Brief Introduction to Minimalist Running

Minimalist Running Shoes Reviews – Origins of Minimalist Running

Since the 1970′s when the padded running shoe was introduced into the market, people bought into it like it was going out of style. From that point on there was a big transition into what we now call the conventional style of running shoes.

Until just a few years ago, there was no other kind of running shoe available and everyone just got used to running an walking with extra padding on their feet. The common understanding was that this was the best kind of shoe for their feet and would offer the best protection for feet and legs.

Recently however, this idea has been challenged with emerging evidence on the benefits of minimalist running or barefoot running.

The minimalist running concept was also brought to the public’s attention by Chris Mcdougall’s novel Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen  where Mcdougall actually spent some time in Mexico with the Tarahumara Indian tribe and recorded his experiences with their running style.

While in Mexico, he studied the running style of this tribe who were able to run quickly for hundreds of kilometers with nothing but a pair of sandals.

Benefits of using Minimalist Running Shoes

One of the most common questions we hear at minimalist running shoes reviews regards minimalist running shoes and how they would really help you physically while at the same time reduce the possibility of injury.

Minimalist running shoes are specifically designed with reduced top covering, a less amount of arch support and little to no heel-to-toe drop, it helps the runner shift to a fore or mid-foot landing, instead of landing on the heel which is usually very painful and more prone to foot injury.

Minimalist running shoes are lightweight, flexible with a large toe box which allows your toes to spread upon landing thus developing a more efficient step and shorter running pace which reduces the effect of impact.

The minimalist running approach strengthens your foot muscle tissues and your helps to shape your figure as your entire body becomes gradually conditioned to the new running style.

Research shows that by helping you to imitate the gait of a barefoot sprinter who softly lands on his mid or forefoot, minimalist running shoes will enhance your physical running form, reduce injuries and ultimately improve your running ability faster and more effectively.

 

Minimalist Running Shoes as a Revolutionary Idea

If you really think about, padded shoes were only recently introduced into the market in the past few decades. From the beginning of time, man has always worn minimal footwear. Our ancestors had always worn minimal footwear or sandals.

Primitive man hundreds of years ago ran, walked, hunted, etc. with little to nothing on their feet for protection, yet their running abilities were pretty similar to the Tarahumara Indians.

Once the padded shoes were introduced into the market, people seemed to believe that this was the best solution for optimal running and reduced injuries.

This change to padded shoes created a new gait or motion in running which was much different from the natural gait of the human body and in reality made the runner more prone to injury.

The concept behind minimalist running is based on the “revolutionary” idea that “less shoe is better” as demonstrated by the Tarahumara Indians. Evidence now shows that minimalist running shoes or barefoot running shoes actually benefit our feet, along with our overall physical health and well-being.

Although Minimalist Running Shoes Reviews recommends trying the transition to the minimalist style for greater benefits please make sure you have checked with your doctor to ensure you have no other physical limitations that would prevent you from making the change. You can find out more information Here about studies on this.

Injuries with Minimalist Running Shoes?

Minimalist Running Shoes Reviews Finds Less Injury with Minimalist Shoes

Minimalist Running Shoes Reviews researched running related injuries using minimalist running shoes vs. conventional running shoes and found some very interesting, though not completely surprising information.

Traditionally, we have known that wearing cushioned shoes for running or other athletic activities was always the best choice for reduced impact and stress on the foot and heel.

The latest scientific evidence though has discovered quite the opposite in that a more minimalist approach works better with man’s physiological stride and has been most beneficial in reducing running related injuries.

The minimalist running approach has become quite popular for experienced runners and novices alike. More efficient effort and decreased stress on the rear foot and heel are changing the way people are looking at the minimalist running style.

Minimalist Running Style Revolutionary

Studies show that the more natural, shorter strides used in minimalist running help the brain to make a better evaluation of striking and leaving the ground as we run. The brain receives better feedback from the muscles through the nervous system in a way that reduces the stress on the bones, muscles, joints and tendons.

The minimalist running motion reduces the stress on the heel and tendons as we land through the mid-foot and fore foot which is the natural motion of barefoot running without a cushion. The padded heel in most running shoes causes undue stress on the rear portion of the foot and can result in greater injuries.

Minimalist runners worldwide have been experiencing an awakening to this more natural form of running. Due to the conventional running style most runners have been using over the years, their body muscles, joints has become conditioned  to this style.

Their brainwave feedback is different as they must undergo some re-conditioning to this new style of running thus it is best to transition to the minimalist running style gradually.

One way to do this is to alternate between minimalist shoes and conventional shoes until you can finally adapt to the change.

Another way to transition is by selecting hybrid versions of the minimalist running shoes such a Merrell Trailglove or New Balance Minimus.

These shoes have a slightly thicker heel and little but more cushion on the insole which make for a great transition shoe allowing your muscles to better adapt to the changes.

We do not insist on making the change to the minimalist style as many people may have previous conditions with their feet or legs that would not allow them to make such a change.

Here at minimalist running shoes reviews we can only make the suggestion to try the minimalist approach based on our latest findings but you should always consult your physician before making any sudden changes to your running style.

What Do We Mean By Minimalist Running Shoes?

Minimalist Running Shoes Almost Barefoot

The idea of minimalist running shoes was inspired by the book Born To Run by Christopher Mcdougall who spent time in Mexico with the Tarahumara Indians studying their natural ability to run hundreds of miles without rest or injury. He discovered that the shorter strides used by the Indians when running concentrated more on the forefoot and midfoot while reducing contact with the heel and its associated pain and injury.

Any style of minimalist footwear is designed to help deliver a more natural running experience. Minimalist footwear has developed a widespread following in the past couple of years due to at least two primary reasons:

Minimalist running shoe design helps you to shift contact to your forefoot and midfoot (away from the heel) when running or walking.

Minimalist footwear involves shorter, quicker strides that can help create better propulsion and natural shock absorption.

So basically, minimalist footwear is designed to help promote athletic as well as day-to-day activities in the most natural form possible, like living barefoot and natural the way nature intended.

Minimalist Running Shoes Wins Hands Down Over Conventional Footwear

In our Minimalist running shoes reviews, we discovered some important differences from conventional footwear. Minimalist footwear promotes the concept of running barefoot. Running barefoot helps you come down on your forefoot and midfoot instead of your heel, as you would experience with the longer strides you take with conventional footwear.

This results in a better and more efficient energy transfer, subsequently reducing the impact on your feet, ankles, and knees while strengthening foot muscles. Seeing is believing and for most people all it takes is a trial run to convince them this was the better choice for their feet and their entire body overall.

Minimalist running shoes not only offer physical benefits to your entire lower and upper body but they also leave you feeling completely natural and “closer to the Earth” as most Tree Huggers might say. Many customers claim they get the feeling of touching the rocks and ground with their bare feet is like running barefoot as a child once again.

Minimalist running footwear is something many people still discuss as well as the topic of whether minimalist running is of any real benefit or whether it is just a lot of hype.

Here at Minimalist Running Shoes Reviews, we realize that making these changes doesn’t necessarily mean you have to change your ways, but from many other comments and discussions of people that have tried the minimalist shoes, the footwear has helped them have a better outlook overall on their daily life.

Getting Started in Minimalist Shoes

At minimalist running shoes reviews, almost everyone we asked about their experience with minimalist footwear, gave the response that you should give yourself some time to break in to this new type of footwear as it is quite a departure from the standard, conventional footwear we are all used to.

All footwear gives you some cushion or space between you and the ground. Once you put on the minimalist footwear, you are suddenly transported to another dimension you could say, but a very pleasant dimension, to a different place and time.

Most of us have grown up buying athletic shoes with conventional footwear design for arch support and cushion between the soles of our feet and the ground. Minimalist footwear design changes the old concept completely and brings us closer to nature and the way it was intended for our bodies to move.

As with anything else, there is period of adjustment required until your body can conform to the changes so you need to “wear them in” as they say for a little while to make the proper changes. As you become more comfortable with the different fit and feel, you will begin working the footwear into your workout routine gradually. Stretch properly to limber up your muscles and eventually your speed and endurance will improve over time.

Which brand and style of minimalist footwear is right for you? Check out all our selections and choose from our most popular designs to see which one best matches your needs.

Switching to Minimalist Running Shoes

Switching to Minimalist Running Shoes – Minimalist Running Shoes Reviews

Minimalist Running Shoes Reviews asks the question: If you’re an avid runner or even a novice how do you know whether you should be using conventional running shoes or barefoot running shoes?

Most likely you will need to try both types of running shoes to make a better decision. Almost everyone who runs using barefoot running shoes has run with conventional running shoes and continues to run with them alternating between the two.

For the novice runner, when running trails or very difficult terrain, conventional running shoes will offer better support with the extra cushion and padding.

Traditional running shoes (Montrail Rockridge and Saucony Exodus for example) provide excellent support and stability for very rocky terrain and may be a better choice for novice runners. Another important factor is that with long distance running, feet and ankles become fatigued, thereby affecting your balance and stride and your ability to absorb and dissipate the shock associated with it.

Studies show however, that there is less injury over time associated with minimalist running than with conventional running. Conventional running puts more pressure on the heel and ankle than minimalist running allowing the runner to use the midfoot and forefoot more, relieving the pressure from the heel and ankle. This motion of using the mid and forefoot more than the heel ultimately reduces the overall impact on the feet and lower body thus reducing injury.

Runners who have conditioned their legs and feet with the barefoot running approach can withstand more stress and are able to travel on more difficult surfaces and indeed will fare better in the long run.

Tips On Switching To Minimalist Running Shoes

Below are some tips to help you break in slowly with barefoot running shoes:

  • For the first 2-3 weeks run ONLY 10% of your typical mileage
  • For the first month NEVER run 2 consecutive days in a row
  • After the first 2-3 weeks add 10-20% of your typical mileage to your run continuing to add another 10% every 2 weeks
  • If you develop any excessive muscle soreness in your feet or your lower legs, you should reset back to your original 10% you started with and work from there again

Minimalist running shoes reviews currently recommends the Merrell Trail Glove running shoes and the Saucony Kinvara as solid transition shoes.

Similarly, New Balance MX Minimus is an excellent choice as well and can be used for gym workouts or circuit training.

For women, we recommend the Terra Plana as an excellent choice which has the look and feel of a slipper and is very stylish. At minimalist running shoes reviews, we encourage all runners to at least give minimalist running shoes a try. Start out on level surfaces at shorter distances as mentioned earlier and gradually transition to more difficult terrain such as running trails.

If you find yourself running more comfortably with the minimalist running shoes, you can start using them for longer distance running while transitioning to more difficult terrain such as running trails. For most people barefoot running usually requires a transition period. If you begin to feel uncomfortable or any persistent pain, you can alternate with conventional running shoes and change back again later once you’re feeling more comfortable.

Although minimalist running shoes reviews recommends trying the barefoot running shoes as an alternate running method, we certainly will not insist that you stay with any particular brand or style if discomfort persists and always consult with your doctor if there are any medical issues you might have before embarking on this new experience.