07 Mar How to transition to a lesser shoe
How to transition to a lesser shoe
There are many reasons why you may want to transition to a lesser shoe. You might be caught up in the barefoot movement, you may want to strengthen your feet & improve function, or you have read that lighter shoes help running economy.
Yes, lighter shoes can help performance and running economy but transition without guidance can be dangerous, with some studies finding an injury risk of 700%! So, what should we consider when making the transition? Comment below on your shoe transition experience.
Step 1. Understanding the shoe minimalist index:
This is a measurement created by The Running Clinic from Quebec. Search their website for more details on this tool. The minimalist index comprises of shoe flexibility, weight, stack height, motion control technologies and heel drop to give your shoe a score out of 100. If your shoe is closer to 100 this will indicate more ‘barefoot’ qualities, whereas a score towards zero indicates more stability, rigidity and support.
Step 2. Calculating the difference between your existing shoe and your new lesser shoe:
This process is quite easy. Once you have established the minimal index score of both shoes, simply calculate the difference. The Running Clinic has also built a catalogue of most shoe brands with their corresponding minimalist index you make the process easier.
Step 3. Transition time based on your score:
Based on the difference between the 2 scores, every 10 points requires 1 month of transition time. For example, if your old shoes score a 30 and your new shoes are 70, this means 4 months of slowly transitioning shoes. This is a very conservative approach but as I stated above, 700% increase in injury risk should be taken seriously.
You have a few options towards HOW you transition. You could spend a few minutes running in your new shoes before swapping to your old ones. You could also start with wearing your new shoes only during your short/slow runs. This requires a trial and error approach but a gradual and patient process is essential.