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The Running Event 2013: On The Expo Floor - Day Two

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The Running Event (TRE) is a conference and expo for running specialty store buyers held annually in Austin, TX. TRE 2013 runs from December 3 to December 6. Continuing with what we saw on the floor on TRE Day One yesterday, here are more highlights, starting with some heavily cushioned shoes:

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Altra Zero Drop

Altra Zero Drop is adding cushioning big time to their collection with the launch of Olympus and Repetition. These shoes have the highest cushioning and require next to no transition time but don’t offer as many foot strengthening benefits. Notable is The Repetition, the world’s first highly cushioned, max stability Zero Drop running shoe. Olympus is the only trail shoe with a foot-shaped toe box and max-cushioned Zero Drop platform - a Hoka One One killer.

Updates to existing models include Torin 1.5, Instinct 2, and Superior 1.5 shoes. They are also introducing their first casual shoe, the Instinct Everyday where you can mix business and pleasure with a comfortable yet professional version of the Instinct

Hoka One One

Maximalist shoe brand Hoka One One introduces their latest model, the Conquest road shoe - the other models were all designed for the trails. The Conquest uses the new R-Mat midsole material which is designed to provide both excellent resilience and dynamic performance. The Conquest also include a no-sew construction, external heel counter, gusseted tongue, and race laces.

Vasque

The ShapeShifter Ultra is Vasque's maximal shoe, it aims to conform to your foot as well as the terrain below with its midsole made up of individual pillars that bend around rocks and roots you step on along the trail. Unique to the ShapeShifter is their pull-on design and no-tie Boa lacing system.

New Balance

New Balance has a slew of updates starting with the Minimus Zero Road v2. I wear tested an early prototype of this model last summer and it is a significant improvement over the previous version in terms of feel and performance. But the forefoot design needs to be less pointy! The upper keeps its simple with mild amounts of support in key areas such as the heel, lateral forefoot and medial midfoot - sheds about a half ounce of weight as a result of these changes. The fit remains snug in the heel and midfoot but with plenty of room built into the forefoot to allow for the natural mechanics of the foot.

The Minimus Zero Trail v2 is a complete redesign with a new outsole that has sticky rubber and redesigned aggressive lugs, allowing for better traction on challenging trail and mountain conditions. A full-length RevLite midsole on the Zero v2 Trail provides a responsive, cushioned ride that is lightweight and durable.

The new Fresh Foam 980 is New Balance's entry into the maximalist category by combining ultra-plush cushioning with a reduced drop from heel to forefoot to offer a super soft, bouncy ride that protects runners without sacrificing speed. The Fresh Foam 980 has a lightweight, breathable construction paired with a simple, plush upper to keep feet comfortable and protected. A unique spray paint finish and fresh, eye-catching design provide a lower to the ground running shoe ideal for any workout or wardrobe.

The long awaited New Balance 110 v2 will now feature a full rock plate and a full-coverage rubber outsole made of durable sticky rubber. The uppers has been redesigned to prevent tears from the perforation in the previous version. The 110 v2 will still be a lightweight, 4 mm drop, nimble trail running shoe.

Newton Running

A complete refresh of the majority of the Newton collection except with Gravity III, Motion III, Distance III, and Distance S III. They will all have the new 5 Lug technology which offers a broader and more stable platform. With 5 lugs, it now accommodates the splay of all 5 metatarsals with increased responsiveness and ground communication. Their uppers also have new materials and laser-perforated overlays and less stitching for a sleeker style.

“The fifth lug provides more ‘pop’, or the dynamic platform that gives Newton Running shoes their unique feel and ride,” says Newton Running President Craig Heisner. “POP is also an acronym for ‘point of power,’ which is the forefoot landing zone involved with a balanced and efficient run gait.”

Newton is also evolving its product architecture on the Motion III and Distance S III by offering a new Extended Medial Bridge (E.M.B), designed to provide a broader platform for added stability. Combined with a lightweight, laser-perforated micro-suede overlay on the upper, these two models provide runners with additional support under the arch without over-controlling the foot’s natural motion.

New but more for runners who are interested in the technical aspects of a shoe visually is the tonal icon in the midsole mold that identifies heel to forefoot drop in each model. In our opinion, EVERY brand should start doing this!

Vibram Five Fingers

Vibram is expanding beyond running in areas like stand up paddle boarding, kite boarding and wakeboarding. In the running category, they're looking at the popularity of adventure races like Spartan Race, Tough Mudder, Muddy Buddy, Zombie Race and Warrior Dash. The Spyridon MR (short for mud runner) is an off road runner with attitude. It features molded 3D nylon mesh in the midsole for a rock block effect, dispersing impact over a wider area. A 360 degree lug pattern provides grip in every direction and a speed lacing system offers a secure fit. The polyester and canvas upper ensures rugged durability.

Vibram is also adding slightly more cushioning to some of their road running models. The Bikila EVO is a road runner offering the benefits of going barefoot with slightly more cushioning. The toe shoe features zero drop construction with an 8.5 mm sole to aid in transitioning from a traditional running shoe.

But Vibram is also going the other direction with Max Feel by offering the best in ground feedback. The KSO EVO features a sole combining the XS Trek compound with a zigzag lug pattern for superior flexibility and enhanced grip and traction in all directions. A reinforced polyester mesh upper offers a perfect balance of durability and lightweight performance and a speed lacing system provides a snug fit and easy entry.

Rounding up the new shoes, the SeeYa LS Night uses a unique reflective printing on the uppers so runners noticed at night. This streamlined road running model is ideal for seasoned and competitive Five Fingers runners looking for high performance in the lowest weight possible.

VIVOBAREFOOT (VB)

VIVOBAREFOOT is expanding their popular EVO model with the EVO PURE. The EVO PURE with a thin breathable mesh and a new lightweight upper-cage technology is the purest on-road and in-gym performance shoe VB ever made. Everything your foot doesn't need is removed to create a shoe with less material.

For the trails, the new TRAIL FREAK features a duo 3M mesh and laminated structure for a comfortable and secure second skin fit. The shoe features an aggressive high-grade rubber outsole for ground-hugging traction, along with bungee laces for easier access.

In the barefoot luxury casual shoe category, two hand cut 'Made in Portugal' models make their debut: LISBON and BANNISTER. These are hand cut, hand stitched, and handcrafted using premium leather components. The finest traditional shoe making techniques are resurrected to create these shoes that have a wide anatomic toe box and super thin puncture-resistant sole for your feet barefoot luxury.

The LISBON redefines formal shoes and is a genuine goodyear welt, incorporating VB's barefoot technology. This hand-cut welt has the VB anatomic shape, total flexibility, shank-less construction and barefoot sole. Made with natural cork filler and a natural leather foot bed, the LISBON shapes to your foot for timeless fit and feel.

The BANNISTER is a sleek lace-up with sports styling that harks back to the Roger Bannister era. Leathers that look better with time and move beautifully.

Day One at TRE 2013

For detailed reviews of minimalist shoes, please visit Minimalist Running Shoes for the 200+ minimal shoes or barefoot-style shoes that we have wear tested.

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