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Should You Wear Minimalist Running Shoes?

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Should You Wear Minimalist Running Shoes?

Should You Wear Minimalist Running Shoes?

Minimalist running shoes are a hot trend right now. With a wide toe box and low heel-to-toe drop, running in a pair of these shoes make your movements feel responsive, and your feet feel fast. However, are they the right shoes for your training? 

Let’s unpack the advantages and disadvantages of buying a pair of minimalist running shoes.

 What are the Advantages of Minimalist Running Shoes?

Advocates of minimalist designs swear that they change your running forever. They tout better running form for your feet, as well as enhanced muscle and ligament strength. The minimalist feel gives your feet a closer feel to the ground with a lower center of gravity that offers you the peak of running performance.

  1. Strengthen Your Feet and Calves

When wearing minimalist shoes, the Achilles tendon, plantar fascia, and tendons in the foot all experience a good workout. Your feet must work harder to maintain a running posture to support the even distribution of weight and power through the foot as you run.

As a result, your feet get stronger after recovering from each training session. Minimalist running shoes help to promote the midfoot-strike – strengthening tendons, ligaments, and muscles in the feet, ankles, and lower legs.

  1. Improve Posture

The low heel-to-toe drop is a natural foot posture. It mimics how we stand when barefoot, allowing us to run in a natural position. As a result, you avoid lower back or hip alignment issues involved with using traditional running shoes that place your heel above your foot. 

  1. Better for Uphill Running

When running uphill, the runner needs to maintain a forward-leaning posture that allows them to bend the toes for traction on the inclined surface. Wearing minimalist shoes provides the best platform to make those foot adjustments at the toes, allowing for gripping action when moving up steep inclines.

  1. Use Less Energy

Minimalist shoes weigh less and promote a natural footstrike from the ball to the heel of the foot.

 What are the Disadvantages of Using Minimalist Running Shoes?

So, now that you know about all the benefits of using minimalist running shoes, here are a few of the counter-arguments against using these shoes in your daily training.

  1. Your Feet Need an Adjustment Period

It takes time to reprogram your feet into running in minimalist shoes. Runners used to training in soft, supportive shoes may find the transition somewhat brutal on their feet.

It might feel unnatural running in the shoes for the first few workouts. However, give yourself time to break in the shoes and your feet. Remember to focus on your recovery in the first few sessions and massage your feet to remove inflammation.

  1. Might Add Injury Risk

As mentioned, making a transition from cushioned running shoes to minimalist style footwear is a change that requires adjustment. During the period where your feet get stronger, your tendons are at risk of injury. Take it slow in the first few weeks of training to let the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in your feet strengthen.

  1. Not the Best Choice for Beginners

Newbies to running might want to try a more supportive shoe until they have the basics of running under their belt.

 

While there are disadvantages, the advantages may make trying a minimalist shoe worth a shot. We would recommend trying Vibram or Xero shoes to see if a minimalist approach to running footwear is right for you.

 

 

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