Barefoot running, once an underground movement reserved for oddballs and third-world athletes, is beginning to get a solid hold in the active community. Though still few are running truly barefoot, the forefoot strike and the use of minimal shoes is gaining popularity.
I’ll admit that since trying it, I have become a convert to the style. Shoe companies from Nike and New Balance, to niche brands like Inov-8, are answering the call for more options and introducing various approaches to the minimalist market. Vibram’s FiveFingers shoes, considered by many to be the next best thing to truly running barefoot, are flying off of shelves in athletic stores around the country.
A new entry, Kigo Footwear is a Georgia-based outfit that has “barefoot” shoe models scheduled to hit stores in August. They are marketed as “eco-friendly minimalist footwear for athletics and everyday wear.”
The Kigo Edge model is a slip-on shoe made for “active men and women,” the company says. It offers complete foot coverage but almost no support for a protected barefoot-type stride.
At first glance, the shoes remind me of aqua-socks, the thin mesh water slippers that have been around for a decade or better. Though I have not used them, the Kigo shoes appear to be significantly more sturdy than your average department store aqua-sock. They weigh a slight 5 ounces apiece and are constructed with recycled materials and water-based glues.
They will cost about $70. That’s $70 more than it takes to truly run barefoot. But if you want a slight step up from skin on the road, Kigo shoes are one more option for runners looking to embrace the barefoot way.