Should You Try Minimalist Running Shoes?



Should You Try Minimalist Running Shoes?

Should You Try Minimalist Running Shoes?

by RealSimple

The Minimalist Running trend, explained: Some running enthusiasts believe that we naturally run best when we’re barefoot, and companies have developed shoes to mimic this, since bare feet and hot asphalt don’t mix. The first, admittedly odd, models had separate spaces for each toe—think gloves for your feet. Since then “barefoot” shoes have evolved. The newer versions look more like regular running shoes but have little cushioning. Many major brands, including New Balance and Saucony, carry minimalist sneakers (prices start at about $80). Advocates like their light weight and the way they allow you to feel your feet striking the road better than heavier traditional running shoes do. Some also believe that wearing minimalist shoes can strengthen foot and ankle muscles.

Expert opinion: “Very few people have a perfect running gait. Many people overpronate [roll in], supinate [roll out], or have fallen arches,” says Nadya Swedan, M.D., a physiatrist in New York City. “Minimalist shoes don’t have the support to compensate for these problems, so using them may lead to injuries, such as plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis.”

The bottom line: Tread carefully. If you’re certain you have a neutral gait—that is, your feet don’t roll in or out with each step—give them a try. (Not sure if you have a neutral gait? Time yourself standing on one foot. If you can do so for one minute without wobbling, you’re probably OK.) For over- or underpronators who still want to try minimalist running shoes, consider hybrid models from Brooks (pictured) or Asics. They’re flatter and lighter than traditional running shoes but offer more support than typical minimalist versions do. Your best bet: Go to a specialty running store, where they can evaluate your gait and suggest the right shoe for you—minimalist or not.

What are your thoughts, ratings and reviews of Minimalist Running Shoes?




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7 responses to “Should You Try Minimalist Running Shoes?

  1. I love my minimalist running shoes. i wear the New Balance Minimus MR10. They are amazing.

    • Good to know. Are they better than normal running shoes?

      Do they last and are they worth the price?

      Have you ever had any prior injuries?

      Thanks for your review! 😉

      • My opinion: YES. Much better than typical running shoes. Minimal running shoes encourage a “midfoot strike” or “barefoot running style.” It’s more natural than the typical “heel strike,” which is traumatic to the body.

        The New Balance rep suggested they’d last 8 months running a few times per week and recommended alternating the running shoes. I’ve had mine for ten months and they are in excellent condition, having been worn almost every day (except for when I go to church and client meetings). I even wore them when I renovated my apartment (sheetrock work, tiling, climbing up and down ladders, painting…). You’d never know they took the kind of abuse they took. I paid about $90 for mine and don’t regret it.

        You’ll notice a difference immediately because they’re incredibly light (both probably weigh less than ONE traditional running shoe) and unbelievably comfortable.

        No prior injuries and none since wearing minimalists. A word of caution: break into them gently because they’re radically different from traditional runners. They work many more muscles and require a brief adjustment period.

        Hope that helps!

      • Thank you for the detailed review of your New Balance Minimalist Running Shoes!

  2. I did a couple of posts on the topic after trying it for the first time – on the last tenth of a 5k – and pulled my plantaris muscle in my left calf. I think the pronation point might be reading too much into the stride because you strike with your forefoot – you don’t have to worry much about how your foot pronates because the heel doesn’t really come into the equation. The PF and Achille’s tendonitis occur because of the shock put to the arch, which has to absorb the shock that was once taken by a shoe.

    That said, I’m a traditional shod runner, but my wife loves her minimalists. It’s definitely a matter of preference. Just be prepared to start over from scratch if you switch – you’ve gotta build the proper muscles up for the task.

  3. Pingback: See Sean Run » Blog Archive » The one where I have a really lucky day at @Red_Coyote…

  4. Pingback: From vintage Adidas Dragon to 2012′s Brooks GTS12: a retrospective | Life from a slightly skewed perspective

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