Friday, July 22, 2011

Minimalist: Running: NB Minimus is HERE!


Minimus Road (Men) MR10

New Balance, a 105-year-old Performance Running Company Demonstrates “What’s Removed Is Just As Important As What’s Included”

Singapore (July 22, 2011) - Global athletic leader New Balance announced recently that this spring 2011, it will revolutionize the barefoot-inspired category with the introduction of NB Minimus, a collection of lightweight, versatile, minimalist footwear designed to provide a “better than barefoot” experience. A three shoe collection, NB Minimus will include road running, trail running, and wellness styles. All three styles will be available at select specialty retailers in August 2011.

Minimus Road (Women) WR10

“We have pursued a distinctly different path of ‘Light + Right’ with NB Minimus, meaning for a shoe to be ‘better than barefoot’ it must offer specific features that make it not only lightweight and minimal but also right for the end user,” said Katherine Petrecca, SBU manager at New Balance. “New Balance believes that what’s removed from a shoe is just as important as what’s included.”

Key to the NB Minimus collection is a new anatomically correct last designed with significantly less drop from heel to forefoot (4 mm in all styles compared to 12.5 mm in traditional athletic shoes). This gradual drop positions the foot into a more neutral stance and promotes a more natural stride by moving the wearer off their heel and encouraging a mid-foot landing. Each shoe uses stretch materials and minimal constructions that reduce weight. (each NB Minimus style in men’s size 9.5 weighs less than 8.5 oz)

Extensive research conducted through the New Balance Sports Research Lab (SRL) shows that the tendency for mid-foot or forefoot strike is correlated to midsole thickness and that less cushioning encourages a mid-foot strike. As a result, each NB Minimus shoe was engineered with lower sole unit heights. The reduced midsole and outsole thickness also allows the foot to flex up and down more easily.

Minimus Trail (Men, Orange) MT10

“NB Minimus delivers the benefits of the barefoot fit and feel married with the modern realities of terrain and feet that have been raised on shoes,” said Petrecca. Key benefits include strengthening the wearer’s feet and calves, encouraging good form running and walking, and increasing ground feel for better control.

Minimus Trail (Women) WT10

Both the NB Minimus road shoe--the MR/WR10--and the NB Minimus trail shoe--the MT/WT10--are designed for road and trail runners who prefer minimal footwear and to serve as a training tool for runners who aspire to change their gait. For the NB Minimus trail shoe New Balance collaborated with Vibram®, the world leader in advanced performance sole design, to create an outsole design that is engineered for natural movement and provides off-road durability and traction.

Minimus Walking (Women) WW10

New Balance will also bring the barefoot fit and function into the wellness space, offering a men’s and women’s walking style, the MW/WW10. This style can serve as a recovery shoe for road and trail runners seeking to help their bodies adjust to a more natural stance and can also be used for commuting, daily lifestyle wear, or wearing in casual work environments.
In addition to the New Balance SRL research and findings, Team New Balance ultra runner Anton Krupicka, who regularly runs 100 mile races in extremely lightweight product, provided wear test feedback and product development guidance. New Balance’s past success in creating minimal products such as the 790, 100, and 101 trail running shoes also provided the team with key insights.

New Balance plans to expand and evolve the NB Minimus collection to include other footwear categories and to address different levels of the minimal experience. In addition to new product, New Balance will continue its commitment to mid-foot strike running this fall by partnering with Good Form Running, an organization founded by Curt Munson, owner of Playmakers in Okemos, MI, that focuses on teaching runners how to run with proper mechanics so they can run faster, more efficiently, and injury free.

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