Struggling to decide on the following 'minimalist' shoes.

I have been using a pair of Nike Tailwind 2009 for the past couple of years:

they have worn well but its time to buy a new pair of shoes.  

I have been drawn to the whole minimalist concept and its something I would at least like to try.  I am a neutral runner and I more or less land on my mid foot.  I tend to run about 20 - 25 miles a week recreationally - an average of 6 miles a run, sometimes 8 miles.  Occasiaonlly I run longer 10 - 13 miles.

I have been concentrating on running faster and I can comfortably run 8 miles at a pace of 7mins30 a mile (or less).  I am hoping I can improve on this still and a new pair of trainers might 'inspire' me image

Anyway, I seem to have narrowed it down to the following choices and have been reading tonnes or reviews on each:

Nike Free 3.0 V4 (would go for the V3 if they were available anywhere)

Saucony Kinvara 3

Brook Pure Cadence/Flow/Connect?

And for some reason I have the Adidas Adizero Adios 2 on my list?

I'm not sure what to expect in terms of responses, basically hoping to rule out any of these or settle on one and try and find the best price.  Price might be a consideration as £85 is a lot to spend on trainers and I would like something that would last a while (I have read that the Brooks Pures do not last long, where as the Nike Frees do).

Thanks for any comments/observations


  • I'd go for the Brooks, I have the trail version and they are the comfiest shoes I own!!!
  • I haven't tried the Kinvara 3's but recently got a pair of Kinvara 2's from Start Fitness for £50 (think they are now £60) and they are fantastic. Great fit and feel, very comfortable and responsive.

    Haven't tried any of the other trainers you mentioned but I have heard good thinks about the Brooks Pure Cadence.

  • Does anyone know what the codeanyone what the SS12 code means in wiggle?

    Send a good price for these but they are also listed more expensive without the SS12 code? Just wondering why? ?
  • I think that SS12 stands for a spring/summer 2012 model, AW would be autumn/winter.

    That's what I always assumed anyway, i could be totally wrong.

  • Thanks for the help.


    I am now down to the Nike free 3.0 v4 from Wiggle, or the Saucony Kinvara 2 from  This is based on price and both of these are coming out roughly the same price(although colours are limited on the Kinvara and I would have to opt for the black/red).


    Any comparision between these 2 shoes?  The Kinvara are more cushioned it seems?  Any ideas which would last longer?



  • Nike frees are really flexible and the soles don't look like they will last as well as some others

  • I haven't tried the kinvara but I did try the Mirage which are supposed to be similar and found them to be pretty stiff, more like a standard shoe despite the low weight and small heel to toe differential, not minimalist enough for me, I like my shoes to be able to flex! No experience of the Nike free though

  • I use Nike frees for treadmill running but haven't used any others so can't really compare, and I use different shoes outdoors, so not sure why I mentioned it.  But I love the lightness of them.


    Thanks all - I am going to try both on today and see if I like the feel of either - should help me decide.  Not sure how minimal I would be willing to go since I have no experience of it.

  • I have a pair of kinvara 2 and love them! You may also want to look at Inov8 f-lites - I've just got a pair of the 195 for short races and find them very responsive!

  • I've had both, well actually i've had the Free 3.0 v.2 Free 3.0 v.3 and the Free 3.0 v.4 and the Kinvara 2's.

    The Free 3.0 v.3 are awesomely comfy and I felt happy to run them on quite long outings (25+). They were also awesomely robust and I managed 450'ish miles before needing to swap them out.

    The Free 3.0 v.4 started to tear at the arch after a single 20 mile run. Don't know if it's my feet or the poor uppers but they just weren't anywhere as comfortable as the v.3's. Also, my feet got quite hot in these as the upper is quite a closed construction.

    The Kinvaras are a different fish, these things are super fast, super comfy, but quite fragile......I reckon you'd be lucky to see 200 miles out of a pair. They hold the foot a bit more firmly than the v.3's and don't have the same role during a direction change. the Kinvaras have a firmer sole than the v.3's (the sloppy sole of the v.3's is addressed by the v.4's) giving a responsive turn of speed.

    I loved the v.3's and really wanted the v.4's to correct the difficiencies in the v.3's (the dodgy heel, the ill fitting insole and the squishy sole) and it did but it stuck in a new issue in the upper.

    The kinvara, in my opinion, is a nicer shoe - I just wish it was 50g heavier with a little more outer sole. I'd like the Triumph 9 to have a 4mm drop to. Moon, stick, me, never.
  • Great response Sean - I have ordered the kinvara 2's so will report back. Still tempted by the Nike free though...was thinking of ordering a pair and maybe rotating them image
  • Good choice Bingo, I am sure you will love the kinvara's. After running in something so light and responsive I don't think I will ever be able to go back to more structured shoes.

    My Guide 4's feel like bricks when I try them on now.

  • Been out the past couple of days with some short runs in the Kinvara 2's (4-5 miles).  

    I'm impressed -  these shoes are really comfy.  I've had no problems with them out of the box.  They feel light and fast but still cushioned - you can feel the ground underneath a bit more but the shoe generally has a soft feel.  I wouldn't call them particularly 'minimist' but they are definately lighter and faster.

    I didn't really notice the lower heel to toe drop much - maybe because I run mid-foot anyway, and I havent had any calf/achilles problems after my two runs.  Might try a 7-8 mile run in them later this week.

    Still interested to try the nike frees to see how they compare. image

  • I have the free + 2's. They are excellent. Very light and comfortable, no issues at all. I have used them up to 1/2 marathon distance and I strongly reccomend them. I guess the  +3 would be similar.

  • Nike free 3.0 v.4 are ??44 at chain reaction cycles at the moment.....not a bad price if you've got an itch to scratch.
  • Ever considered Luna Sandals? Or do you just want to stick to trainers??

  • I'd second the recommendation to give huaraches a try.  I'll never go back to "normal" running shoes.

    Luna Sandals are one option.  Invisible Shoes (now known as Xero Shoes) are a cheaper but equally good alternative.


  • I'm digging up my old thread as a bit of an update.

    I've had the Kinvara 2's for 14 months now, and for the past few weeks (months even) I have been suffering from Plantar Faschitis.

    This is the first time I have suffered from this in ten years of running - I have never had a running injury before and I am not injury prone.

    I really think its down to the shoes - as my running style has not changed, nor has my pace or distance.

    I have a feelling that the lower profile of the minimalist shoes has caused my calves and achilles to be tighter, which may have contributed. Or perhaps in the last few months the sole has detoriorated and may have been a factor?

    Initially I thought the Kinvara were great, as they were confortable and light - but with hindsight I may just have had new shoe syndrome image

    Anyway I'm on the lookout for a (cheapish

  • Hello, I think Kinvaras are great, but based on your earlier posts you must have done over 1000 miles in that same pair. It's very likely the sole has deteriorated by now. Someone who originally recommended them said 'you'd be lucky to see 200 miles out of them'. I wouldn't go that far (unless you're quite heavy), but I wouldn't expect them to last as long as other shoes.

  • LOL

    I guess time just got the better of me.  I'll check out the soles and see, maybe even post a pic as I'm not sure what I'd be looking for.

  • XX1XX1 ✭✭✭

    I'd love to see a photo image  If you fancy giving minimalist a go just so you get a feel for what to expect from it then why not go for plimsoles at approx £4 a pair...  I've heard it said that Roger Bannister trained for the sub-4 minute mile in plimsoles but don't know if that is true.  Also, as you mid foot strike anyway can I ask why you're looking to switch to minimalist shoes?  I'm not suggesting it's a bad idea, I'm just interested in your reasons.

  • here are my soles - they don't look too bad.  And runkeeper suggests I have only 350 miles in the past 14 months, so I'm not running as much as I used to.







  • XX1XX1 ✭✭✭

    To be honest it is hard for me to derive much from those photos but I enjoyed them all the same image  Oh!  And I've just read this thread from the beginning thus realising it was an old one that had been dug up image  I believe that the smaller heel-to-toe drop would cause your calf muscles to elongate more on impact with the ground, which might make your Achilles and calfs feel tight and sore...  Ensuring that you run with a cadence of 180 should make you lighter on your feet and thus reduce the risk of PF.  When switching to minimalist it is best to cut your distance right down and build it up again slowly...  Listen to your body and don't continue to run until

  • XX1XX1 ✭✭✭

    ... all your niggles and pain have cleared up.

  • Well I had been running with them for many months and never had any issues.

    My average pace is around 7:30 - 7:45 per mile.  

    The only thing I can think of is that my wife started running again after the summer, and I would go runs with her a coupel fo times a week - she runs much slower at arounf 9:30 per mile.

    Perhaps the slower pace could contribute?

    Nothing else has changed.

    Regardless I think I need new trainers, Pegasus 29+ maybe?

    Any  thoughts?

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