Merrell Barefoot, the new line of footwear from popular shoe manufacturer Merrell, has just launched their Merrell Barefoot microsite, which features minimalist and barefoot-minded content. This includes blog posts focused on barefoot/minimalist running, videos on how to run with a barefoot style featuring barefoot running guru Jason Robillard, and more.
More details about the Merrell Barefoot launch, and the answer to if you can buy them after the jump!
Merrell Barefoot Partners with the Minimalist/Barefoot Community
Merrell has reached out to the soft-stepping but often loud-and-opinionated (but never overzealous, right?) barefoot/minimalist community in an effort to step up the dialogue between shoe manufacturer and shoe wearer. Perhaps the biggest challenge for most of us Vibram Five Fingers fans has been a lack of options outside of toe shoes that are foot friendly. Having some competition — having a few options — is a great thing.
Jason Robillard’s involvement speaks a lot for Merrell’s efforts to get involved with barefoot running. Also, it’s no coincidence that Merrell tapped Vibram to design the Merrell Barefoot soles.
Other efforts Merrell has made to integrate with the growing minimalist footwear community is that they reached out to a number of blogs — like BirthdayShoes — and gave us a sneak peak at their shoes. I’ve been testing (had to keep it on the d/l!) out some Merrell Barefoot Trail Gloves now for a couple of months and my review is forthcoming in the next day or two!
In a nutshell, I can tell you that Merrell has put some thought into making a competitive product for the minimalist footwear/barefoot shoes enthusiasts. And the timing on this release is great! Given it’s still wintertime for most of us, it can be hard to keep your toes warm when they are separated! Foot mittens make a lot of sense for this reason. I’ll save the rest for my review, but I think the Merrell Barefoots are exciting shoes that cater to a lot of the requests in the growing movement for more foot friendly, barefoot running shoes.
So go check out the Merrell Barefoot site if you get a second! Below is a sample one of the videos you’ll find there of Jason Robillard talking about barefoot/minimalist running training:
Finally, the question you’re all wondering ….
Can you buy them?
Though it looks like much of the collection isn’t yet “in stock,” I see there are some Men’s Trail Gloves (What I’ll be reviewing!) available here, some women’s Pure Gloves (pic) available here; and some women’s Pace Gloves (pic), the counterpart to men’s Trail Glove, available here. Other models like the women’s Power Glove, the men’s Tough Glove, and the men’s Pure Glove are still pretty much out of stock. Stay tuned!
Below you’ll find Merrell’s press release on the site launch. What say you about Merrell Barefoots? Any burning questions you’d like to ask? Comment below! And review forthcoming!
Merrell Barefoot Press Release
MERRELL LAUNCHES INDUSTRY FIRST BAREFOOT RUNNING EDUCATION SITE
Go-To Barefoot Running and Adventure Resource Includes Merrell Bareform Training Technique That Blends Proper Running Form with a Total Body Strengthening and Flexibility
ROCKFORD, Mich. (February 1, 2011) – In tandem with its first barefoot collection of shoes hitting market, Merrell launches a new microsite, merrell.com/barefoot, the “go-to” resource on how to begin and train for barefoot running and adventure. As part of the launch, Merrell will introduce the Merrell Bareform Training Technique that incorporates proper running form, body strengthening and a flexibility regime for top condition training. Partnering with key barefoot and running ambassadors, such as Walt Reynolds, a top trainer, coach and owner of NovaSport Athlete Development, and Jason Robillard, barefoot ultra marathoner and founder of the Barefoot Running University, the site will introduce barefoot adventure to fans through videos, tips and news articles related to the growing barefoot movement.
“As we looked at the fast-paced barefoot movement and listened to key influencers in barefoot running and lifestyle, we realized there was no place consumers could go to learn about the necessary training and education needed for barefoot adventure,” said Craig Throne, vice president of global marketing manager at Merrell. “As we introduce an entire collection of barefoot shoes with the goal of getting more people outside having fun, we want to make sure there is a resource so that runners and outdoor enthusiasts don’t just jump into a pair of barefoot or minimalist shoes without the proper background.”
“My primary decision to work with Merrell was based on their dedication to education around barefoot,” said Jason Robillard, barefoot ultra marathoner and founder of the Barefoot Running University. “To date, every other manufacturer of minimalist shoes has done a poor job of educating people about proper running gait when transitioning from traditional running shoes to minimalist shoes or barefoot. Merrell is the first to fill this education void, and I am more than happy to help them do so. My ultimate goal in the promotion of barefoot running has always been education. We can help fuel their enthusiasm about barefoot running while providing solid information to prevent them from injury.”
“I am a firm believer that everyone can ‘move better’ and barefoot is the best way to do so,” said Walt Reynolds, long-time trainer, coach and owner of NovaSport Athlete Development. “I am thrilled to help Merrell develop an educational program that supports their new barefoot line of shoes. The Merrell Bareform Training program combines the benefits of proper running form with total body conditioning, strength & mobility exercises that apply to hikers and climbers as well. This is a whole-body program that will benefit every active person, no matter what outdoor adventure they choose.”
This March Merrell is planning to introduce a barefoot training iPhone application designed to introduce runners and outdoor enthusiasts to the barefoot movement and provide the education needed to begin to run and move. There will be a mix of four training intervals to instruct on the natural way to run, with a midfoot to forefoot landing, and aids in developing ankle, knee and hip stability to promote good movement. The application will also host a Merrell Barefoot iTunes mix that is based on the 180 beat-per-minute cadence of a natural running stride.
Merrell Barefoot will be available at retail stores and on merrell.com in February. Merrell Barefoot blends minimalist design for added foot freedom with specific traction zones to meet the needs of any terrain – from street to trail. The designs help engage the feet for a more natural stride by moving the wearer off the heel and encouraging forward momentum to a mid-foot landing with lower impact and a more aligned and efficient gait. This technique helps stimulate and strength muscles strength in the legs and feet.
Merrell® is a brand within the Outdoor Group, a division of Wolverine World Wide, Inc. that also includes Chaco and Patagonia Footwear. Merrell believes in encouraging everyone to get outside, be active and have fun, and is the largest outdoor brand partner of the National Park Foundation. Wolverine World Wide, Inc. is headquartered in Rockford, Michigan. The company’s portfolio of highly-recognized brands includes: Bates®, Chaco, Cushe®, Hush Puppies®, Merrell®, Sebago® and Wolverine®. The Company is also the exclusive footwear licensee of the following popular brands: CAT®, Harley-Davidson® and Patagonia®. The Company’s products are carried by leading retailers in the U.S. and globally in nearly 180 countries and territories. Merrell, 9341 Courtland Drive, Rockford, Mich. 49351. Phone: (800) 789-8586; Fax: (888) 746-3329. FACEBOOK www.facebook.com/merrell TWITTER: @merrelloutside.