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Minimalist Running Shoes: A History | Minimalist Shoes

Spartan SandalsFor the majority of human existence we ran barefoot. The introduction of thin-soled sandals or moccasins were for protection against the elements but had a relatively low impact on the actual biomechanical movement of a runner’s step. The introduction of heavy footwear in modern ages quickly began to change the way people saw running. Our feet, so perfectly designed for sprinting, jogging and running short and long distances were encased in unnatural shapes designed to either distort or enhance our running ability.

Unfortunately both had an overall negative effect on the feet. High heels, boots and many forms of typical footwear had a negative effect on our posture and led to foot pain. Runners designed to helps us move faster over different types of terrain eventually weakened our arches, led to foot fungi and weakened one’s running ability gradually over time.

As we begin to see the side effects of constricting our feet, more and more people have been turning too minimalist running shoes in order to be reduce or eliminate pain, rebuild strength in the foot and enable us to keep running no matter how old we get and not fall victim to back pain, fallen arches or other problems that tend to crop up after we’ve been running for a significant period of time. Often these issues are so subtle it takes us years to really notice them and then years to try and undo the damage. Don’t wait for these lingering concerns to catch up with you, start making the switch minimalist running shoes.

The best minimalist running shoes are not shoes at all, they’re your feet! The modern popularity of running barefoot starts in 1960. Ethiopia’s Abebe Bikila won the Olympic marathon in Rome while running barefoot. The shoes issued to him by his team’s manager caused him enough discomfort to discard them completely. That was one of the first times people began to recognize (or re-recognize) the innate ability of one’s own feet to carry him or her any distance.

From there minimalist running started to grow in popularity. Famous runners such as Britain’s Bruce Tolloh won the gold medal at the 1962 European Games in the 5,000 meter race. South Africa’s Zola Budd won the 1985 and 1986 IAAF World Cross Country Championships running without shoes. American Rick Roeber has completed over 50 marathons, 2 ultra-marathons (and more) all barefoot. The movement has become so popular that a Barefoot Runners Society has been formed in the United State, its member count has been growing at an accelerated rate.

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