Everyone is talking about running minimalist these days, but what does that mean and what are the pros and cons of minimalist running?
To begin, minimalist running is running barefoot or with shoes that offer little or no cushion or support. Supporters of minimalist running say this is the natural way to run and offers great benefits for your body. Opponents argue that traditional running shoes are needed to provide protection from injury and cushion for joints.
The book Born to Run is said to have helped the minimalist running craze grow in popularity. Part of the book’s description reads:
Full of incredible characters, amazing athletic achievements, cutting-edge science, and, most of all, pure inspiration, Born to Run is an epic adventure that began with one simple question: Why does my foot hurt? In search of an answer, Christopher McDougall sets off to find a tribe of the world’s greatest distance runners and learn their secrets, and in the process shows us that everything we thought we knew about running is wrong.
The book goes on to introduce and stress the benefits of barefoot running. Taking a middle of the road approach, we’d like to take a brief look at some of the pros and cons of minimalist running, which is extremely important if you are considering making the transition.
Pros of Running Minimalist
The whole concept of running minimalist is to strengthen your foot so you can get to the point of running barefoot. Many people see minimalist running shoes as the end when it fact it is designed as a means to an end of running barefoot. Regardless, minimalist shoes make your foot work a lot harder than traditional running shoes, and along with the lack of support will help to strengthen your foot.
Another pro for minimalist running is that it will improve your running form. Minimalist shoes force you to run properly, as you will do most of the running on the midfoot of the forefoot, then dropping back on your heal. Minimalist running shoes have a very low or zero heal drop, meaning the cushion on the heal is very thin compared to a traditional running shoe that may have a 10 or more degree heal drop.
Cons of Minimalist Running
There is a misconception that you can jump right in to minimalist running at your regular mileage right away but this isn’t the case. The same way you are supposed to increase your mileage by 10% so you don’t overdo it, you should follow a similar rule for changing over to minimalist running shoes. The first several days you may just want to walk in your new minimalist shoes to get used to them before even trying to run in them.
Depending on how many miles you typically run it could take you several months to build up to running this far in your new minimalist shoes and that is okay. If you don’t take it slow you could get planter fasciitis or injure your foot.
Along with the chance of getting hurt if you don’t move into minimalist shoes correctly, you also need to be aware of your surroundings, watching out for junk on the road that wouldn’t be good to step on in your minimalist shoes, or even worse barefoot.
Minimalist Running Shoes
Vibram capitalized on the minimalist craze with their popular and widely recognized FiveFingers, unlike most other minimalist shoes with no restrictions on your toes. Think how the glove industry revolutionized from the shift of mittens to gloves with fingers.
Most of the major running shoe brands jumped into minimalist shoes as it was becoming popular, including New Balance, Brooks, Saucony, Nike, and K-Swiss.
Whether minimalist running is or isn’t for you, Complete Runner has your feet covered with the best traditional, racing, and minimalist shoes available from the brands you know and trust.