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Women and Barefoot: The Merrell Womanialism Chit-Chat

Posted by on Nov 28, 2011 | 6 Comments

Many people have asked why there aren’t more women testing the waters of barefoot and minimalist shoe running.  Merrell is doing more than asking.  They’re doing something about it.

Merrell  is hosting a Facebook-based chat session on their FB page dedicated to answering questions and stimulating discussion.  Read about the details here:

Merrell Womanalism Chit Chat

The first session will be kicked off by Emily Snayd, one of the fastest female minimalist shoe runners on the planet.  Subsequent sessions will be hosted by Iris Sutcliffe, Caity McCardell, Shelly Robillard (don’t miss that one  🙂 ), Krista Cavendar, and Kate Kift.  Follow the link to get the schedule.

What do you think?  Why aren’t there more women barefoot and minimalist shoe runners?


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  1. Clare Harding
    December 3, 2011

    I do think many women are worried about developing gnarly feet – and maybe big feet. But times do seem to be changing. Of course, as the progression is made to bare foot runnning, this helps the toes to straighten out so the feet actually look prettier. Bunions and curly toes do not look good!

  2. Caity McCardell
    November 29, 2011

    As my favorite person to quote (The Maple Grove Barefoot Guy) says, women seem to have arrived. He notices that many events now are somewhere around 60% men, 40% women. As someone who wants to encourage more women to try out barefoot running, those are encouraging numbers. (The stats vary, of course.) I get emails all the time from women who have been inspired by female barefoot bloggers. When women have role-models, we tend to be more likely to try something strange/unusual/crazy. BTW, I can’t wait for the Merrell chats!!!!

  3. Jeff Gallup
    November 28, 2011

    Maybe it’s just me, but it seems that I run into more minimalist/barefoot blogs by women, than men.. at least so far. Not that it represents the numbers of runners out there.. but its interesting.

  4. David
    November 28, 2011

    My wife wears only minimalist shoes to run in. I can’t get her to go barefoot though. She is more afraid of “ugly” feet than anything. I also know she typically cares a lot more about her shoes beig in style. So it may just be a lack of shoes designed to be something they would feel good wearing.

  5. Trish Reeves
    November 28, 2011

    Thanks for posting. Hey, have you also noticed that a lot of times when a company comes out with a minimalist shoe, the men’s version comes out first? I wonder if that’s part of the problem…perpetuating the idea that this kind of running is meant for men. I dunno, just a thought.

    • Liz
      November 29, 2011

      I’ve definitely noticed this and it ticks me off. Also noticed the stores seem more likely to stock a larger selection of men’s shoes – range of colors for a style and styles within a brand. The limited selection doesn’t make it any easier for women to get and/or stay involved – which is especially true in the minimal segment, since the options are so much more limited (than conventional running shoes). Can make it really hard to find the right tool for the job; and extremely frustrating to think that there’s a men’s shoe that would work, if only it were made small enough.

      And, while I’m kvetching, I also don’t like that Merrell’s names are different for what might be considered “equivalent” shoes (granted there are some minor design differences between them) – Trail Glove v Pace Glove, Sonic Glove v Lithe Glove. Confuses the issue when shopping and can make it hard to have a conversation…