Pros and Cons of Barefoot/Minimilist shoes
Hello everyone! Going to talk to you a little about shoes today and yes I admit I have a bit of a problem with shoe shopping. Ever since getting into Crossfit and learning about Paleo and trying to become more like a Caveman, I have taken an interest in Barefoot/Minimalist shoes. I bought my first pair of barefoot shoes about a year ago and now I only buy barefoot or Minimalist shoes. For me coming from a place where we would nearly never wear shoes in the summer and a background in wrestling (wrestling shoes are Minimalist) it has been an easy transition to wearing this type of shoe. Today i’ll be explaining a few of the pros and cons of these type of shoes.
When you think about our bodies and the way we have been put together, to me, it doesn’t really make sense for us to be cushioning and lifting the rearfoot/heel. A lot of barefoot/minimalist shoe companies have great examples of how we have learned to run with a longer stride and a heavy heel strike, when we are designed to run landing on our midfoot/forefoot and then heel strike second. http://www.vivobarefoot.com/eu/training/.
A Few Pros of going barefoot:
Strengthening the muscles, ligaments, and tendons of the foot and developing a more natural gait.
May reduce injuries of the calf muscle and achilles tendon due to the effect of taking the lift of a heel away from our shoes which helps stretch and lengthen the calf muscle and achilles tendon, which in favor would help prevent calf pulls and achilles tendonitis caused by short, tight tissues.
Runners will learn to land on the mid/forefoot instead of their heel, which helps develop a more natural efficient running posture. This natural posture that allows you to land on your forefoot allows your arches to act as a natural shock absorbers. Landing on the heel is like running with your breaks on, and has only been around since the early 70’s when the more cushioned sole of a shoe was developed.
May improve your balance and your proprioception, Thus making your agility and coordination better by activating the smaller muscles in your hips, feet, ankles, and legs.
Ok so a few Cons of going barefoot:
Why fix something that isn’t broken? If while running you have no pains or problems and you feel your running posture is well then do you really need to change anything?
Some minimalist shoes do not have a very solid or thick sole to protect the feet from sharp objects that may rip or tear through the sole of the shoe. Also these shoes are not the warmest shoes in the winter.
If the transitional phase of switching to a barefoot shoe is too fast and not done correctly this may increase the risk of injuries such as calf strains and achilles tendonitis, and could also cause plantar pain to the sole of your foot which could lead to plantar fasciitis.
Blisters may occur as well if transitional phase is done incorrectly.
In conclusion, There really hasn’t been enough studies to really say or not how much or even if barefoot shoes are better for you or not, but I have had great success while wearing my Vivobarefoot shoes and would recommend them to anyone. From my own personal experience when I wear them my posture seems to straighten up while walking and running, which in return helps keep my lower back seemingly pain free. The barefoot running movement is continuing to grow everyday and is more available now than ever before. If anyone has any questions about going minimalist feel free to ask me or email me about information.
Catch ya’ll later barefoot!
Chad “Barefoot” Biddle (could be a nickname) – Coach at Crossfit dublin