News / Barefoot

Merrell Barefoot

In 1960 Abebe Bikila was a late addition to the Ethiopian Olympic team, set to run the marathon.  When he didn’t like the way his shoes fit before the race, he decided to scrap them and race barefoot, the way he had trained.  Two hours and fifteen minutes later, he was Olympic champion, the hero of a nation and the first big name in barefoot running.

Fast forward nearly 50 years, when Christopher McDougall releases Born to Run, a book about the Tarahumara tribe in the remote mountains of Mexico.  Slowly, people started to talk more and more about barefoot running and the benefits that it brings.

Fast forward to now, where Merrell® is proud to announce a new partnership with Vibram®; exclusively collaborating to introduce a complete Barefoot Collection of shoes in the outdoor category.  Basically, we’re putting together a collection of minimalist, lightweight, versatile and efficient footwear that will be available in February 2011; an entire category of barefoot shoes that lets your feet lead you into your outdoor passion of choice.  

A lot of people aren’t sure what the hoopla surrounding barefoot running and activity is all about. Think of it this way - these new shoes will help create a more natural stride by moving you away from the heel and encouraging forward momentum, where you land at mid foot.  This all makes for lower impact, and a more aligned and efficient gait. AND you get some health benefits wrapped in there. Because most people are so used to walking/running/moving with their heel striking first, this design will stimulate different muscles, helping to strengthen your core and agility.  The whole idea that what you put on your feet - be it to hike, bike, run, walk the dog or just grab a coffee - can help improve your health and body is pretty awesome.

Remember the scene in Pretty Woman where Julia Roberts makes Richard Gere take his shoes off and walk around in the grass? People love being barefoot because it creates a connection with nature and what they’re doing.  But, since most people aren’t willing to walk to work, hike a trail or ride a bike completely barefoot and since most restaurants and shops won’t let you in completely barefoot, this new collection is ideal for people who are looking for that connection.   Because we believe that shoes can fit incredibly well AND look good at the same time.



Needless to say, we’re really excited to be offering a truly unique Barefoot Collection.  And partnering with Vibram makes us that much more excited.  So what are you waiting for (other than February 2011) – we’ll see you outside!