The 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 borntorun.com! 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.”