Did you ever wonder if minimalist running or walking is for you? In the above video Chuck and Tim give a general overview of minimalist footwear and running.
What is Minimalist footwear?
Minimalist footwear is designed to bring the athlete closer to the ground. The most minimalist footwear on the market to-date are the Vibram Five Fingers, which provide next to no padding between the foot and the ground. Many running shoe brands, such as Brooks, have since introduced somewhat cushier shoes for the athlete keen on adding a bit more cushioning between the ground and the foot. These shoes are designed to have zero drop. Compared to most running shoes on the market up to now (heel more elevated than ball of foot) these shoes have as much padding in the heel as they do under the forefoot, thus causing the heel and the forefoot to be elevated equally.
Is Minimalist Running for me?
If you’re considering going minimal, you will want to slowly ease into the activity. Like anything it takes time for the body to get used to the new positioning of your feet. Certain muscle groups will have to elongate and others will need to strengthen. Start out training in minimalist footwear once per week or use them as a walking shoe before adding them to your running routine. If you’re a heel striker you will have to practice changing your running form, as you will not want to heel strike in minimalist shoes (risk of stress fractures of the heel). Forefoot strike is preferred and will require your calf muscle to become stronger.
Skip the Shoes
Don’t want to invest in minimalist footwear? Why not find a grass field or beach and skip the shoes altogether.