The Minimalist Shoes Trend

Whenever we see something new and a little outrageous we immediately being to question the actual value of the invention. It’s natural, many things come and go, there was the Acai berry craze, children’s obsession with Pokemon, there were even pet rocks back in the day that sold for many, many times their worth (I mean come on… they’re rocks).

What’s interesting to note is that there are trends that start big then fade and fizzle, and then there are trends that start, stay strong and eventually becoming integrated into society. Some of the most common examples include items in the technology world. The Internet took some time to catch on. Smartphones started off as nifty toys but eventually became integral to most businesses. So knowing that, what’s the difference between a rock and a smartphone? Why did one trend dissipate and the other explode?

Barefoot Trend Comparison

The answer is utility. Minimalist shoes provide a useful and valuable function that adds to someone’s personal success, happiness or enjoyment of life. Pet rocks were a fad, they had no real applicable value, smartphones did. This is why minimalist running shoes are here to stay, they offer an improvement over traditional running shoes in the same way smartphones offer more than traditional cellphones.

We already know why minimal shoes are better, but the fact is that mainstream minimalist shoes are a relatively recent invention and a growing technology that people need to get used to. However it’s interesting to note that coupled with the current trend toward healthier living, more and more people are choosing minimalist running shoes or minimalist shoe for work recognizing the postural and health benefits.

It can take people a long time to see the negative consequences of poor lifestyle choices. The worst part of it is, many side effects of traditional runners don’t show up for many years. It’s because we’ve seen the effects now that we’re learning to return to our barefoot roots.

The market for minimalist shoes is hot and growing right now, but it will eventually settle down and the companies that make the best minimalist shoes will continue on. Often the manufacturers who continue to innovate and stay ahead of the curve are the ones that continue to survive. In five or ten years minimalist footwear will likely be in an entirely new place as barefoot technology improves to work naturally with our bodies.

The key takeaway here is that fads and trends only fade when the product or service doesn’t provide any true value. Minimalist shoes help us to start forefoot running and run the way we were meant to. Minimalist footwear brings us closer to walking and running completely barefoot. Humans have been moving barefoot for thousands of years… it’s definitely not a fad.

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3 Responses to Are Minimalist Shoes just a Fad?

  1. Craig Soley says:

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    I work for a large mininig construction development as a physiotherapist. I am a firm advocate for minimalist footwear and feel terrible when ever I am required to wear my steelcap work boots for a site visit. I have introduced minimalist footwear concepts to some of my patients and colleagues who accept the validity of the concept. Our problem now has become, are there any minimalist safety boots/ shoes?
    I would encourage any manufacturer to get onto it as I work for a global company where injury reduction is a KPI and having workers more engaged during their work would definitely assist that end.


    • Hi Craig,

      Thanks for sharing, and I completely agree with you. You’ll notice in this post we mention that it often takes decades for people to recognize the negative side effects of some lifestyle choices, many are not even apparent immediately. The truth is that many innovations like this first serve the top tier of people who are on the bleeding edge of this technology (elite runners for example). After that we see the barefoot inspired shoes spread to other runners, and then to casual and work shoes. My guess is the next shift will include work-oriented shoes and more ‘fashionable shoes’. The basic design and idea is there, all that’s necessary is expansion into the aesthetic and work-related expansion into more niche markets.

      Thanks for the comment.

  2. Trina says:

    I feel Craig’s frustration, but in more of a fashion principle. I’m in desperate need of stylish “minimalist” shoes for work. I wear Soft Stars and interchange with Vivo Barefoot, but still miss fun and trendy footwear. I would love to see some minimalist style boots and more dress shoes. The soles MUST flex, have no arches, and 0 rise!! I’m DONE with heels, and uncomfortable shoes–the results in overall heath are reason enough to avoid them. I’m also a barefoot (depending on the weather) / minimalist shoe runner, and LOVE it! It’s a change for life!

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