When I was a kid, I sometimes imagined what life would be like as a spy - charged with keeping confidential secrets, only able to disclose carefully selected bits of information to certain people at predetermined times, knowing that one false move could result in disaster for me or the agency I’ve committed to serve.
About 30 years later, I’m finally getting a sense of it, from a handful of shoe manufacturers who protect their secrets as if lives depended upon it – the latest of which comes from a mainstream company who has been making strides towards minimalist footwear for quite some time now.
On that note, think of this post as a high-level intelligence briefing, where I’m authorized to divulge information solely on a need to know basis, and keeping some other details under lock and key until another day. The occasion for our meeting is to partially unmask a running shoe whose appearance has thus far remained strictly classified: the New Balance Minimus, scheduled for release in March 2011.
Actually, the cover of this shoe is about to be blown wide open in the very near future anyway, as it will be presented at the upcoming Outdoor Retailer trade show next week. New Balance will offer a whole collection of “barefoot inspired” footwear – including something called “wellness” models, which seem to directly target the everyday minimalist market currently occupied by VivoBarefoot and Soft Star, among others - and my NB contact was nice enough to pass along a bit of background information, and even a few dossier photos of the running model.
There’s a much more thorough portfolio of information available about the Minimus shoes, including some insight to the development of the collection, and what makes it different from existing minimalist footwear, here on the New Balance website. Otherwise, the company is intentionally telling the story slowly, and is officially only releasing snippets of images, which follow below:
And if you think I’m exaggerating this secrecy thing, it’s worth noting the e-mail exchange I had with the rep shortly after receiving the pictures:
Me: Those look cool – do you have any pictures of the whole shoe?
Her: For now we aren’t releasing full shoe shots … as soon as I have permission to release them, I’ll send them along.
In other words, once her agency lifts the security clearance, she’ll forward that intel to my agency, and we’ll have full disclosure on this elusive target. Until then, it’s still a bit of a cloak and dagger game – but I think I’ve learned enough about Special Agent Minimus to know that I’m very anxious to meet him in the flesh sometime.