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Löpskolan: “Natural motion” running trend

March 9, 2012

Runner: Jonas Fast. Location: Boulder. Photo: Fredrik Ö

Spring 2012 is all about “running natural”. Most running shoe brands have responded to the minimalistic and barefoot currents and have at least one or two models for “natural motion”. However similar in theory the outcome is far from identical, with a broad variety of weight, fit, profile, drop, cushioning, support, protection, running feel etc. As a running shoe review editor I have been fortunate to test this smorgasbord of running shoe delicatessen.

At the moment I’m testing Saucony Peregrine 2, (278g and 4mm drop) due in Swedish stores this summer. Compared to the first version No 2 has softer cushioning and a lovely running feel, making it a splendid door-to-trail shoe, ideal for road, gravel, park trail and even ultra-trail. As you might know Saucony has lowered the drop in most of their models, you can choose between 0, 4, 8 and 12 mm. Each model’s drop is printed on the insole the shoe.

Inov-8 Roclite 268, women's model. Men's model 295 is black.

Inov-8 has been pushing the evolution for lightweight, flexible & low profile trail running shoes with the X-Talon 212 and X-talon 190 models, which have been praised by hardcore trail runners. I have mentioned the Bare Grip before, which stands out among the many shoes I have tested. Their wide 2012 collection include approx 24 different trail running models, 5 hybrids, 7 road- and 3 barefoot models. They have also a few indoor crossfit shoes and lightweight hiking shoes (approx 310g). Inov-8’s take on “natural motion” is truly applied minimalism, and evidently a runners driven company. As a runner you’re most likely to find a shoe with the characteristics you’re looking for, being able to chose from 5 different levels of cushioning. The X-Talon 190 is not as protective as X-Talon 212 which features a strong

Sneak preview of Saucony Peregrine 2

rip-stop upper.  X-talon 212’s stiff upper also holds the foot better compared to the 190. But X-Talon 190’s running feel is even quicker thanks to lightness and a somewhat more narrow toe box.  Yesterday I took the Roclite 295’s out for a long run. This model has a wider last with a round toe box and thus a somewhat “sluggish” running feel. But it’s very flexible and offers plenty of protection, a low profile and excellent traction, which makes it a good choice for technical trail and off trail running.

Running wise I’m slowly getting stronger, but it’s a process. I remember the days when I could run up and down hills for hours. Now I have to walk during the steepest climbs and stop and rest. But, there is some development. At least I imagine that. This image we have how running “should be” plays tricks on our minds and destroys our ability to enjoy running. Searching for feeling during a run I mostly feel slow and sluggish and not at all as light and fast as I would like to. But remembering this, that running in a illusion has little postive to offer, and I know from experience that it’s only when I relax and let go of the judgemental image that I truly can enjoy the running moment. As a running coach this is probably the most important idea I can share.


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