Should you go minimalist?
Whether you run in traditional padded shoes, minimalist shoes or barefoot, there's always a risk of injury, whether you're a professional athlete or amateur.
Traditional running shoes are heavily padded compared to the minimalist shoe, especially in the heel. In the past, trainers believed the foot needed this padding, as well as arch support to stabilize the foot.
However, many argue that minimalist shoes can prevent the impact-related and stress-related injuries that can be associated with regular running shoes.
Those who love minimalist running shoes say they make you more aware of your running form, while giving you the opportunity to build foot and leg muscles which can be neglected by traditional shoes.
Padding your feet reduces the “proprioceptive input” or feedback from your feet to your brain. (Think about the time you ran barefoot on the beach and felt the warmth and texture of the sand!)
Barefoot runners argue that when your feet are bundled in socks and padded shoes, you are losing a lot of sensation that your body needs to orient itself while running.
However, podiatrists point out that running barefoot could also expose your feet to deep, penetrating puncture wounds, scrapes and other injuries from broken glass, jagged metal or even uneven rocks.
Therefore, many runners say that minimalist shoes can offer a happy medium between the risks of going barefoot and the heavy padding of traditional shoes.
However, if you're a “weekend warrior” and abruptly transition to minimalist shoes, some trainers say you may injure yourself.