at the races Canadian company strikes minimalist running shoe gold

Canadian company strikes minimalist running shoe gold


I’ve been wearing chunky shoes with big cushioning for so long that I forgot there was anything else to run in. Whether the Saucony Kinvara, the Nike Alphafly or even the ASICS Cumulus—the three shoes that I rotate through most frequently—I find that most of my running shoes are relatively similar. They all put plenty of foam between myself and the hard concrete. Last week, this was made abundantly clear when I tried the Vimana Hybrid Runner from STRIKE MVMNT, an 8-year-old Vancouver-based sportswear company started by Marc Morisset, a former professional snowboarder.

A Canadian-designed minimalist sneaker owned by an independent Canadian company innovating during COVID? Yes, please!! I took the shoes out for a rip with a bounce in my stride.

These sneakers, which I put off wearing because of the snow on the Toronto ground and because they’re so pretty—the Vimana would look cool on a Jamaican beach at sunset when we can travel again—felt like a revelation: light and fast and almost like a Vibram Five Finger, a welcome blast from the past that energized my stride. With a 4mm drop, my gait immediately became more focussed and the jagged rubber bottom provided surprising traction on the slippery MGT Path, still buried beneath a sheet of ice. You land with more concentration in a sneaker with less distance between yourself and the ground and I felt nimble—which I currently am not, as February (and age) has taken ahold of my running.

The shoes, however, brought quickness. Responsiveness sometimes is lost on running shoes with a stacked heel and toe box, and, in my Hybrids, I felt agile and free—an emotion Nike tapped into with their 2005 “Free” line, which probably marked the last real minimalist shoes I’ve worn.

So, the Vimana Hybrid. “Hybrid,” because they’re built for both street and trails and, typical of a company launched by a BC snowboarder, it exists basically in its own category. Outside of trends. Good for short distances, but also a solid tempo speed workout at the track, I found the sneaker a refreshing addition to my arsenal and a well-needed break for my body from hoofing in running shoes I’d come to think of as marshmallow boots.

STRIKE MVMNT also makes great-looking clothing, and I think this Canadian company is a brand to watch out for. That is, if you can ever catch anyone wearing their shoes.

Visit their website