One of the great debates we have here at Dodds Shoe Company is the new trend in running shoes…minimal running shoes. Maybe the first known shoe to dabble in this market was the Nike Free in 2005, allowing runners to increase foot strength by having less on their foot.
The Free sold well, but it was a book called “Born To Run” that really peaked the interest of runners with the introduction to barefoot running. Vibram Five Fingers, or “those funny toes shoes” became an overnight sensation and had many runners rushing to their favorite running stores to buy a pair.
Being that I like to run and am up for anything, I soon bought my first pair of Five Fingers. I definitely got a lot of strange looks and many people stopped to ask me what I was wearing, but I have enjoyed them. I began running in them. While difficult at first (the day after my first run, I thought I was going to die), I soon began to experience what the hype was all about. Becoming more of a midfoot-to-forefoot striker vs. a heel striker has made me a more efficient runner and lighter on my feet. That is a good thing.
Vibram Five Fingers lists the following as the “5 Reasons To Wear Or Train In VFF’s”
- Strengthens muscles in feet and lower legs.
- Improves range of motion in ankles, feet, and toes.
- Stimulates neural function. Important to balance and agility.
- Eliminates heel lift to align the spine and improve posture.
- Allows the foot and body to move more naturally, which just feels good.
Not everyone likes the look of monkey feet, so New Balance and Merrell have teamed with VFF and have created their own barefoot shoes. The New Balance Minimus and the Merrell Trail Glove/Pace Glove are great alternatives to the VFF.
So, here is where it gets interesting. Many customers come to our store asking if this is good for you. The most common question we hear is, “do these shoes have good arch support?”. The theory behind barefoot running is to run in a more natural state with shorter, quicker strides that gives you better alignment. The shoes do not have arch support, but will strengthen your foot to support itself. I’ll let you decide for yourself if these shoes are right for you. Personally, I like them and prefer to do all of my running and training in a minimal shoe.
Still not convinced? Look at the Asics Gel Neo33, the
Brooks PureFlow, and the Saucony Kinvara. Here are 3 shoes that still provide some structure and cushioning while following the trend of a “less is more” shoe.
Be sure to visit https://www.doddsshoe.com/ to check out the latest in minimal running shoes. In the meantime, get out and enjoy pounding the pavement.