Well, not really, but I am getting slightly closer to minimalism. I got a hold of a pair of Saucony ProGrid Mirage shoes, which are billed as a minimalist trainer for mild overpronators. I'm not an overpronator, or an underpronator. I'm very neutral actually. But after trying them on they didn't offer too much motion control to keep me from testing them out on the road.
Easy on the feet AND easy on the eyes...
I went out for a little 3 or so miler the other morning and intended to take it pretty easy, which I did. At first.
The Mirage is lighter than any other shoe I've been running in lately by a good few ounces, and it's apparent that the cushioning is not what plusher shoes sport the minute you step to the sidewalk. However, it's not like you're wearing nothing or something really thin. You can still step on a pebble without feeling it on your foot.
I wanted to keep my pace above 8:00/mile for this little run because I think that's reasonably easy for me and I wasn't sure how I'd feel two miles into it. But what was interesting was that I never felt the mid run fatigue I usually do in new shoes and I chugged along for the last 1.25 miles at a 7:45/mile pace clip. And when I was finished running I felt great.
Most barefooter/minimalists I know of experience some kind of soreness/pain in their calves when adjusting to the style of running that type of running forces (midfoot strikes rather than transitioning from heel to toe with every step), but I already run like that, thanks to what I've incorporated into my form after reading Chi Running, and I had none. I don't know if that's because the Mirage isn't minimalist enough for that or if my form is already conducive to minimalist running, but no soreness for me.
I was really excited to try out the Mirage and after a couple runs it appears my excitement was justified. The next thing I want to try them out for is speed work, which, for once, can't come soon enough in my training week.
I'm supposed to have the opportunity to try out another minimalist shoe pretty soon that weighs only 3.5 ounces (The Mirages are around 8.5 ounces). If that happens and I'm as happy with them as I seem to be with the Mirages, who knows. Maybe running in the Mirages is the first step to doing more running with less on my feet.
This appears to be my way to go to when it comes to minimalist running without jumping right in: from plush, heavy running shoes to the bare minimum one (shoe) step at a time...