I have been an avid runner for eight years now and one of the major perks (besides the endorphins) is that it’s quite inexpensive. The only thing absolutely necessary to invest in is your running shoes. Running can be very tough on your body and it’s important to take responsibility for treating yourself well!
I bought a new pair of Asics GT-2170 last weekend. I have been running in the 2000 series for years now and they have never failed me. The difference with the newest model is that they are taking on this minimalist trend. The sales clerk was very knowledgeable about the shoes and explained that they are lighter and have a lower heel in order to help runners reduce heel striking. It is much less harmful to the body when runners achieve a midfoot/forefoot strike in their stride.
Lately I’ve been seeing more and more talk about the minimalist running shoe trend. My ears perked up when I started to notice those odd looking FiveFingers shoes, which seemed more like socks to me. The idea is that they “allow the foot to move more naturally and, thus, allow the rest of the body to set up in more efficient running posture from foot to forehead” (http://bit.ly/elIFyp). In fact, this idea has gone beyond the FiveFingers brand and has become a major trend in the running shoe industry.
All of this new information regarding minimalist shoes has definitely contradicted a lot of what I have learned in the past about running shoes. One barefoot enthusiast claims that, "Arch support, cushioning, and high-tech features are believed to be improvements for human comfort but they're actually the direct cause of foot problems and injuries." People in support of the minimalistic shoes even go as far as saying that companies who promote motion control and stability shoes are simply propaganda. I am personally a mild over-pronator, meaning I roll across too much from the outside to the inside of my foot, causing injury. Luckily, it is only mild and I have a bit more leeway with the shoes I buy and have only suffered small, treatable injuries such as shin splints and slight pain in my knees. Nothing I can’t fix with a little rest and lots of ice!
However I know many people who suffer from chronic shin splints and plantar fasciitis. As far as I was concerned, the solution was running in the right shoe for you, which can be stability or motion control shoes. However after researching the minimalist concept, it seems to make more sense to let your body adapt to itself in a natural way, instead of controlling movement. One thing to keep in mind is that it is not easy to adapt to these minimalist shoes after you have been active in a more structured shoe. According to Jay Dicharry, directory of the SPEED Clinic at the University of Virginia’s Center for Endurance Sport, there are three criteria to making the change to minimal-drop shoes. They are flexibility, strength and technique.
Overall, he says it is smart to be patient when you begin running in a new pair of shoes. Take it slow and build as you get stronger. My words of advice; always listen to your body, rest when necessary and ice painful areas, it’s like magic! Happy running everyone!