Minimalist Shoes

Last week, temperatures were in the 90’s and all I wanted to eat was ice cream and popsicles. I keep my freezer pretty well stocked with ice cream and froyo, but I thought I could save some cash by making my own (healthier!) popsicles at home. Raspberries were on sale, so that determined my main flavor. I also picked up some 2% Greek yogurt and a lemon. The other ingredients were pantry staples.


  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 pint raspberries (or other berry)
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • pinch of salt


  • Begin by making a simple syrup – in a small saucepan, bring water and sugar to a boil and then reduce to a simmer until sugar is disolved (~5 minutes). Allow to cool slightly.
  • In a blender, combine simple syrup and remaining ingredients – puree until combined.
  • Pour into popsicle molds and freeze for at least 4 hours.
  • Note: If you don’t like seeds, use a sieve to strain out the raspberry seeds from the blended mixture. I left mine in – more fiber!

These were so easy to put together and they make a very healthy dessert (or post-run snack!)

Nutritional Stats:

The man-friend and I have been eating at restaurants quite a bit lately, but I did manage to cook something on Sunday evening. I put together a simple salad with spinach, rasperries, and homemade citrus dressing, heated up some bakery bread in the oven, and made a spinach fettuccine dish based on Eat, Live, Run’s Green Goddess Pasta.

The dinner wasn’t quite as fancy as a restaurant meal, but it was reasonably healthy and came together in about 30 minutes. Both very important things!

By now, you’ve probably read dozens of articles about the barefoot/minimalist running craze, so all I’m going to offer here are my own experiences. In general, I’m pretty skeptical when it comes to trends, but I have to admit that reading Born to Run really had an effect on me. McDougal’s argument just seemed to make so much practical sense – I was hooked! I’m currently alternating though about 6 different pairs of shoes (long story, it’s kind of ridiculous) and as far as traditional trainers go, the Brooks Ghost 3 are my favorite. I love ’em! But I also have quite a few lightweight shoes in my rotation.

Saucony Kinvara 2

My thoughts: I bought my first pair of Kinvaras back in December 2010 and just recently purchased the updated model (which is very similar to the original). I cannot say enough good things about these shoes!! They are very lightweight, while still providing a cushioned feel. They’re one of the only minimalist shoes that I feel I could do full mileage in right away. Specs: 6.7 oz and a mere 4mm heel drop (a small toe to heel drop promotes forefoot running as opposed to the much maligned heel strike). 

New Balance Minimus

My thoughts – the first time I wore these running it was quite shock. My shins and knees really took a pounding as I ran on the roads of Central Park. However, when I gave them another shot on the treadmill, it was much more comfortable. For the time being, I’m using these shoes for shorter runs (less than 5 miles) on soft surfaces. As an aside, I really like the design of these shoes – they look cute with jeans and sundresses! Specs: 6.6 oz, 4mm heel drop.

Vibram Bikila LS

My thoughts – These are my most recent acquisition (thanks Dad!) and as with the NB Minimus, I am being cautious with integrating them into my routine. I started off just walking around in them to get used to the feel and have now progressed to running a few easy miles. I’m definitely not ready for a long run yet – the lack of cushioning makes my calves work extra hard! The new Bikila LS model features laces that provide for a better fit (previous Vibram models had a velcro strap) and since they take up virtually no space, they’re a great back-up running shoe to take while travelling. Specs: 10 oz.

Thoughts on the current minimalist shoe craze? Do you think it’s just a passing trend?

  • J (morning runner)

    I have brooks ghost and I think that will be as minimalist as I ever get.  They are nice and light but offer a bit of support.  I have a bunch of my old spikes from track that are super minimalist but I only ever raced in them for the shorter races – the longest race was the 800.  Don’t know how my feet would hold up running longer in them!

  • AR

    I was a fan of the Nike Frees when they came out and am pretty much exclusively in Kinvaras at this point. Though I have to say, they haven’t helped me in my quest to land more on the midfoot. I tend to think shoes may may it easier to MAKE changes, but they don’t actually help you do so….if that makes sense.

    Also, scared of vibrams. I’m a chicken!

  • Great post! I cannot read enough about minimalist running. I have the NB minimus and I agree with you – they were tough to get used to, but now I like them for racing. I am going to buy my 4th pair of Nike Free 3.0’s this weekend.
    And I totally hear you as far as the calves-pain. I can’t stretch them enough these days. I’m in the market for a foam roller and hope this helps ( and b/c my husband is sick of me asking for calve massages everyday!)
    I’ve been thinking of making homemade popsicles too! I’m gonna try these! It will be fun to experiment with different fruit. Where did you get your popsicle mold kit? ooh I bet you could even add chia seeds to these…

  • we have an really smart guy at a local running store here in greenville and he said that this whole minimalist thing came around in the 70’s too. He said that it was a fad and it would pass. BUT, he does endorse racers, like the Kinvara, what’s the other Saucony shoe, the switchback?? He did not endorse the Nike frees or the virbam five fingers…. I love my switchbacks but can’t run more than 7 miles or my arches hurt.

  • Anonymous

    the popsicle molds are from Whole Foods! they were on sale for $9.99 and
    they’re BPA free 🙂

  • those popsicles look delicious!

    Before i read “Born to Run” I wasn’t at all into the minimalist craze, but have to admit it got me interested. I’m kind of nervous to try a minimalist shoe because I’m so injury prone, but may bite the bullet and buy some soon. the Kinvara look like a great option!

  • Anonymous

    yes, the kinvaras are a great shoe – and much less intense than the vibrams!

  • I LOVE my Brooks Green Silence shoes in addiction to my Bikila’s. Between the two of them, they are the only shoes I run in!

  • Anonymous

    i’ve heard really good things about the Green Silence! I <3 Brooks.

  • Elise

    wow! very intrigued and excited about your newest addition to the shoe collection!!  Have been thinking about getting a pair myself but am nervous- maybe you can convince me if you work your way up to an AM run in those bad boys!!  totally agree though- born to run was so convincing!! 

  • Erin Cochran

    I absolutely adore my Saucony Kinvaras. I never even realized they were considered  “minimalist” – I just liked that they were lighter and felt wonderful on my first run. 

  • Not a fan!  I love my Brooks Adrenalines and I am going to stick with them. I don’t believe we were made to run on pavement either so I think we need some extra cushion.  On trails it’s also hard because they are so rocky you’d slice up your foot.  I think it’s great for some people, but nothing I would ever want to do 🙂 I’ve heard compelling arguments both ways, but I’m going with the if it ain’t broke theory right now.

  • Anne

    didn’t know these saucony were considered “minimalist”, the sole is so thick and it is so cushioned… I have the saucony grid type A4 and in these you really feel the ground.

  • R. Grace

    I’m not a fan of people wearing the minimalist running shoes as regular daywear shoes… I feel like the little toes-holes are great breeding grounds for bacteria, especially if you’re wearing them for 8-10 hours. Are they easy to clean? Any problems  with athletes foot or itching? I have really high arches so I don’t think they’re for me.

  • I’m about 20 pages away from finishing “Born to Run” and like you, I find the arguments pretty compelling. Pre-reading the book, I thought the notion of barefoot running was just ridiculous, but the book put things into a more balanced perspective. I’m thinking of purchasing the Saucony Kinvaras as my next pair of shoes to ‘ease my way’ into things so I’m glad you think they’re good for that! 

  • Lindsey Barr

    I clicked over from smitten kitchen… but I thought I would share my LOVE for the Vibram Fivefingers.  I switched over to these about a year and a half ago, and I never run in anything else (I started with the Sprint, and just bought the Bikila LS a few months ago). I have always spent a lot of time barefoot, so the transition to these wasn’t as bad as it could have been. I have always been really injury prone and have had problems with knee pain and bursitis in my hips, and I was actually able to STOP wearing my knee brace (that I had been in for 3 years) a few months into running with these. So I am a convert!

  • Healthyeverythingtarian

    omg. i have so much catching up on your blog to do. not because i don’t love you, but because like you, i have a life. get ready for a slew of comments… 🙂

  • I, too, love my Kinvara 2s, especially because I can actually train in them! I don’t have the patience to incorporate others into my routine. I received a sample pair of Saucony Hattoris when I was still in NY and was told that I shouldn’t start out running more than half a mile in them. I’m too low-maintenance to deal with changing my shoes mid-run!

  • AHHH Vibrams! you have cojones!!!! I am terrified of both the look and the feel of them!!

  • Those popsicles too great!! I hate wooden sticks (too much strep as a child I think) so I always have to make my own!!  As for the Vibrams… I am scared of them I think.  I just don’t think they would be for me.  Not to mention I have to wear arch supports…

  • Sana

    You mentioned the difference between treadmill running and running outside in terms of how hard each one is…I don’t know if you keep tabs on the calories you burn while running but if you do, do you find the calories burned outside vs. on the treadmill are different or similar?

  • great reviews! the new kinvaras sure are pretty.

    I bought the kinvaras last December too, almost immediately after you spoke very highly of them.  I didn’t know what I was in for, in terms of how “minimalist” they are.  I hated them…couldn’t run over 3 miles in them without getting achilles issues. 

    So, count me out for the minimalist trend.  And the vibrams? whenever I see someone running in them it sounds like they’re slapping the pavement with force.  painful.

  • Anonymous

    good question, I think that running outside would burn more calories because
    you have to deal with wind resistance, uneven terrain, and hills.

  • I have VFFs for my Crossfit workouts, but I’ll typically wear my Converses during heavy lifting days. I am so protective about my VFFs and am desperately worried about them getting smelly shoe / foot syndrome, so I haven’t put them to as much use yet. I think there’s something definitely to be said about changing it up, though. I don’t believe that it’s good for our feet to get used to the same exact support / structure of any one shoe … it just doesn’t seem right to me.

  • Roaming Gnome

    Raspberry popsicles – yummmm!

    Great review of 3 minimalist shoes – very objective.

    “Born To Run” is a terrific read. While barefoot running isn’t for everyone, it does have merit as does usage of minimalist shoes. My biggest beef with “Born To Run” is its coverage of the Western States 100. There is considerable mention of Gordy Ainsleigh and Ken “Cowman” Shirk as UD pioneers in the Tevis Cup, a horse race that evolved to become what is now known as the WS 100; however, they weren’t the only ones. The first “OFFICIAL” Western States 100 race for humans was in 1977. Andy Gonzales won it that year, repeating in 1978. Also, in 1978, among 63 starters (of which only 30 finished) was Pat Smythe who was the first woman to finish the WS 100 in under 30 hours. As a side note, the legendary and colorful Walt Stack ran the race that year. He was about 70 at the time, but as he exceeded the 30 hour limit isn’t credited with finishing. I personally knew and ran with these folks.

    For those of you interested in being dominating runners and reading the best book on running and training, there is only one to consider: “Running The Lydiard Way” by Arthur Lydiard. Lydiard has coached approx. 18 Olympic medalists. His methods have been adopted and are still used by the east Africans (notably the Kenyans) and Japanese. Paula
    Radcliffe, Deena Kastor, and Meb Keflezighi all follow a Lydiard-based training

  • Liz

    sounds like they aren’t running in them correctly, from what I’ve read!

  • Ang.

    My sister got a pair and has high arches. She broke her foot *walking* around a theme park in them, and her ortho told her that people with high arches *cannot* wear them. My advice, do your research and read lots of reviews from different sources on any minimalist shoes you buy.