Before we put pen to paper on the Virrata, we took a long look at what was happening with runners using the first generation of minimal footwear and 0 offset shoes in particular. What we observed was really interesting. There was a segment of runners who loved everything the early minimal shoes offered … and their opinions were definitely the loudest! But after speaking with more and more runners, a second “core” group emerged. These runners clearly appreciated the lightweight, deconstructed nature of their minimal footwear, but because of how little cushioning those shoes offered, felt somewhat restricted about how many miles they could run, or what types of workouts felt comfortable. These observations and conversations with runners basically became the brief we handed off to our design team, and they set about developing a solution for runners seeking a minimal feel with the right amount of cushioning and protection.
With the Virrata, we’re really excited to see what runners accustomed to running in other types of minimal and 0 drop shoes think once they’ve had the Virrata on their feet. The Virrata is designed on a 0mm platform, but what makes it unique is the 18mm of foam cushioning underneath the foot, a level of protection comparable to traditional training shoes. To date, most minimal shoes are much less forgiving, and we think many runners will love being able to “go zero” without compromising cushioning, feeling beat up after a workout, or worse, risking injury.
The Virrata’s midsole and outsole is made almost entirely of lightweight EVA+ material. There are 24 independent EVA+ “pods” that contact the ground, and the area around each pod is deeply carved out, allowing the shoe to be incredibly flexible and move with the foot instead of dictating how the foot should move or strike.
The upper is made of breathable mono mesh with limited overlays, which allows it to be incredibly lightweight (only 6.5oz!). Inside, a sock-like bootie provides a snug, sock-like fit without restricting the foot at all. We also heard from our wear testers that the upper is incredibly quick-drying if you happen to be running through water or in the rain.
Below, check out a closer look at the design and construction of the Virrata from the designer, Chris M. Click the images to enlarge them.
Here are some looks at the Virrata in action