SEATTLE, March 15, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Onlineshoes.com has recently introduced the new Merrell Barefoot collection, the latest entry in the booming minimalist running shoe category. Proponents of barefoot running believe that running without shoes, or with only minimalist shoes, while employing proper technique can reduce injury and promote health. Onlineshoes.com is looking for enthusiasts interested in testing those claims, and will be giving away free shoes to four lucky winners. Read on to learn more about some of the best minimalist shoes available and find out how to enter the contest to win a pair of Merrell Barefoot running shoes.
Barefoot running shoes are taking the running world by storm. The basic inspiration behind this phenomenon is that 'getting back to nature'—that is to say, how human beings got around on soft, uneven ground before the invention of hard, paved roads—can be beneficial, and the Merrell Barefoot collection is designed to help people do just that. When used properly, these minimalist shoes stimulate sensory receptors in the feet (each foot has more than 7,000 nerve endings), encourage better posture and alignment, and strengthen foot and leg muscles.
Merrell joined forces with industry leader Vibram® to come up with, essentially, cross-training shoes that offer dependable protection while allowing a feel for the terrain: What resulted is the Merrell Barefoot collection. Each style features a smooth, chafe-resistant interior, a thin layer of compression-molded EVA, Aegis® antimicrobial treatment for freshness and the Vibram® Trail Glove outsole that is characterized by a 0mm gain in heel height.
Men's styles include the Trail Glove, Tough Glove and True Glove, all three of which employ the Omni-Fit™ lacing system to ensure a truly glove-like fit. The most outdoor-ready of the trio, the Trail Glove has a Durable Water Repellant-treated (DWR) upper to stand up to wet conditions and a sporty design that makes it look at first glance like standard men's lightweight running shoes. Great on asphalt and treadmills, too, this minimalist trail running shoe was just named a 'Best Debut' in the Runner's World magazine Spring 2011 Trail Shoe Guide (April 2011 issue).
The heaviest style of the three men's offerings, weighing in at 7.1 oz. per shoe, the Tough Glove has the versatility and Euro-inspired urban style to fit in just about anywhere. It is made from full grain leather that molds to the foot for a customized feel.
Merrell is known for footwear constructed with a women's-specific fit, and their women's minimalist running shoes—designed for women, by women—are no exception. The Pure Glove is a cute mary jane that can be worn to the office and taken out for a power walk during the lunch hour. Featuring a touch of stretch at the heel and synthetic leather foot sling for an even better fit, the Pace Glove is the women's version of the men's Trail Glove. Rounding out the women's styles is the open-front bootie, the Power Glove, with a soft leather upper and distinctive Z-Rap™ closure for easy, one-hand on and off.
"Merrell's popularity continues to grow by leaps and bounds. We're very excited about the six barefoot running shoes in this collection, which have already exceeded expectations in interest and popularity," notes Onlineshoes.com Senior Buyer Michelle Juno.
Another minimalist shoe family generating considerable buzz, the New Balance Minimus line, will be available at Onlineshoes.com starting in July with the WT20 and the MT20. NB Minimus is a cross-category collection designed to provide enhanced ground feel—'closer to barefoot'—while still offering reliable ground protection. Minimus will include road running, trail running and wellness shoes for those persons simply seeking a more natural stance when standing or walking casually. New Balance's Shane Downey shares information about the anticipated New Balance Minimus line in a guest blog post, New Balance Goes Barefoot.
Note: Adapting to minimalist shoes requires time, training and technique. People must learn how to move away from the heel strike to a midfoot landing, which requires, among other things, smaller steps than most runners and walkers are accustomed to taking. At the outset, new users should wear their shoes no more than 10% of their total workout time. Some muscle discomfort is normal, but anyone experiencing shooting pains should stop wearing the shoes until the pain subsides. Those with a pre-diagnosed physical condition should consult a physician or sports medicine specialist before using barefoot running shoes.
About the Contest: Onlineshoes.com is looking for minimalist shoe enthusiasts to test-drive the latest innovation in athletic footwear, so they are giving away four pairs of women's or men's barefoot running shoes from the Merrell Barefoot collection. Just visit the Onlineshoes.com blog Get in Gear contest to answer the question, "Why do you think you'd be a perfect candidate to try out a pair of minimalist running shoes from the Merrell Barefoot collection?" (200 words max). Entries will be accepted from March 10, 2011 through March 23, 2011. Four randomly chosen winners will receive a free pair of Merrell Barefoot running shoes in the style, gender, size and color of their choice, valued at up to $120. See the complete contest rules and regulations.
Check out the Merrell Barefoot collection and all the great Merrell footwear and clothing at Onlineshoes.com, and remember to look for the other minimalist running shoe styles that will be featured later this summer!
About Onlineshoes.com: Established in 1996, Onlineshoes.com is the nation's first online shoe retailer. With a history that began decades ago in a family-owned corner shoe store, the company is committed to delivering exceptional value and service. Onlineshoes.com offers the latest high-quality footwear for men, women and kids with more than 240,000 shoe and clothing choices from more than 250 name brands, as well as a wide selection of bags and accessories. Customers are entitled to a 110-percent price guarantee, a 365-day return policy, and free shipping and exchanges on most orders. For more information, visit www.onlineshoes.com.