shoe report: my new (balance) kicks

i’ve had this blog in my drafts pile for a while, so i’ll give you a review of my pk shoes (santa brought me a new pair for christmas), always a popular topic of conversation among traceursesessssssss.

by the way, i’m hearing americaaaaans pronouncing traceur like ‘tracer’, as in ‘tracer bullet’. if the word was ‘tracer’, it would be spelled that way. it is spelled ‘traceur’ so we must rub some franglais on it and say it in a way that doesn’t make us [americans] look like ignorant hillbillies who know nothing of the original language of diplomacy, i.e. french. so move the stress of the word to the first syllable and then say it like you smell a sewage leak. and if you can’t say traceur correctly, don’t even try traceuse, just say ‘girl who trains parkour’.

yoga and parkour are alike in that you don’t need much equipment to practice them. for yoga, a mat; for parkour a pair of shoes. FACT: the mat/shoes can range from really cheap to really expensive, but will have almost no bearing whatsoever on your practice. as a gear junkie i am genetically attracted to the most expensive equipment, so i will practice on a manduka for the rest of my life. and my pk shoes are beyond my experience level, but come in pretty (expensive) colors.

the consensus in pk/fr circles in south africa is that new balance is a pretty awesome company and makes pretty awesome shoes. they also sponsor some of the parkour athletes here in SA. i think NB is awesome because they still make sneakers in my home state (Maine), so buying them supports my friends and family back home!

mens minimus road, ladies minimus trail. not shown: the ones in ugly colors.

(NB minimus philosophy as told by a long-haired hippy)

the more i trained pk outside, the more i wanted a shoe similar to what i wore racing cross-country/track & field in high school, i.e. low profile, fitting close around the front of the foot, thinner sole, and without the wide/wedge heel in the back. the sales people assured me that the ‘barefoot’ style running shoes were what i was looking for. so i got 2 pair of the NB minimus, one trail (ladies) and one road (mens). i recently added a pair of the new ladies minimus zero in turquoise. because i luvs them, i luuuuuuvvssss them! here’s why: 

  1. both street and trail are very forward, meaning they get me moving on my toes and make running easy for me. they were designed to do this and there’s a warning on the box about achilles tendon damage. wait, what, damage? huh?! nevermind, just keep reading…
  2. the strike pattern of the shoe is helping me pronate rather than supinate when i run, which hopefully will reduce the risk of ankle rolls for me.
  3. because of their forward construction, when i precision i usually land on my toes. for this reason alone these shoes are awesome for me!
  4. the trail and new road minimus models have vibram soles, which are stickier on painted surfaces, making rail work more comfortable for me. i love the grip, unfortunately, i’m losing pieces of vibram doing cat work.

one additional note: the minimus does not come with an insole, to compensate i use an insole called sofsole which absorbs up to 4x the impact. get the ones without arches if you can, and make sure you try the minimus with the sofsole in it when you’re judging size as the insole will change how the shoe fits you.

kicking back in my lovely ladies minimus zero in turquoise. not shown: ugly mens in piss yellow.

(a cool ad campaign for the NB minimus)

note that i have found these shoes to be great for me, for now. and as my ability and usage change over time i may choose other shoes. the men’s road shoe was my early favorite because it supported my sprained ankle a bit better and it has a single layer sole, no vibram, but no tearing! it also had a bit more reinforcement around the toe. unfortunately, they have disappeared. i think perhaps i left them somewhere or perhaps they walked away after i left the top down on my convertible while i went shopping. so, here are some care and maintenance guidelines:

  1. don’t leave your shoes in your car with the top down in johannesburg, south africa. common sense, i know.
  2. buy shoes based on whether or not they fit properly and are the right tool for the job and not what color scheme they are. unless you are me, and then get whatever the hell you want.
  3. never use your sneakers for anything other than their intended use, i.e. don’t wear your pk kicks to work even though they are comfortable and look totally RAD!
  4. untie the laces when putting them on and taking them off. cramming your feet into tied shoes can break the heel support and weaken the shoe where you need it most.
  5. make sure shoes are tied properly when in use so the foot is secure, lessening wear and tear on the shoe. it will also save others from getting hit when your shoes fly off during a webster.
  6. when not shredding, store your kicks in a cool, dry place (not in your gym bag, boot of your car, etc). when they get wet let them dry out (if you take the insole out they dry faster), but don’t dry them in a dryer. don’t wash them in the washer either, hand scrub with mild soap.
  7. to reduce stinkiness: see #6 above and use synthetic socks that wick moisture away. also sprinkle baby powder or baking soda in your shoes after use to absorb odor and moisture. i actually prefer gold bond, but they don’t have it here in south africa.

(NB minimus isn’t just for running)

whatever shoe you train in, wear them well and take care of them! and if you can find me these or these (in south africa) i will bake you a cheesecake. a real one with a graham cracker crust and phildelphia cream cheese. and your choice of topping.


One comment

  1. i swear if i can get those MR10RB it wil be like running on clouds and pooping rainbows. i find it hard they were developed for men, they remind me of my pretty pony.

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