One of the fiercest debates in running circles is whether minimalist running shoes provide a greater benefit than traditional running shoes. Proponents of minimalist shoes state that they help strengthen the foot and thus cut down on injuries.
However many podiatrists caution that minimalist running shoes are not for everyone – especially people who have serious biomechanical issues.
A recent study has put more doubt into whether minimalist running shoes are good idea. The study categorized participants into three groups and gave them a three month training program. The results were interesting.
Of the 23 injuries that happened during the training period, four were among the runners wearing traditional shoes, 12 among those wearing partial-minimalist shoes and seven in the full-minimalist shoe group.
Runners using the full-minimalist shoes also reported higher rates of shin and calf pain than the other participants.
One important caveat to this study is that the minimalist runners did not have an extensive time to break in their shoes and get their feet adjusted to a less supportive shoe.
Therefore, perhaps the real take away here is to ensure that you give yourself plenty of time to adjust to a minimalist shoe when transitioning from a traditional shoe. Maybe take a few weeks to do some very light walking and jogging in your minimalist shoes before using them as your main running shoe.