There has been talk of the minimal shoe revolution dying since the Vibram Five Fingers lawsuit, but we disagree. People who have been on board since the beginning won’t transition off and newcomers are still hopping on. What’s so good about running in minimal shoes vs. traditional shoes?
Your feet conform to traditional shoes with a narrower toe box. They do not allow your toes to splay as they were intended to. A natural toe splay allows for a good foundation for the rest of your body.
Minimal shoes allow for your body to feel the natural motion of your foot, which will help you improve your form. When wearing bulky cushioned shoes, we lose the feel of what our feet are suppose to be doing. By wearing minimal shoes, you are able to strengthen your feet and therefore, gain more feel and control of how you run. The muscles in your feet are able to get stronger and support the shock, rather than the cushioned sole you are use to wearing. The stronger your feet muscles get, the more you will notice to run with your forefoot, as opposed to the heel strike that all cushioned shoes force you to take. Running and landing on your forefoot will reduce the impact of the ground that your body takes when running with a heel strike.
By running with a better form, you are able to reduce injury. Running with the forefoot allows you to absorb the impact and takes away the pounding of your feet on the pavement. These poundings can injure many leg and foot muscles and ankle tendons. You will learn to take shorter strides which will allow you to land with your feet under your body. You don’t need to take longer strides when running; longer strides may lead to hip injuries. Again, this reduces the impact on your body.
One major tip when transitioning over to minimal shoes can really help the transition for you. Start slow and be patient. It isn’t as easy as just throwing away that old pair of Nike’s and putting on a new pair of minimal shoes such as Sockwa. You have to transition into it. Start off by going running in your traditional footwear. Three to five minutes before your run is done, throw on your pair of minimal shoes and finish in those. Do this time for a week or so and then increase the time you wear the minimal shoes during your run each week until you are running fully in minimal shoes. This pace will be timely, but your body will thank you for it. Jumping right into minimal shoes is too much for your body all at once and can lead to injury.