I recently got my paws on the Nimble Toes zero-drop minimalist running shoes! I haven’t logged that many miles on them yet, but I wanted to do a first impression review to show you just how exceptional they’ve been so far!
The Nimble Toes really embodies all the qualities of a true minimalist shoe that goes into helping improve your forefoot running skills and helping you uphold stronger, more functionally tolerant feet for the benefit of injury prevention and run performance. Not to mention, the lightness of the shoe is definitely for runners who want a performance edge. Also, because of the ergonomic design and barefoot-feel, the Nimble Toes are a premium candidate for runners looking to transition to barefoot running, too!
Just to give you a little background about the company Nimble Toes, which was created in collaboration with Lee Saxby, the company is a BIG proponent of the natural running movement (i.e. running with a NON-heel strike landing) and the company’s mission is to get runners moving in a way that’s more functional and mechanically safe (i.e running with a forefoot strike landing pattern).
In keeping with the natural running movement, Nimble Toes has produced a stylistically diverse line of barefoot-inspired footwear intended for producing results that matter for helping you maintain a barefoot-like stride while strengthening your ability to engage your feet in a more functional way when running and walking! In that light, the net effect of wearing the Nimble Toes is better posture, sturdier balance and stronger feet and ankles which is why barefoot running shoes, like the Nimble Toes continue to be relevant and effective in helping to prevent injury.
Ultimately, what makes the Nimble Toes so great? Like a true minimalist shoe, the Nimble Toes are completely free of strength-robbing structural elements, like arch support, toe springs, wedge inserts, medial posts and all other kinds of crazy techy gizmo’s that most traditional running shoes have! This is how the Nimble Toes renews your foots role in helping you move better, walk better, run better in a functional manner by prompting more widespread functional use of the foot, helping you fuse a more stable connection with the ground, putting you on a firmer, more proactive footing during running and walking.
Nimble Toes Minimalist Running Shoes Review for Forefoot Running
The Nimble Toes feel like a cross between the New Balance Minimus and the Merrell Vapor Gloves which means the Nimble Toes are light, but not legendarily light, like most Vibrams or Sockwa’s. That’s because the Nimble Toes are armed with more material density than most barefoot-inspired shoes, but by no means are the Nimble Toes bulky! They are still remarkably light to provide the sensation that you’re not wearing anything on your feet! The lightness of the shoe gives a natural and zippy-feel which is great for going fast!
Overall, one of the major strengths of the Nimble Toes is that the shoes entire framework is very well-built, very stable in construction, they don’t feel flimsy and the materials feel like they offer substantial puncture-resistance. For this reason, I’m hoping the shoes will hold up structurally, long-term, to support running long, hard miles, and don’t fall apart like many wafer-like thin minimalist running shoes!
The Nimble Toes sits on a 4-mm thin zero-drop, flexible Vibram rubber outsole that gives you the advanced ability to maintain a safe and effective forefoot strike landing during running! Loads of research has convincingly shown that the smaller the heel-to-toe slope of a running shoe, the easier it is for you to uphold a forefoot strike landing that’s more targeted, more balanced and more soft and safe, which can be very lucrative for injury prevention.
The outsole is wide and flexes easy, delivering an anatomically compatible fit, matching the silhouette of the bottom of the foot, ensuring the foot can expand to its natural state.
For ground-feel, you don’t get the same heightened ground-feel clarity in the Nimble Toes like you do in many Vibram Five Fingers or the Sockwa X8. With that in mind, if you’re a runner who prefers NOT to feel every little pebble, stone, twig, or surface irregularities under your feet, the Nimble Toes definitely provides MORE fuller underfoot protection at the expense of a tad less ground-feel, but the ground-feel is still good enough to guide your forefoot strike to where it needs to be!
In terms of traction, the tread is a blend of circular and deep lugs. I’ve only ran on wet and dry smooth pavement and so far, the tread does provide secure traction under those conditions. I’ve yet to try them out on the trails or in other weather conditions, but in a few months time, I’ll be doing an updated review on how well the Nimble Toes performs on tricky terrain and in the snow.
If you prefer extra cushioning, the Nimble Toes also comes with thin, plush removable insoles that are firm enough to deliver more rock protection, but soft enough to add more comfort! It’s always nice to have a more cushy option for if you really enjoy a softer, smoother ride.
The BEST design of a running shoe is one that ergonomically compliments the shape of the human foot which is what the Nimble Toes delivers on! The forefoot of the shoe is anatomically correct in that its wide, allowing fuller toe-spreading which is essential for providing better stabilizing effects and serves as an extra source of natural impact protection during running.
The Nimble Toes upper is a blend of a lightweight mesh, premium stitching and high quality materials that moves with the foot. The upper feels secure, robust and protective; it all seems held together pretty well!
For breathability, its fall where I am, so I can’t comment on how well the shoes keep the feet cool in the summer, but in fall weather, I can run long distances (~18km) comfortably, without socks, and my feet stay warm!
Inside, the Nimble Toes feel seamless and smooth because I’ve worn them without socks and to me, the upper gives a very consistent soft feel. Lots of comfort without any glitches through it!
A runner looking to improve their forefoot running skills is very likely to benefit from the Nimble Toes because the shoe really has all the features that make a minimalist running shoe great for helping you shift away from heel striking, preventing unbalanced footfalls during running to helping you tune your forefoot strike mechanics to be lighter and more organized, keeping you rolling along injury-free.
I’d also like to point out the Nimble Toes have a 3-year product guarantee which speaks volumes about the confidence the company has in the longevity and durability of their shoe! A big seller factor!
If you want a more clear-eyed, in-depth assessment of the Nimble Toes, here’s my YouTube video review on the shoes:
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BSc Neurobiology; MSc Biomechanics candidate, ultra minimalist runner & founder of RunForefoot. I was a heel striker, always injured. I was inspired by the great Tirunesh Dibaba to try forefoot running. Now, I'm injury free. This is why I launched Run Forefoot, to advocate the health & performance benefits of forefoot running and to raise awareness on the dangers of heel striking, because the world needs to know.
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