Testing The Minimalist Waters–Saucony Progrid Mirage

I have been intrigued but very cautious about the minimalist trend for running shoes. On the one hand, with my history of plantar fascitis, it doesn’t sound like a good idea. On the other hand, devotees say that minimalist running is a good way to avoid many running-related injuries. My podiatrist (who is a more serious runner than I am) is not very enthusiastic about the trend, but he is the one who “prescribed” Brooks Adrenaline shoes when I had my first bad bout of plantar fascitis, so he may have his own bias.

As more and more of my running friends had positive things to say about their minimalist shoes, I decided to test the minimalist waters–cautiously.

My Mizunos

The last time I went to Pacers to get a new pair of Mizunos, I talked to one of the sales people about my dilemma. After trying on several different shoes in a range of “minimalism” I settled on the Saucony Progrid Mirage.

Although the sales person said that many people can switch to these particular shoes with no issues, he suggested that I ease into them to be sure that they don’t cause any problems for me. Since I still had a few races on my 2011 calendar, I took his advice seriously, and followed this plan over about six weeks:

Run #1
Started and ended in Mizunos with 12 min in Sauconys:
5 min walking
5 min 5.7 mph
5 min 6.0 mph
20 min 6.3 mph
5 min 5.7 mph
5 min 6.0 mph
2 min 3.7 mph
3 min 3.7 mph

Run #2
15 min in Sauconys after 10 min elliptical + 35 min weights workout:
2 min walking 3.7 mph
3 min running 5.7 mph
7 min running 6.0 mph
3 min walking 3.7 mph

Run #3
15 min in Sauconys after 10 min elliptical + 30 min weights workout:
2 min walking 3.7 mph
3 min running 5.7 mph
8 min running 6.0 mph
2 min walking 3.7 mph

Run #4
20 min in Sauconys before 35 min weights workout:
5 min walking 3.7 mph
5 min running 5.7 mph
3 min running 6.0 mph
7 min walking 6.3 mph

Run #5
Forget to set my alarm and only had 30 min for a workout, so I gave it all to my Sauconys.
5 min @ 3.7
5 min @ 5.7
5 min @ 6.0
5 min @ 6.3
5 min @ 6.5
5 min @ 3.7

Run #6
5 min @ 3.7
5 min @ 5.7
5 min @ 6.0
5 min @ 6.3
5 min @ 6.5
2 min @ 3.7

After these last two runs I felt confident that I could wear my Sauconys for my usual treadmill workouts (4-6 miles) and have been ever since.

Now I wear my Sacuonys on the treadmill, and my Mizunos for outdoor runs.

The Saucony Progrid Mirage are different enough from my Mizunos, but not very minimalist. Still, I do feel a difference in my gait and think they encourage a mid-sole footstrike. They are just what I needed to dip my toes into the minimalist waters.

What are your thoughts on minimalist running shoes?

Do you have a pair that you love? 

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6 Responses to Testing The Minimalist Waters–Saucony Progrid Mirage

  1. bearrunner says:

    I want to try a pair of minimalist shoes myself but not go too extreme with it

  2. Vicki says:

    I agree, I like the Mirages and wear them on the treadmill. I have never liked heavy shoes and these are just slightly lighter than what I am used to. A good way to dip our toes in..but don't think I will go anymore minimal. (I liked that these have some stability support, too.) Did you not like the Adrenalines? I had worn them for years, but switched away before my last injury that started in Sept. So going back to them for outdoors.

  3. SuperBabe says:

    I am undecided. I recently gave my dad a book (http://www.amazon.com/Born-Run-Hidden-Superathletes-Greatest/dp/0307266303) where the author is all about running almost barefoot (in his case, he mentions he buys his running shoes at the One Dollar store), so my Dad (who has perfect running form – he and I went to a "Good Running Form" -http://www.goodformrunning.com/- check-up at our local sport stuff store), is all excited about that now. For me, my feet are so messed up (crooked toes and other issues) and I run on a trail, so I worry about things on the trail that would injure my feet with less "protection" on the sole… I still try to run landing mid foot and all (so not so much relying on the fatty part of the heel on the running shoe), which I had to re-learn after taking my good running class, but I haven't had the desire to actually buy a pair of minimalist shoes… Currently I have Brooks Glycerin 9 and I LOVE them!

    • Coco says:

      That's why I chose these, and not something more extreme. I know some people say that "barefoot" running is good for plantar fascitis, that's not a risk I want to take!

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