Over the last decade, we’ve seen a rise in the popularity of the minimalist running shoes, and it is this runner’s preferred footwear. Considered a slight step up from barefoot running, minimalist running shoes are designed to give the runner the benefits of barefoot running without actually having to run on bare feet.
So where did it all start? With cavemen in the prehistoric era, perhaps? Not exactly, more like in the 1960s Olympics and with a man named Abebe Bikila_ Bikila was an Ethiopian runner who went home with the gold medal. He ran on bare feet. His win helped open the eyes of the world to the idea of barefoot running and by proxy – minimalist running shoes.
What Makes a Minimalist Running Shoes?
If you go to a running store and ask for minimalist running shoes, chances are you’ll get a ton of options. But what exactly does make a shoe ‘minimal’? Here are a few characteristics that you want to look out for.
– Weight: Minimalist running shoes are lightweight. It has to weight no more than 4.4 oz.
– Stack Height: It is ideally around 8mm to 32mm, some shoe designs will go even lower.
– Heel to Toe Drop: It should no go above 13mm.
In addition to the above, running shoes should also have very good longitudinal flexibility as well as a good degree of torsional flexibility.
– Lightweight: The first time I picked up a minimalist running shoe, it was like an epiphany. I didn’t know that running shoes could be that light.- It Helps you Develop a Stable Foot: With minimalist shoes, your feet do more of the work for you. This helps strengthen the muscles of your legs and ankle.
– Forefoot striking Minimalist running shoes are known to help runners transition from heel striking to a forefoot strike.
– You’re feet will need to adjust. If you are used to a stabilizing shoe, then a minimalist running shoe will be something new for you feet. If you want to make the switch, start slow. You can also go for transition shoes that have both the features of traditional and minimalist running shoes.
– It may not be for everyone. Some runners who have injuries or foot issues may not be ideal candidates for minimalist running. If you are uncertain, if you are prone to foot injuries, or if you have had serious injuries, it may be best to consult your doctor before jumping on the minimalist bandwagon.
Should You Run In It?
Well, it depends on you. It depends on what type of runner you are and on whether or not you have any foot issues need to be addressed. Keep in mind that the more minimalist the shoe, the more your body actively works to support motion. Heftier running shoes will do more of the work for you. Neither type of running hoes is good or bad. It all just depends on your own running needs.