Why One Should Not Run in Minimalist Shoes


The topic of minimalist footwear is still very much in the news - especially in the running world. I wrote about this type of shoe earlier in the year and believe most (though not all) runners would do well to GRADUALLY adapt to that type of shoe.

The reason is simple. Your anatomy and structure can tolerate vertical loading (impact) best if you put yourself in an optimal position to do so.  IF you have good movement coordination, you will not need help with this. Given your feet and the ground, your body will naturally figure out how to land properly - i.e., you won't crash down on your heel, knee extended, foot well in front of your body.

A problem arises when an unnatural element is introduced into this beautiful system. A big bulky shoe with a large elevated heel is not natural. There are consequences to wearing this type of shoe – many of which are discussed here. But mainly, it becomes impossible to use your body's preferred way of dealing with force.

Yet some people should stick to what's working.

I can think of 3 reasons why someone should stick to 'conventional' training shoes which are heavier, stiffer, thickly cushioned, and which possess a steeper 'ramp angle' from heel to toe. If you fit the definition of ALL THREE of these categories, there's likely no rush to change footwear.

1. You aren't getting injured.

2. You don't care about performance.

3. You're used to the type of shoe you're wearing.

Think about it. You're totally cool running 3 miles for some stress relief. You don't care about going farther or faster. You've been doing it for years. Why rock the boat?

The thing is, this type of runner isn't likely searching for someone like me and reading this article. They're happy with the status quo. They're not looking for help.

You, on the other hand, either want to start running, run farther than you have in the past, speed up, or break free of the injury cycle.

The best advice I can give you is to let me assess your situation personally. While minimalist shoes may eventually be appropriate, we may have to clean up some mobility or motor control issues first.

If that's not possible, please take your time transitioning to minimal shoes and consider getting coached. What you perceive may not be reality. You may think you're running correctly, but you're really not!