Are you looking to ditch the shoes and connect with nature? Minimalist footwear serves as a great transition for runners wishing to switch from bulky shoe running to barefoot running. Or, for the beach lover who needs an easy, breezy pair of sneakers to hit the sand in this summer. However, you need to understand how to practice minimalist running safely to avoid injury.
What is Minimalist Running?
Since the beginning of time, humans have been running—even long before the modern running shoe existed. Minimalist running (aka barefoot running) is the idea of wearing little to no footwear for a jog and the belief that it’s better for you to promote natural foot movement.
Minimalist supporters believe that less cushioning and support from your go-to running shoes requires you to engage your foot muscles a little more with each stride. Strengthening muscles in the feet is a good thing—and we should all strive for this goal. However, logging tons of miles while wearing no shoes can be detrimental to your foot health if you don’t ease into it.
If you’re thinking about becoming a minimalist runner, you’ll need the right gear (and some top tips from foot health experts) to set you on a path for success.
4 Tips for Becoming a Minimalist Runner
Like any other running technique, becoming a minimalist runner will require some adjustment time. Your body (especially your feet!) will require a period of time to adapt to the lack of artificial support. Here, we want to give you a few pointers on how to become a minimalist runner without injuring yourself or putting your overall foot health at risk.
1. Be aware of the consequences.
As you transition to minimalist running, you’ll begin to understand that changing the way you run isn’t going to be easy. Make yourself aware of the consequences of switching from ultra-padded, supportive footwear to minimalist running shoes too quickly. For some, Achilles tendinitis or calf strain may be an issue if you don’t give yourself time to adjust. You may also notice that your foot muscles will feel overworked if you’re training too hard, too soon.
2. Take time to adjust and train.
When switching to a less padded running shoe, a very gradual transition is your safest bet. Once you’ve invested in a minimalist running shoe or a lighter model, alternate your shoes with each run. By easing your new minimalist shoes into your running rotation, your body will slowly adjust to the difference, instead of going through an initial shock to the system. This may also help keep your feet and knees injury-free.
3. Invest in the right shoes.
When changing up your running style, you need to invest in quality gear, too. Minimalist running shoes come in all shapes and sizes, but one thing remains the same: they lack the same support as the shoes you’re likely in now. Before you take a leap into the world of minimalist running, you might want to test out a lighter running shoe first. Once you’ve adjusted to a lighter running shoe, then incorporate a minimalist shoe into your collection. Eventually, you may be ready for barefoot running—especially on the beach!
4. Don’t give up.
Never, ever give up. Minimalist running can be accomplished by anyone if given time to adjust. If you are considering getting into barefoot or minimalist running, our best advice is to make sure you transition from shoe running to barefoot running gradually. For example, you could start by allocating a small percentage of your total weekly running time to minimalist running. Ideally, you’ll also want to pick relatively safe terrain—such as a beach or grassy field—to run in to avoid road running injuries.
2019 Top Minimalist Running Shoes: Women’s & Men’s
1. New Balance Minimus 10v1
Are you looking for a lightweight minimalist shoe for trail runs? Look no further than the New Balance Minimus 10v1. We’ve compared prices from over 60+ retailers to find you the best deal.
2. Merrell Vapor Glove
Comfortable and durable, the Merrell Vapor Glove is one of the best daily use minimalist shoes. We’ve compared prices from over 60+ retailers to find you the best deal.
3. Merrell Bare Access Flex 2
Looking for ultimate stability and breathability? The Merrell Bare Access is the best on the market. We’ve compared prices from over 60+ retailers to find you the best deal.
4. Nike Free RN 2018
Looking for minimalist shoes with some style? The Nike Free RN 2018 is a great lightweight shoe choice. We’ve compared prices from over 60+ retailers to find you the best deal.
Purcado: Compare Prices on Minimalist Running Shoes
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