A year ago, I stood at the starting line of the Peninsula Athletic League (PAL) Cross Country Championship Finals and watched my daughter run as a Freshman for Hillsdale High. The PAL consist of high schools from Aragon, Burlingame, Capuchino, Carlmont, El Camino, Half Moon Bay, Hillsdale, Jefferson, Menlo Atherton, Mills, Oceana, San Mateo, Sequoia, South San Francisco, Terra Nova, Westmoor, and Woodside. The 2.95 mile CSM/Crystal Spring Cross Country course is where I usually test a lot of minimalist trail running shoes. But on that day, I scanned all the running shoes that the high school girls are wearing and barely see half a dozen minimal shoes. Same for the five races that followed. A sprinkling of Saucony Kinvara and one Vibram Five Fingers.
This afternoon, when I watched and took photos at the starting lines of four races, at least half the shoes are minimal shoes or cross country flats. But dominated by Nike Free, Saucony, and New Balance. And I was surprised to find a few girls wearing Newton Distance. No Vibram Five Fingers in sight. Although an unscientific observation, I’m glad that more and more high school kids are transitioning to minimalist running shoes before further damage to their body. My daughter started wearing minimal shoes last year and raced in the Adidas adipure Gazelle. Her shoe rotation includes the adipure Motion and SKORA BASE.
Knock on wood, my daughter have not had any running related injuries since she started wearing minimal shoes for training and racing. A few of her team mates have various form of foot and ankle injuries this year. But I’m trying my best to convince them to changing their shoes and running form for sustainable running. The parents might be convinced but the kids have to take the initiative to change.
As for the Freshman/Sophomore races, both winners wore New balance minimal shoes. Freshman Zoe Barrie from Aragon High clocked in at 20:01 in her NB XC 900. The boy’s winner, Sophomore Michael Berket from Carlmont clocked in at 17:15 in his NB RC 5000. Maybe minimalist running shoes are finally replacing traditional heeled running shoes and results are starting to show. Most importantly, as long as the kids run injury free, parents and coaches will be super happy. At least I am. Onto Track & Field season next where minimalism has barely started but that’s another challenge…
For detailed reviews of minimalist shoes, please visit Minimalist Running Shoes for all shoes that we have wear tested.