Are Minimalist Running Shoes Better

I read recently on the New York Times Times site a article asking if barefoot shoes are truly good for you? Here's the opening to their article.

Barefoot running may be trendy, but for scores of runners who train on urban streets or rocky trails, running without foot cover isn’t an option. As a result, many runners have switched to minimalist sports shoes that add a thin layer of protection without detracting from the feeling of running barefoot.
But do minimalist running shoes really reduce wear and tear on a runner’s body?

The article talks about a study that was commissioned in Wisconsin where they had the subjects switch to Vibram Five Fingers, the interesting part was when the subjects came back after using their Vibram Five Fingers they still ran with improper form, heel striking.

The thing about minimalist running shoes is that you need proper form or you'll cause your body damage.

In the study Women who used the correct form experienced lower-impact forces on the foot while running barefoot or in Vibrams. But among the women who didn’t change their form and continued to land on their heels, the impact forces created by barefoot and Vibram running were nearly twice as high as in regular athletic shoes.

That just shows that "normal" running shoes only mask the problem caused by heeling striking.

So the key to switching to minimalist running shoes or barefoot running is to read up on proper running form and take your time, because the goal is to be healthier and avoid injuries.



  1. It's true, it's the form not the footwear. BUT, certain footwear is more conducive to switching form. The less padding, the more feedback you get about your form, the more likely you are to adjust.

    But even with the extra feedback, it'll take different amounts of time for each person to make that change.

    Personally, I think huaraches running sandals (like from http://www.invisibleshoe.com ) allow for the most feedback while still adding protection.

  2. I haven't tried them yet, I would like to down the road Lou..