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What Are Chi Running Shoes?
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What Are Chi Running Shoes?

Many people don't know what chi running shoes actually are or where they came from. If you asked me even a few weeks ago I wouldn't have been able to give a good answer either. I found out ChiRunning by chance a few weeks ago as I was looking into barefoot and minimal shoes. With this article I hope to take a deeper look into what "Chi Running" is and why it's important to have a running shoe designed for this running method.

What is Chi Running?

Chi running is a type of running instruction that was developed by Danny Dryer, co-founder and president of ChiRunning, which melds T'ai Chi and running into a more efficient and natural way. It emphasizes leaning forward and landing on your mid and fore foot so your body is relieved of the impact when striking the ground. It also teaches integrating your mind and body much like Yoga or in this case, T'ai Chi, to promote relaxation and mindfulness of the body.

Chi running's primary goal is to allow a runner to run in a more efficient and relaxed way that helps you to supposedly run quicker, farther and with less risk for getting hurt. They claim that the way we've been taught to run is incorrect and running incorrectly causes injuries.

Why Should I use Chi Running Shoes?

If you are interested in becoming a chi runner, getting the ideal shoe should be a priority. When searching for "chi running shoes", I had very little luck finding them. I eventually found out about barefoot and minimal running shoes. They don't offer much in the cushioning department but they make it much easier to land on your mid and fore foot instead of your heel. They are much lighter than a normal running shoe and actually aren't too expensive despite what some people may claim.

Companies That Make "Chi Running Shoes"

So far, I've not been able to find any company that manufacture's a chi running shoe, or at least calls it by that name. Most companies go by "barefoot" or "minimal" shoes but they fairly similar.

A barefoot or minimalist "shoe" might as well not be a shoe at all as it basically just covers and protects the bottoms of your feet from some sharp objects and such. If you land on a particular pointy rock, you bet it's gonna hurt as there is close to no cushioning provided. It's designed for people who are barefoot runners but chi runners might also find them suitable once they've decided to give barefoot running a go.

Some shoe companies have designed some minimalist running shoes that still provide a bit of cushioning and support to the foot, while retaining the benefits of barefoot running. They are ideal for barefoot running because they are lightweight, comfortable, and make it much easier to land on your mid and fore foot.

Armed with all this new information, you might be thinking barefoot and minimal shoes are going to be so expensive, right? Actually, they are very reasonably priced despite the benefits they offer. Most barefoot and minimal shoes I found were in the $70 - $ 150 range with a few being around $175 and the most expensive $200 and above.

What I learned through all of this is that if you are looking specifically for "Chi Running Shoes", chances are you wont find them. What you should be looking for are barefoot and minimal or minimalist running shoes. Choosing which shoe to buy depends a lot on personal preference, the shape and size of your foot and what running technique you will be using while running. If you keep that in mind when looking, you should have no problem in making the correct decision.

Thanks for reading and please feel free to leave any comments or suggestions below!

Street Talk


Good article. I know someone who took up this type of running and he swears by it..told me I should give it a try. If I did I would never run the "regular" way again..

  about 9 years ago

Good info here. I had no idea it even existed!

  about 9 years ago

totally agree! never knew there were such stuffs!

  about 9 years ago
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