Gear of the Week 9:16.11

September 16th, 2011 in Articles by 5 Comments

In our column, “Gear of the Week,” Faster Than Forty drops the dime on the trendiest running products straight from the people who know – the buyers and retail managers at the nation’s best specialty shops. This week Monica DeVreese, co-owner of Santa Barbara Running Company, says that the following items are hot sellers in their beautiful Santa Barbara, CA store.

Minimalism is running strong in the posh American Riviera. The three models that are finding their way to the most feet are the prodigious Vibram Five Fingers, the aforementioned New Balance Minimus, and Nike’s Free series.

The Free is a pioneering shoe in minimalist territory, having predated Vibrams by about a year. It has experienced numerous cosmetic and structural transformations since its prototype hit shelves in 2004, but it has remained committed to the minimalist telos of barefoot imitation. In spite of its rather technical nomenclature, Nike, in many ways, understood from the beginning what DeVreese describes as the minimalist “journey” or “process.” It has a spectral line of Frees that range from the more structural and supportive 5.0, to the sleeker 3.0, to the latest Free Run +2 – the +2’s focus being on flexibility, comfort, and sheerness.

This sloping evolution is a fantastic example of how barefoot running should be approached: gradually! As DeVreese explains, barefoot running is a move back to basics, as we’ve trained ourselves to need “overbuilt” footwear. If we want to head back to less, we need to train our feet and bodies accordingly. Nike has smartly pared its models down with time, giving loyalists the opportunity to participate in a kind of 12-step program away from dependence on “overbuilt” shoes.

Oiselle LogoIn the apparel department, Oiselle – a new women-specific running company based out of Seattle – has found a robust outlet in Santa Barbara. Oiselle has done remarkably well branding itself as feminine, earthy, and alternative. That said, the Oiselle line is focused on quality and performance, designing products to fit and feel as good as they look. Although not completely niche, Oiselle doesn’t really compete with “The Bigs” (Nike, Adidas, Under Armour, etc.), which span athletic and gender lines. Oiselle is running- and women-specific.

Monica and Joe DeVreese opened Santa Barbara Running Co. in 2003. (They opened a second store in nearby Goleta in 2007.) Both have worked in the footwear and running industry for some time. They were in the employ of Adidas for several years before moving to Santa Barbara. Upon doing so they realized that, for as active a community as Santa Barbara was, it lacked a running specialty store. They have been providing dependable merchandise and valuable advice ever since…

Gear of the Week columnist Carlyle Eubank is a graduate of Amherst College, where he ran track and cross country. He is now a scriptwriter living in Los Angeles, and he continues to run competitively. If you have a suggestion for Gear of the Week or need to contact him for any reason, drop him a note here.

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Author: FasterThanForty

5 Comments

I actually did a report for school focusing on minimalist running shoes. As Mr. Eubank describes, it is important that those who try minimalist running not transition too quickly. I have a friend who has had lots of injury problems as a result of not following this author’s advice.

Johnny

9/20/2011

Mr. Eubank gives good advice. I wrote a report for school that investigated the effects of switching to minimalist running shoes and found that those who transition gradually face a much lower chance of injury.

Mattrick

9/21/2011

Any more gear of the week articles forthcoming?

Mattrick

10/10/2011

Yup; we’ve been backlogged with a few things, but G.O.W. is in development…

FasterThanForty

10/11/2011

It’s going to be end of mine day, however before
ending I am reading this enormous piece of writing to increase my knowledge.

Whoisology.com

1/1/2016

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