Sole Man: 12 Things We Learned About Minimalism

  • By Brian Metzler
  • Published Aug. 29, 2013
  • Updated Sep. 2, 2013 at 6:44 PM UTC
The running industry is going through some major changes — most notably consolidation and increased online sales — but the notion of selling minimalist or maximalist shoes has been business as usual. Photo: Scott Draper

Minimalism Changed The Running Industry — Sort Of

Shoe brands have come and gone throughout the past 30 years (Does anyone remember running shoes from LA Gear, Pony, Kangaroos, Converse or Etonic?). While major brands have remained mostly constant, they were also forced to adapt.

Some, like Nike, adapted quickly and successfully; others, like Brooks, Saucony and New Balance, took their time to innovate and develop messaging and purpose behind their new concepts. Others not so much. Perhaps most importantly, the trend spurred innovation from all directions, which in turn allowed new brands, such as Newton, Vivo Barefoot, Skechers, Altra, Scott, Ecco, Under Armour, Vibram and Hoka, among others, to gain shelf space on the shoe walls of running stores around the world.

Certainly there has been a shift, but longtime shoe industry veterans might argue that it’s just history repeating itself. Brands will continue to come and go with the ebb and flow of future trends, and chances are not all of those modern upstarts will be around in 10 years. One thing we know is that minimally designed shoes certainly didn’t lead to more minimal prices.

RELATED: Sole Man — Where Do You Buy Your Shoes?

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FILED UNDER: Shoes and Gear / Sole Man / Staff Blog TAGS: / / / / / / /

Brian Metzler

Brian Metzler

Brian Metzler is the editor-in-chief of Competitor magazine. He has raced every distance from 50 yards to 100 miles and run in more than 700 pairs of running shoes in the past 25 years. You can reach him at

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