Barefoot running has been around since the beginning of running itself, and thanks to a recent surge in popularity, is making a major comeback.
Some research suggests barefoot running may reduce injuries because of the more-natural way feet strike the ground, and plenty of those on the barefoot bandwagon attest to how great it feels.
For those interested in ditching their sneakers, but not yet ready for the full-bare approach, there's an alternative: minimalist shoes. Soft Star Shoes' new line of minimalist footwear, the RunAmoc DASH LITE, is lightweight — between 5.6 ounces and 8.7 ounces depending on the size and sole type — and includes a wide toe area that replicates the barefoot feeling.
The DASH LITE has a flat, flexible sole that's made by Vibram, a top minimalist sole manufacturer. You can choose from two sole options: the trail, which is 5 mm thick and provides extra traction on wet or rough surfaces, or the street, which is 2 mm thick and gets you closer to the barefoot feel. Upper portion of the shoe is soft leather with holes for ventilation and includes lacing for size adjustment. Shoe has reflectors on the front and back for nighttime visibility.
Designed and made in the USA. Color is black with silver accents, but custom colors are available. Pricing starts at $97. See Soft Star Shoes' website at www.softstarshoes.com.