serious running: trail running, races, shoe reviews

Born to Run: Minimalist Running Shoe Store

posted by Chris Barber

vivobarefoot-evo-minimalist-running-shoeThe next logical step has come in the barefoot and minimalist running movement, a minimalist only running shoe store.  First, athletes started running barefoot.  Seeing the loss in business, running shoe companies started developing their own minimalist running shoes.  Established running shoe companies like New Balance developed minimalist models and many new running shoe companies sprang up who focused predominantly on minimalist shoes like Kigo Footwear and Terra Plana.  Someone has to sell these new models of running shoes; enter Born to Run: the barefoot shoe store.  Wait, barefoot shoes?  Oxymoron anyone?

The store is located in Bellevue, Washington and is owned by Barefoot Ted McDonald, one of the original and expert barefoot runners, along with Dan Fairbanks as CEO.  They started Born to Run because, “We believe that the human foot was created perfectly as it is.  Our mission is to spread the joy of free feet by educating others on the benefits of minimalist footwear, teaching how to use it properly, and by selling the highest quality of minimalist footwear on the market.”  There is a lot of great information on their website about minimalist running techniques.  They also have weekly minimalist running seminars at the store along with minimalist group runs.  A great place for minimalist runners to learn from each other.

I couldn’t find any other minimalist running shoe specific brick and mortar stores on the Internet, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist.  I think this is a great idea which has finally capitulated since ‘Born to Run‘ the book was released.  My problem is with their store name though, “Born to Run.”  They are already capitalizing on Chris McDougall’s book, ‘Born to Run’ which created the demand for a minimalist running shoes for a specific store, so why go all the way and name the store the exact title of the book?  Their website URL is actually!  In my research I also found another running shoe store that is named Born to Run Inc., obviously before the book was released.  I’m not sure how trademarks work, but I found that the store has trademarked the name ‘Born to Run’ for their use.  I wonder how this is legal?

At any rate, I wish Barefoot Ted and Dan the best of luck in their endeavor to grow this minimalist running shoe store across the country.  It’s a great idea and should prove to be a profitable concept, they just missed the mark on creating a unique brand.  No one knew what a Google was when it first got started, but that doesn’t mean they should have named the company, “Search Engine Plus.”



  1. I appreciate the article and the support. I admit that we are definitely capitalizing on Christopher McDougall’s book. You don’t always have to be original to be successful. Although, originally it was just going to be called The Barefoot Shoe Store, but that was a bit of a mouthful and was apparently too hard for some people to remember. Plus, is a much better url than In the end it’s how we define Born to Run the store and distinguish it in customers minds that matter. That also goes for the Trademark as well. We did do our homework.

    1. Chris Barber says:

      Thanks for commenting Dan. As a person who operates a website I can appreciate naming your brick and mortar store to be an optimal search term for the web. For instance, I found and wrote about the store and I live on the other side of the country. Good luck in your endeavor and keep in touch as you grow!

  2. Thanks Chris. It really is an exciting time in running and we are hoping to position ourselves well as the minimalist shoe market grows, but more importantly we are excited to lead the way in educating the everyday runner on how a more natural barefoot like running style can help them run more efficiently and with less chance of injury. We really do believe that we are born to run and the store is in most ways and extension of the philosophies of the book. We believe that running is something that you can find joy in doing, and our goal is to spread that joy through educating our customers. Running doesn’t have to be a means to an end, but rather it is the end itself. Or to put it another way you don’t have to run to burn calories, or to look better naked, or to just say that you did it, but rather like the way a surfer surfs, runner’s can run just because they love to do it.