How Bad are Running Shoes?
Running is one of the most ancient human motions. As homosapiens learned to walk upright, we eventually learned to run as well. Tracking down food and evading predators or dangerous situations were some of the reasons we relied on our feet and legs to survive. Our species has changed significantly since our start on the African Savannah but evolution is slow; although our technology grows at a rapid pace, our core body structure has remained remarkably similar to our that of our ancestors.
When the ancient man (or woman) began to run he or she relied on a specific style of movement to carry weight evenly across the body and minimize impact on the feet and legs. This style of forefoot running allowed for swift and light movement. When you run barefoot, you rely on the foot’s tactile sensation to feel the ground and your lower leg muscles to absorb the shock as well as to propel you forward with the same energy. Barefoot running is all about making proper use of your foot and body alignment to maximize energy and prevent injury.
Unfortunately these days not everyone makes use of minimalist shoes and we find that the everyday type of shoe that most people use hasn’t changed much in the last century. Running shoes have seen some growth, but for the most part the focus has been on covering up the foot’s natural abilities, rather than unleashing them.
Your foot has 33 joints, 26 bones, and 20 muscles along with many, many sensory receptors. Non-minimalist shoes shield your foot through thick layers of padding and plastic. The result is that we lose tactile sensation in the foot which leads to increased strain with each step. We are unable to properly use the leg and foot muscles to absorb the landing impact and as a consequence send stress into our legs and spine. We begin to heel strike and lost the natural sway of our hips.
Minimalist running shoes solve these problems by offering ultra-thin, puncture resistant soles with zero offset and a host of other benefits that allow one’s feet to move naturally and comfortably. Barefoot running with minimalist shoes is not the same as running completely barefoot but it’s infinitely closer than what most people are doing now. The best minimalist running shoes are actually getting very close to barefoot by employing as little material as possible to make the shoe lightweight and thin to maximize sensory perception in the foot-sole.
Choosing a pair of minimalist shoes can be challenging. We recommend browsing our minimalist shoe reviews to choose a pair of the best minimalist running shoes if your a regular exerciser. Taking action to prevent the pain and potential injuries caused by normal running shoes will make running a pleasant experience for a greater portion of your life. The longer you wait to change, the harder it will be.