Running shoes or minimalist shoes, what should you wear?

Running shoes or minimalist shoes, what should you wear?

Anyone who runs is likely to have seen the Vibram 5 finger, or the Fila 4 finger minimalist shoes. Of course, there are quite a few manufacturers that have designed ultra light minimalist shoes that give you more of a road feel without the cushioning or the added control and support. The question is; are these right for you?

While people with good body mechanics will always have them, people with poor body mechanics who require foot orthotics whether custom or not should likely stick with a more traditional shoe. The traditional shoe will accommodate to your orthotics better, however if you are a mild to moderate overpronator, minimalist shoes will work for you with the right insert. As far as the 5 fingers shoes, forget them.

A growing concern is people switching to minimalist shoes who decide that they work better because traditional shoes were problematic. The reality is that these shoes will change the way you run but not necessarily in a good way, and you may wish to consider visiting a running expert to determine what the problem really is before you decide that the shoe cured the problem, when it merely changed the way you run.

Traditional running shoes have more cushioning than the minimalist shoes which is explored in detail in a recent NY Times article. If you lack cushioning in the shoe, where does the force go? The forces will need to be absorbed by the calves and the legs and the hips. If your body mechanics are poor, this can lead to running issues that are painful.

Check out the NY Times article. It is a wonderful discussion regarding this subject.

Making the Case for Running Shoes

For the past few years, proponents of barefoot running have argued that modern athletic shoes compromise natural running form. But now a first-of-its-kind study suggests that, in the right circumstances, running shoes make running physiologically easier than going barefoot.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Colorado in Boulder, began by recruiting 12 well-trained male runners with extensive barefoot running experience. “It was important to find people who are used to running barefoot,” says Rodger Kram, a professor of integrative physiology, who oversaw the study, which was published online in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

“A novice barefoot runner moves very differently than someone who’s used to running barefoot,” Dr. Kram says. “We wanted to look at runners who knew what they were doing, whether they were wearing shoes or not.”

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