with (even if they don’t actually need them), towards a minimal natural running shoe.
If you want to practice natural running you don’t have to buy anything… Just take off your shoes and start running in your driveway, local basketball gym, a clean parking lot, or a sidewalk. Too fast, Too soon, too Far will 100% result in injury… Go slow, Go LOW mileage, feel your way into it, and please LISTEN TO YOUR BODY.. You will feel just like a kid again and that’s a good thing because kids actually know how to run and you could learn a great deal from them since they have not been deprogrammed yet by these giant shoes.. When you do decide to buy some shoes to take you a little further, help protect you against pesky glass, rocks, nails, etc, then check out Merrell. They have brought me a long way and I stand behind not only the shoes, but the customer service, the reps, and the ethical production of the shoes (I’m vegan so yes that matters).