Do you consider buying barefoot running shoes? There is a movement ‘afoot’ in the running community to promote and expand the use of these shoes. This popular push is in support of runners who prefer bare feet to heavy shoes that interfere with the very base of their natural running mechanics.
Barefoot running shoes are otherwise known as minimalist footwear due to their streamlined design and lack of those fashionable ‘bells and whistles’.
No special cushions, shock absorbency pads or extra-long shoelaces are used because they are merely a nuisance and create added, and unnecessary, weight.
If you are not familiar with these type of shoes, take a look at my new pair of shoes: the ECCO Biom natural running shoes. You may consider these on some of your marathon training or shorter distance runs!
Sports physicians, orthopedic doctors and many trainers are now voicing support for these ‘foot-friendly shoes’. In fact you can discover a great deal of research that is proving just how beneficial a barefoot running lifestyle can be.
Minimalist Features-Extraordinary Design
With minimalist running shoes you get a type of foot covering specifically designed to protect the soles of your feet yet you will still receive all of the enjoyment and healthy benefits associated with a barefoot running experience.
Most of the barefoot running shoes look similar to a low cut sock. There are even individual toe pieces that gently support and naturally protect each of your toes. An old “Married with Children” episode entitled “God’s Shoes” actually featured a primitive form of this footwear more than 20 years ago. Who could have imagined that these shoes would one day win the hearts of dedicated runners.
The lack of cushioning, insoles and other more traditional shoe features will provide you with the unique opportunity to flex your feet naturally as you run. This unrestrained foot flexion makes it easier for your feet, legs and body to respond properly to the feel of the surface on which you are running.
Who Should Try Barefoot Running Shoes?
Anyone who wants to enjoy the true freedom of running should give these shoes a try. These styles of shoes are also a good option for people who may have problems with weak ankles, plantar fasciitis or other foot and ankle conditions.
Many individuals are finding that their speed, physical comfort and running technique is improved when they exchange their old footwear for these new styles.
At first it seemed that barefoot running shoes were going to remain a very small niche market but now those major manufacturers of athletic shoes are joining in the party. Nike, Adidas and other high profile sportswear companies are adding these minimalist shoes to their product line.
Having It All
Now you really can ‘have your cake and eat it’ because you are given all of the benefits and advantages of barefoot running without having to worry about scratches and cuts damaging your unprotected feet.
This is wonderful news for many individuals who wanted to embrace a barefoot running lifestyle but just could not commit to the idea that their naked feet would likely come in contact with dirty sidewalks, gritty runny paths or trails where mud, litter and other debris might pose problems.
10 Tips For Correctly Choosing Your Minimalist Shoes
There are a few tips that can help you choose the best barefoot running shoes for your needs.
Of course you do need to concentrate on selecting the style of shoes that will be suitable for your running style as well as the type of weather that will be involved.
Are you planning to restrict your athletic endeavors to paved running tracks and city sidewalks? Do you need barefoot running shoes that will give your traction and protection at the damp, sandy shores of the beach? Perhaps you are dedicated to running along some of the rougher trails and hiking paths.
No matter where you run, or how often, there are going to be some styles of minimalist footwear that will give you the type of comfort and satisfaction that you require.
There are numerous kinds of running shoes that can be worn by a runner who prefers to tackle a course in feet that are unhampered by heavy, cumbersome footwear.
Tip 1: Your shoes should be flexible
Your foot needs to be able to bend, flex and shift in a natural motion. If you wear shoes that interfere with this motion you will become a weaker runner and your muscles, tendons and joints will not have a chance to get stronger and more powerful.
Tip 2: Your shoes sole should be light and flexible
Look at the sole of each shoe and make certain that it is pliable and can conform to the surfaces on which you will be running. The soles should be light and resilient so that your feet can feel and respond to the changes that are encountered in any type of running surface.
Tip 3: Enough ankle and foot flexibility
Selecting the shoes with the right flexion is very important. This will make sure that during those daily runs you are able to maintain the natural flexing motions with your feet.
This ankle and foot flexibility helps maintain stronger, healthier joints and tendons. The overall result is that you will be less susceptible to injuries and will become a more powerful and efficient running machine.
Tip 4: Natural appearing sole
Check out the silhouette of the shoe and make sure that you have a design that has a natural appearing sole. The idea behind barefoot running shoes is to make the shoe conform to the shape of your own foot as much as possible.
This means that the bottom of the shoe should be relatively flat and the heel should be very low to the ground.
The loss of cushioned insoles and liners will feel different at first but then you will begin to appreciate these very differences.
Tip 5: No or less usage of impact reducing features
While impact reducing shoes may seem to be very appealing these are design features that can negatively affect your running. That additional cushioning actually creates higher amounts of pressure for the joints of your feet, legs and knees.
Tip 6: No usage of forward motion features
Today there are many athletic shoes that are supposed to help control your traction and improve your forward motion. These are features that you do not need and they should be conspicuously missing from the design of high quality, barefoot running shoes.
Tip 7: Breathable shoe
Your bare feet need to breathe and sweat. Choose a pair of barefoot running shoes that will promote a natural and efficient exchange of air during your run. This will help your feet stay comfortable and healthy.
Tip 8: Light weight shoe
Light weight is a key element of top selling barefoot running shoes. Preferably the style of minimalist footwear you select should weigh no more than 8-10 ounces.
Tip 9: Enough room for your foot and toes
Look for a shoe design that has adequate room for the spread of your foot and toes. Forget that temptation to choose snugly fitting shoes and find barefoot runners that cradle your feet with natural fit, proper support and supreme comfort.
Tip 10: Adequate width for the largest part of your foot
When selecting the ideal type of barefoot running gear you need to find shoes that have adequate width for the largest part of your foot. These types of shoes should sit flat when placed on a floor surface.
Using Minimal Footwear
Unless you have already become accustomed to longer runs or have practiced barefoot running at length in the past these minimal designs may not be a ‘good fit’. These are athletic shoes that are designed for a person with feet that have already developed additional thickness and toughness along the soles.
If you are just a beginner in the barefoot runner movement then give yourself a chance to become accustomed to this style of footwear before you use it for those long, demanding courses.
Lightweight, flexible footwear such as barefoot running shoes offers some practical advantages as well.
- You can easily carry these shoes with you in a purse or backpack.
- They are perfect to use when you are traveling or driving for long distances.
- The design makes them ideal to wear around the house or out in the yard.
- You can even use these as convenient foot coverings if you have a sprain, strain or have sustained some other physical injury to your lower extremities.
- These are shoes that can provide relief for tired feet and are good choices for a long commute. Just remove them from your briefcase, purse or gym bag and exchange them for those stiff, inflexible heels or dress shoes.
Find The Best Running Shoes For Your Bare Feet
When it is time to decide on the best style of barefoot running shoes you should explore all options before making that final choice. Do not discount one style out simply because you do not care for the color, or you feel that the design makes your feet look too wide or too long.
Break the shoes in with a few 10-15 minute runs (or walks) over the course of 2-4 days. This will allow your feet time to adjust to the fit and feel. Once you have thoroughly ‘broken-in’ your barefoot running shoes you will be ready to hit the trails or jogging paths with a vengeance.