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“Finding the right shoe can absolutely change everything.” Eric Heyl knows shoes. Running shoes to be exact. Heyl’s employer, The Lincoln Running Company, builds business on industry knowledge, filling their store with running freaks and mild participants alike. “Arch analysis, pronation or supination, foot width — so many things tremendously change the shoe you should run in.” So we asked the shoe guru, what’s hot in running shoes right now? The Minimalist “The zero-lift style, low profile shoe is selling like crazy.” Heyl says the trend of lightweight running kicks is blowing up for a damn good reason. “The minimalist is a tool, not an everyday shoe.” The design is meant to embrace a natural style of running, which ignites a new set of muscles and tendons rarely utilized with modern shoes. The idea is to “eliminate heel strike,” keeping you more efficiently relying on the balls of your feet. While it’s an awesome concept, it takes years for your body to fully adapt to a different style of running. Nike’s, Sasha Kerigaysky, came up with the pioneer concept, Nike Free , when he saw professional track athletes running barefoot. The shoe was developed in 2004, and was gradually adjusted and perfected to the phenomenon it is today. As of late, Nike has seen a number of competitors try their hand at minimalist — Adidas, Saucony, Brooks, New Balance and Altra to name a few. Heyl’s favorite? “The Brooks ‘Pure’ is my go-to.” Heyl has also noticed the explosion of “barefoot” shoes like the Vibrum Five Finger , but noted that the shoes are very tough on your tendons, especially for less experienced runners. The Original “It’s all about trimming the fat. Eliminate unnecessary parts of the shoe.” Like the minimalist design, everything in shoes is getting a little more simple. “The big difference with these shoes is catering to certain arch fits.” While the minimalist looks to reshape your stride, nothing can beat an original style of shoe when it comes to support and cushion for a long, grueling run. So why not get the best of both worlds? That’s exactly what Heyl suggests. “The best thing you can do is two pairs.” Running with moderation in a minimalist shoe type, as well as an original design that fits your foot, will strengthen every part of your running, while also avoiding soreness and the dreaded shin splints. The Shoe-wards Best Value — Nike Pegasus This shoe has been a staple of cross country and track teams for over 20 years. It’s tough to mess with the tradition of success that comes with these kicks. Best Brand — Brooks When you specialize, you either dominate or deteriorate. Brooks knocks it out of the park. With a near perfect minimalist shoe ( Pure ), and a handful of original styles, the Brooks models hone in and cater to every style and preference. Best Trainer — Asics Blur The Blur provides the flexibility and cushioning of a quality running shoe, with the lateral support needed for side to side movements. The high stability, high comfort combination is perfect for things like sports-specific training and crossfit. Best Race Shoe — Saucony Fastwitch 7.8 oz of twisted steel and sex appeal, this low-cut racing flat provides phenomenal support for its mass, specifically for pronators. Best All-Purpose —  Asics 2170 Brand-new for Spring 2012, this shoe covers all the running bases. Moderate arch support for most feet, gel cushioning for industry leading comfort, and a fit designed to hug like a mom dropping her kid off for college — this shoe laces up clean for just about anybody.
Source: Complete Nutrition

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