Do I need to transition into a minimalist shoe?

Do I need to transition into a minimalist shoe?


Do I need to transition into a minimalist shoe?

There has been plenty of debate around barefoot running over the past few years and there are strong believers in both camps. Do I run in comfortable, supporting, protective shoes? Or do I run in light minimalist shoes and let my feet do all the work?

I was taught a simple flow chart from The Running Clinic out of Quebec and I cannot rate their expertise highly enough. If you wear protective shoes and are thinking about the transition ask yourself two questions:

1.) Am I currently injured?

2.) Do I want to improve my running performance?

If answering yes to either or both, you might want to consider the transition because evidence seems to suggest that minimalist shoes increase performance and decrease risk of injury. Now this doesn’t mean transitioning to ‘barefoot’ shoes. All shoes are on a scale from 0% (Maximalist) to 100% (Barefoot) that can be categorised very succinctly on The Running Clinic website:

Keep in mind that the decreased injury risk holds true once you have made the transition and this needs to be very gradual! We are not reducing load on the body we are merely shifting it, most commonly to the foot, ankle and calf. This puts you at an extremely high risk of injury if your transition is not gradual enough. The transition process is a topic for another day but conservative advice suggests adding one minute of running in minimalist shoes to every run.

There will no doubt be a lot of questions, comments and anecdotes from both sides. What has your experience been with different running shoes?

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