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A newbie looking for help...

Before I get into my actual question, I'll give you a little background information that might or might not be applicable (hence the reason I'm asking those of you 'in the know').

I started running about a year ago. I'd gotten a little heavier than I liked in college and was having some significant stress-related issues that needed a healthy outlet. When I started out, I could barely run a mile without stopping to rest. A friend of mine took me to Fleet Feet (in Annapolis, MD) and I walked away with a pair of Mizuno Wave Riders. All was well, the shoes were working out wonderfully for me. Within six months, I ran my first 5k - finishing with a respectable (for me anyways) time of 23:42.

Shortly after running that race, I had the misfortune of breaking my toe in 3 places. I spent nearly 6 weeks doing the whole crutches, orthopedic boot, soft shoe progression. I tried running again post-fracture and have had nothing but problems since. I've dealt with my feet going numb (after less than a mile), my knees hurting so badly I could barely walk the next day, and plantar fascitis. I was crushed, assuming that my foot injury had throw off my gait in such a way as to prevent my from running anymore.

After reading some stuff on-line, and speaking with another friend of mine who is an avid runner, I picked up a pair of Reebok Realflex. Miraculously, all the issues I had been experiencing disappeared. No more numb feet, sore knees, or PF to speak of. After spending a significant amount of time lurking on running forums and reading literature, I've come to attribute my lack of pain to the less restrictive shoe I transitioned too (i.e. the Realflex) and my previous pains on my Mizunos. Has my gait changed as a result of my prior injury? In truth, I don't have a clue. All I do know is that it seems like less is more for me when it comes to running shoes.

All that being said, I was wondering what you avid barefooters/minimalists out there would recommend for a good transition shoe to replace my current ones (Reebok Realflex). I have spent quite a bit of time looking at both the Merrell Barefoot Trail Glove and the NB Minimus Trail 10 but can't seem to make a decision either way. Unfortunately, I'd be looking at at least an hour drive to look at either of these shoes in-person so I would prefer to order them over the internet.

Anyways, any and all input would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!


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