Post # 1
So I have never really taken the minimalist or barefoot running very seriously. I wear Asics 2170s and have never been injured yet (knock on wood) so it seemed like I’d just keep doing what I’m doing.
Today I finished listening to Christopher McDougall’s book Born To Run and I’m more intrigued than ever by minimalist/barefoot running. A lot of the information in the book really has me thinking. Like the direct correlation between the price of your running shoe and the number of injuries. According to the book, if you purchase shoes costing more than $90 you are 120% more likely to be injured than if you purchase shoes costing less than $40. That is astounding. Also there is a lot of information on the biomechanics of running that just makes sense.
I added a pair of Brooks Pure Cadence to my Christmas List so I can try a more minimalist shoe with a much lower heel to toe drop. I thought that would be a good way to step down from my current shoes and see what happens. But I am toying with the idea of trying a true minimalist shoe.
Who out there has gone minimalist or barefoot? How did you transition from a typical running shoe to what you run in now? Do you notice a change in your form? How about injuries?
Post # 3
I wasn’t a track or marathoner but I was an athelete in HS and my coachs wouldn’t ever have advocated not wearing shoes to run… but track spikes are thin and light. I have knee issues steming from being stupid in the weight room and would totally die if I tried to run in something without any cushion. Are you running on a track or cross country/road/trail? To me that would make a difference too, just safety wise. Never know what will be on the ground! Darling Husband has some of those awful looking toe shoes but he thinks they are super comfy. He just wears them aroud though. When he tried to run in them they made his feet hurt so he went back to regular running shoes. HERE is some info from REI about it. They talk about that book too!
Post # 4
I haven’t read the book to fairly tear the arguement apart, but is it people who spend more money on athletic shoes that are more likely to be injured, or is it those who are more likely due to be injured (due to their physiology, previous injuries, how serious they are into a sport, etc.) more likely to spend more on their shoes?
Post # 5
I don’t run barefoot, but I wear the 5-fingers shoes to run. I also don’t run marathons (I call it a good day if I can run 5K)…..so keep that in mind.
But i LOVE my 5-finger shoes! I could never run in sneakers (and I used to buy the $20 Target sneakers). I would always get bad blisters on my toes. Once I got my 5-finger shoes, I started actually getting serious about running and learned to run “toe first” (landing on the ball of my feet rather than on my heel). It is great – I don’t get knee or ankle pain when I run, and no blisters!
While I would totally recommend the 5-finger shoes, my friends who run longer distance (10 miles to marathons) still use sneakers b/c the soles have more cushion. I think it has to do with them landing heel-first when then run.
PS – The nature article referenced in the REI link is a good read!!
Post # 6
@AB Bride: That is always a good question and the author didn’t go into a ton of detail. I would have to go back to that section again. But the focus was really on the shoes. Stability and motion control shoes tend to cost a lot more money, (the author specifically talked about the Asics Kinsei at one point) and thoes shoes are changing how your feet and legs work when you run. The runners he talked about (Standford track team and a few specific runners whose names I’d have to look up) either reduced their injuries or their injuries got better when they started running barefoot or in a much less cushioned shoe without any motion control and with a lower heel to toe drop in the sole.
@chasesgirl: I have a few miles of paved bike path, but mostly I run on jagged sidewalk, the shoulder of local roads, and trails.
Post # 7
I run in Brooks Pure Connects, and I also work in a specialty running store.
First question: Do you have problems with over pronation? Both the 2170’s and the Cadence are support shoes that are made to control the ankles from rolling toward the center.
Second question: Do you already have a solid midfoot strike? The most painful part of the transition process is the soreness in your feet and lower legs that comes with your body moving in a new way. When I transitioned the only way to keep myself striking correctly was to go SUPER slow, like almost shuffling, until I felt confident in my strike.
Third (and final) question: What kind of mileage are you getting? The rule of thumb with transitioning is to run in minimal shoes for 10% of your short run and advance by 10% each week. It takes a while, but it is the best way to keep yourself from getting injured. If you are a long distance runner with a significant heel strike, I’d have to suggest that you take it a little slower than that.
When I changed my form running got so much easier for me! I use some of the principles of Chi running and that surely has something to do with it as well. Before transitioning to minimal shoes I was having issues with my back (from a high impact heel strike) and I also had problems with over pronation. Ever since I switched I haven’t had problems with either and I’m actually a neutral runner now!
The only injury that I got were really really painful shin splints and almost unbearable calf pain that lasted the first week. I over trained (I tried to run my normal distance and pace with the minimals and it was a huge mistake) and because your calf is engaged literally the entire time there is going to be soreness no matter what.
Wow, sorry I repsonded with a book! I hope this helps!
Post # 8
I’ve done pretty much all my running in 5 fingers. I’ve done a half marathon in them, and I trained for the NY marathon in them. I didn’t actually get to run it though, because it was cancelled. I never had to learn to transition to them, because i learned to run in them. I’ve heard that they are actually supposed to be better if you have bad knees because you step much more cautiously and gingerly if you don’t have a cushion. A cushion makes a softer step for your foot, but you bring it down harder without realizing it, and your knees have to absorb that.
Post # 9
@cant.wait.to.be.mrs.d: I have been fit twice and told I over probate once, and that I don’t the other time. So this year I bought the shoes that felt most comfortable. So far no problems and I worked up to 35+ mile weeks over the course of the year. Oh and I went with the pure cadence because I was wearing the 2170s without an issue and after trying all of the Pure shoes on, they felt the most comfortable walking and running.
I have been working on straightening my back and trying not to land on my heels, but it hasnt been a huge focus. Though my current shoes,with about 400 miles on them are less worn in the heel than my old running shoes. I also dropped 50 pounces this year, so Ive gotten faster, lighter, and have better posture.
Im not sure how serious I am about switching to minimal or barefoot running, but I’m really intrigued.
Post # 11
My husband read that book and he is totally converted! He was running really barefoot out on the kids’ soccer field not far from our house. He’d just run laps in the grass. I urged him to get some 5 finger shoes so he doesn’t pierce his foot on something. He did a few miles running and now is up to 7 miles of trail running in these shoes.
I’m not really into running though, so I’m just excited that he’s excited.
Post # 12
I wear Vibram 5-Fingers, but I’ve found that they are really only comfortable for me when I run on the indoor track at the gym (that is springy). I like the way it changes my stride, and I really do think it feels more natural, but when I run outside (on sidewalks/roads) or for a longer distance (more than 5 miles), my feet do hurt because it’s to much impact. I’d like to try something that’s in-between and has just a bit more support for road races.
Post # 13
I have been running exclusively barefoot or in VFFs for about 4 years (sometimes I run in other minimalist options) I am a 45+mpw runner and I run roads, trails and anything I can! No injuries, and the little quibbles I had (snapping ITB) went away with barefoot/minimalist. I would never go back to regular shoes.
In daily life I am actually barefoot/minimalist (mostly VFFs) almost 100% of the time, be it at work, casual, for sport or for play. The only exceptions are when I need to wear specialty shoes (such as when cycling) or am snowshoeing, etc. I have several pairs of VFFs and other minimalist options. I have not worn heels in years and simply won’t. My feet have changed quite a bit & I am not comfortable in “traditional” shoes of any kind.
It is very important to build up your mileage in them as it is easy to get injured if you just go out and run your usual! I was already a runner and went from Mizuno Wave Riders and had to build the mileage in barefoot/VFFs even though I had plenty of endurance and a great base. As for technique…you cannot go on heel striking if you do. Look into Pose or ChiRunning. It is actually recommended to learn barefoot before donning VFFs. They should not change your stride, it should be you learning to run properly no matter what is or is not on your feet!
There are a few resources out there on learning to run barefoot if you google!
Post # 14
That would be my next question. If you go minimalist for running, what about the other hours of the day? In summer I live in Birkenstock sandals and flip flops, but in the winter I have to wear more substantial shoes being in NY with the cold and snow.
Post # 15
@mrstilly: I run in Vibrams. I started out barefoot so I could get the form down, because I had to change from heel striking to mid/fore-foot striking. I also had to learn to take short, light, quick steps. I’ve been in Vibrams exclusively for years and love them. They also last about 5 times as long as traditional shoes, so the expense pays off big time. I am in marathon training right now and they are holding up on my long runs just fine. I highly recommend them! Find a store with a decent return policy and you can try them for 30 days.
My experience is that it takes about two weeks to build the foot muscles up in the Vibrams or barefoot, and you should start with really short runs every day. For example, start with a 1/4 mile run for a few days, then 1/2 mile, then 3/4 mile, etc. If you start to get blisters, re-evaluate your form because you should be landing light enough, and lifting your feet (as opposed to pushing off) quickly enough that you won’t get blisters.
Post # 16
- Wedding: October 2014 - Disney
I considered it but Rheumatologist, and a Running Shoe Expert told me NO! I’d love to run free but my joints are not going to put up with that crap! They barely put up with the all the insanity I put them through now.
Post # 17
- Wedding: October 2014 - Disney
@mrstilly: Do you have any joint issues, or old injuries? What is your gait like? Do you pronate at all?