Minimalist Shoes: Are They Right for You?

by Michelle Helberg | Leave a Comment

As the colder weather approaches, moving indoors to train might be on the radar for some. For many elite runners, preparing to running through the frightful weather may be the usual, but as the temperature drops, most of us are ready to move indoors to avoid the cold, the elements and the runny nose. Having the right kind of shoe for running indoors can help improve your desired training results.

Shoe wear is very important to training and well being. There have been many discussions surrounding what type of shoe wear is best for different environments. In the last few years, many companies have been transitioning back to minimalist shoes. Depending on the type of foot you have (pronation, neutral, or supination), choosing the right shoe wear can help eliminate injuries.

Minimalist shoes are not for everyone. They cause you to alter your running style, changing your form to running on your toes instead of your heels. This adjustment takes time. Depending on where you are in your training and what you have been running in, your feet may not be in the right condition for a high flex shoe such as a minimalist shoe. There are many articles that show that a large number of leg injuries stem from transitioning too quickly and/or without proper stretching, strengthening and footwear.

The first thing to always consider is to have a qualified person measure and look at your foot to decide what type of shoe wear will fit best. Check out a local running store near you and they will fit you properly. Also knowing what you are training for would is helpful in deciding if minimalists shoes are for you. If you are going to be focusing on more weight training, your desired shoe will probably not be the same as a running shoe.

If  your goal, simply put, is running and you want to move toward training for an upcoming race or staying fit, the new trend of minimalist shoes could just be for you. The “less is more” philosophy has been around for a while and more and more people are jumping on the bandwagon.  One of the biggest recommendations I would give as a Certified Athletic Trainer is to gradually move to this type of shoe. Slowly decreasing the drop of the shoe (how much cushion there is at the back of the shoe) will be helpful for you to stay healthy. In addition, working on strengthening and stretching of your intrinsic muscles of your feet (three groups of muscles in the sole of foot), calves and soleus (muscle in the back part of the lower leg) will help the transition go smoothly and hopefully without injury.

There is not a universal timeline for how long the transition should take because everyone is different. Being able to listen to your body is essential to staying healthy. Be patient during this time and remember that if you are experimenting any discomfort during any of your training, stop into any of our Athletico locations to get a complimentary injury screen.  Best of luck to you as you stay healthy and injury free this winter!

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