Minimal-ish Shoes Trickle Down to Target


One of the big knocks on minimal running shoes is that the prices are anything but minimal. Most of the big brand name shoes cost around $100 a pair, which can feel steep for a slab of rubber and some cloth for the upper. But like all trends in fashion, designs do eventually trickle down to cheaper names. Target’s C9 by Champion offers all sorts of great athletic wear at low prices, and they’ve expanded that to shoes that look suspiciously like the Reebok Realflex, a popular transitional/minimal shoe!

Target is calling it the “Champion Premier” line, but the shoes look and feel like the Reebok Realflex, with maybe a touch of Nike Free DNA mixed in as well. What’s more amazing than the appearance is the price, at only $29.99. I didn’t try on a pair, but I did play with them a bit; they appear to be extremely flexible, and are very lightweight. For a runner on a budget, these are definitely worth trying on!

Categories: Gear Bits, Health and Fitness, Outdoors

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7 replies

  1. Cool – definitely worth a look for most folks! Depending on the fit and their feet/joints, a lower-end emulation of more expensive shoes is probably fine for most!

    • Plus if they discover it doesn’t work for them, it didn’t blow their budget to try!

      • Very good point! One perk of buying more expensive shoes is (esp online) that they take returns of shoes you used for a couple of days. I returned a pair of New Balance after 3 days and 30 miles because they were shredding my feet. But if I only paid $30 to start I might just shrug it off …

  2. Boy, I remain skeptical of off-brand shoes. I’d prefer to see wear-testing – do the uppers stay intact, or shred with use? Are there blister-inducing seams inside? How long does it take the outsole to show wear? I never buy a new pair of shoes without reading online reviews first that detail prior users’ experiences.

    • Normally I am too. But C9’s clothing is usually high quality. So that’s one positive for these at least.
      And while I can’t find proof now, I swear there’s a Reebok/Adidas connection to Champion somehow. So this is off-brand, but still in the same family. I think…
      Maybe next time I am in target and feeling adventurous I will buy a pair and test them out.

  3. What qualifies these shoes as minimal? They look anything but minimal.

    • They were lightweight, extremely flexible, and from a visual inspection they appeared to have a low heel to toe drop.
      And if I am right and these are based on the Realflex, they have some minimal DNA.
      As I said, if I get back to Target soon I will pick up a pair and test them myself.