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chronic injuries
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Choosing Minimalist Running Shoes
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Choosing Minimalist Running Shoes

If you're interested in transitioning to barefoot running or would like some added protection while retaining the benefits, choosing minimalist running shoes is very important. There are many brands and types of shoe, however the best choice depends on each person's individual needs. I hope to explain what minimalist running shoes are, when you should consider buying them, and how much you can expect to spend.

What ARE Minimalist Running Shoes?

To those unfamiliar with barefoot running, minimalist running shoes are probably a new concept. Since running barefoot poses certain risks to the feet, shoe companies have designed "minimal" footwear to keep the benefits of barefoot running and walking without getting rid of the protection a normal shoe generally offers.

With the increasing popularity of the barefoot running concept, some shoe companies have tried to replicate the barefoot running experience while still giving a little bit of protection. Some of these shoes, if you can even call them shoes, are mainly to provide a minimal amount of protection and traction to keep the barefoot feel intact.

Benefits of Barefoot and Minimalist Running

There are several benefits to barefoot running that I would like to explain. One of the largest reasons barefoot running is becoming so popular is due to the claims that it eliminates the risk for overuse injuries that are so common in traditional running. People that have had chronic injuries from running in the past have found that they are able to run barefoot after some training and not have any pain or at least less pain compared to regular running.

Since landing on the heel is bad both for efficiency and runner, especially when running barefoot, the body will become accustomed to landing on the mid and fore foot. However, beginning to run barefoot without any training or transition time can also lead to injury. Most shoe companies recommend limiting use to 10% of your initial workout while gradually increasing it over time. Using minimalist footwear to transition into barefoot running is generally the safest way to reduce the risk on injuries.

Cost

Despite all this "advanced" design and technology the new minimalist shoes provide, the cost is surprisingly competitive with regular running shoes. Most lower priced minimal footwear is around $80-$90 and I have seen some on the expensive side as much as $ 200 or more. Obviously, higher quality shoes will be more expensive but with such a large price range, one should not have a problem finding a pair to fit their budget.

When deciding if you want to buy a pair of minimal or barefoot running shoes, it's important to keep in mind your current running technique. If you are accustomed to the "regular" style of running, try to incorporate it slowly into your schedule. Over time, you will adapt to running without the larger heels and cushions of traditional running shoes and get the most benefit


Street Talk

Interesting set of shoes!

Reply
  about 9 years ago

Gret article... I'd go bare foot as that is how I grew up and still walk around every opportunity that I can...

Reply
  about 9 years ago
  

If you try it out, let me know! I'm not quite ready to do it myself yet. I might buy a pair of barefoot shoes and start walking on my non-running days just to see how it feels. I think I would like it!

Reply
  about 9 years ago

Good info, thanks!

Reply
  about 9 years ago
  

You're very welcome!

Reply
  about 9 years ago
AJ  

I know some friends who barefoot run and love it. For me, I'm not so sure I would be comfortable feeling stones, etc as I'm running. Perhaps for terrain running, I would try it but not for street running.

Reply
  about 9 years ago
  

Yea it definitely would take some getting used to. If you can get a minimal shoe with some cushioning, it can help with the stones and such! I also agree that I don't think I would want to do barefoot running in the street, seems like it would pretty dangerous with the possibility of so many sharp objects and even glass.

Reply
  about 9 years ago
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