As an ultra-marathoner, Josh's primary concerns have always been comfort and durability. Having worn Minimus shoes in the past, he jumped at the chance to try out the new mono-tongue design in this year's Minimus Zero Road shoe, and was more than happy to talk about it with Drew — who was heavily involved in its development and design. Check out their conversation below, wherein they discuss the shoe's overall comfort and how getting your shoes dirty is almost always a good thing.
Josh: I just think the new tongue goes to everything that the minimalist shoe provides, and appeals to people in that it's one less area for [potential] discomfort, and one less area — honestly — for friction or blisters, because you don't have two edges of the tongue to worry about. And with the natural contour of the foot within the shoe, the tongue just sits right there and there's never any bunching on that side. It just sits there, and it's very comfortable.
The mono-tongue of the Minimus Zero Road shoe is a single piece of material that wraps around the foot.
Drew: That's awesome! That's exactly what we were trying to go for. It's actually quite hard to get that pattern just right. You know, a tongue moves from side to side, and it's been done the same way for a hundred years. So it was difficult to get the factory to cut it just right to get the tongue to fit nicely across the ankle. But they got it right, which is very cool.
So you used to run in the 905s? Those are still pretty lightweight for a running shoe, but how was your transition from the 905 down to something really minimal? How did you go about it? I know some people try and transition too quickly — how was your transition?
Josh: It was really comfortable for me. I've been running since I was a kid and one part of my training that I've always kept consistent was having the opportunity to run barefoot at some point. I found after 10 miles my calves started to get a little tight and I started landing more on my mid-foot — and really on the heel. So I still flipped back to the 905s [back then]. But it became a balancing act where my long runs with my minimal shoes were getting longer, and my 20 milers and 30 milers were still in a heel. But I gradually increased that [usage] over the course of, probably six months. So it was a very smooth transition for me.
Drew: What's your favorite shoe color?.
Josh: Honestly, I'm the kind of guy that likes showing my shoes get a little dirty. I like it when they're white and they kind of turn a little brown, you know what I mean? It's kind of like a battle scar to show off that they've been worn effectively.
Drew: That's cool, I like that. It'd be fun for you to hear some of the conversations around our office — that's one of them. I was pushing for the white one, but there was concern it would look dirty, butI was like, "No, that's cool."
Josh: That's the cool part about it!
Drew: No, I agree. It's great when a pair of shoes can tell a story. After a year or two you can remember where you wore them, and can see a stain from here or there.
Drew: What would you do to a new shoe if you could? Or what would you like to see in a new version?
Josh: One thing I noticed about this shoe happened when we had a beautiful day outside. It was 45 degrees out and with the snow, there were a lot of puddles — and I don't shy away from running through puddles. I kind of like to plow through them. And even with a smaller sole, I still noticed some standing water in the shoe while I was running. Obviously the mesh as a whole was wet, and I'm comfortable with water in my shoe [because] it keeps my feet nice and cool, which I'm very good with. But I didn't know if there was anything, generically speaking, with a drainage series of holes?
Drew: Yeah, that's kind of cool that you mentioned that. I actually had holes in this shoe early on and we took them out. If you look at the bottom of the shoe — the white part — there are three craters on the white EVA. So those used to be holes all the way into the strobel board, which is inside the shoe, but some people caught some rocks in them, so we filled those back in.
Drew: It's great that people talk and give feedback online. It's pretty new from when I started — that didn't exist basically. We had wear-tests and so forth but it's cool to just see and hear the community and have it all happen online. You might not think of it, but the designers and developers working at the company read it and notice when somebody comments on their shoes. We'll send it around the office because we're usually updating or still working on it. So it's cool that you care enough to write about it and give feedback. I just wanted to let you know we appreciate it.
Josh: Happy to do it, for sure!
*Due to variances created during the development and manufacturing processes, all references to drop and stack height are approximate.