RECENTLY A PIECE ON MAXIMALIST RUNNING SHOES WAS POSTED (March 15, 2016) that included a caution to runners to be aware of biomechanical issues that might arise with the wearing of these heavily cushioned shoes. I started me thinking about traditional shoes in general, and how the same cautions might apply to them. A bit earlier there was a piece posted about running shoe selection which included mention of the decreased emphasis on correction of foot pronation by shoe manufacturers, based on research findings (March 3, 2016).
I am interested in learning whether or not “minimalist” shoes will work for me. Not so much to improve performance but prevent injuries. I want to be running races into old age, and there is no better time to start changing if needed. Professionals who are much better prepared to evaluate the scientific research that’s been published have recently written some good pieces, and there are links below to a few I found. They are often lengthy and detailed. Those that are shorter are sometimes too general and not helpful. Since I will be transitioning from 40+ years of wearing traditional shoes, this is the research focus in which I am most interested. Studies that report results on new runners’ experiences don’t necessarily apply to me.
This topic will be the subject of occasional postings until there is enough information to make conclusions and take action. If you have sources that will shed some light on the topic or have experiences with these shoes, PLEASE SHARE!
CONFESSIONS: when Vibram 5Fingers first came out in 2005 I bought a pair and tried them. The greatest difficulty I encountered was putting them on, so they mostly stayed in the closet (where they are now). Socks could not be worn with these shoes, so they would not be good for running in snow or very cold weather. For a few years while living in the Los Angeles area I ran barefoot almost daily on the beaches, and the greatest difficulty I encountered was blister formation on my soles. In Great Lakes winters the barefoot approach doesn’t work for outdoor running, which I love. I’ll need a shoe that protects the foot from the elements at least in the winter, so the learning about the differences between the minimalist shoe types will also be important.
Below are links to sources of information if you are also interested in investigating these shoes.
How shoes are defined (summary of consensus paper written by a panel of experts).
The actual consensus paper:
Long discussion and historical perspective
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EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. In 1978 I began participating in 10K road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health and longevity.
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