In an interesting twist to the barefoot-style running shoe category, market leader Vibram FiveFingers is adding a cushioned midsole to two of its 2014 models. The Vibram Bikila EVO will offer runners a softer footstrike as an 8.5mm foam midsole cushions the blow. The shoe will still maintain a zero drop. Another Vibram model called the Vybrid is expected to be released in Spring 2014 and will feature even more cushioning than the new Bikila EVO.
It may seem paradoxical, or even hypocritical, for barefoot running advocates to alter the shoe’s natural ride with extra cushioning, but the company is likely aiming to satisfy a demand that been there for years. Some runners who love the Bikilas, which are known for their trademark separated toes, have complained about foot pain from the lack of cushioning and have even resorted to “modding” the shoes by adding their own padding.