Is running with minimalist shoes and changing from heelstrike to forefoot strike better for the body?

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    Oct 14, 2011 3:02 AM GMT
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    Oct 14, 2011 6:46 AM GMT
    Dont know about shoes..but ive tried running forefoot strike barefoot on the beach and its WAAAAYYYYY BETTER BRO !!! the ONLY WAY TO RUN for me now icon_smile.gif
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    Oct 14, 2011 9:39 AM GMT
    Yes! I attended a barefoot running clinic a couple of months ago and I can't wear big, heavy running shoes now. I love barefoot running and I highly recommend learning how to do it properly.
  • DakotaUMASS

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    Oct 14, 2011 11:51 AM GMT
    Barefoot running is great, but you do need to reteach yourself how to run properly. I bought a pair of Five Fingers shoes to protect my feet while trail running, and I can't say enough good things about them. It takes a good two weeks for your muscles to adjust, but get ready for some rockin calves!
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    Oct 14, 2011 12:39 PM GMT
    I started with the Mizuno Wave Musha 3:

    41043713_w.jpg

    Now I run wearing the Saucony Hattori:

    111421.jpg
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    Oct 14, 2011 1:02 PM GMT
    I advocate for minimalist, forefoot running whenever I can. You really do need to take it slow for the first few weeks. It's too easy for even experienced runners to develope a little tendinitis. Once you're adjusted though.. Damn. It's done wonders for my game. It -feels- to me like I'm running 6 miles on the same energy I used to spend just running 3. There's just... A softer landing, and more spring in your step.

    It's at least worth exploring. If you don't like it, you can always switch back. icon_smile.gif
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    Oct 14, 2011 1:28 PM GMT
    I had to put added padding in my running shoes because the balls and toes of my feet, one more than the other, started to hurt. I also play tennis, which means you are on the balls of your feet a lot. I made the mistake of letting the shoes get worn down and that combined with my running forced be to cut down on running for a while. I still haven't tried to get back up to 13 miles yet and I only run on dirt or dry grass in open nature areas, avoiding any pavement whenever possible. I can't seem to find any shoes that provide the soft padding I would like. I don't see how anyone can run far on bare feet, although I know the Tarahumara Indians of MExico, the best long distance runners in the world, run barefoot or with sandals made from tire treads.
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    Oct 15, 2011 10:03 PM GMT
    Exercise caution depending on the distance you are running. Do the soles of the shoes have raised areas on the ball of the feet? They could become nasty pressure points.

    I can appreciate/believe the rationale of minimalist running but it's not for everyone. I wore Newtons for the first time this year until my metatarsals started breaking, even with fantastic bone density.

    Metatarsalgia and fractures are a crippling possibility.
  • suedeheadscot

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    Oct 15, 2011 10:05 PM GMT
    I notice more and more people using minimalist running shoes - the ones that look like gloves. I've read lots of barefoot running reports that says its a lot better than running with shoes. Aye right! What happens if you stub a toe/stand on a hyperdermic syringe??? Ouchie.
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    Oct 15, 2011 10:10 PM GMT
    When I see a marathon olympic runner run a sub 3 hour marathon in a pair of those epic douche 5-finger shoes, I will consider a pair. But right now the only people I see wearing them are guys lifting at the gym, NEVER running in them. At the Tough Mudder in Beaver Creek I passed 100 people in the those shoes so apparently they don't make you faster at all, just a really expensive accessory to show off.
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    Nov 03, 2011 5:28 PM GMT
    Trail_Runner saidWhen I see a marathon olympic runner run a sub 3 hour marathon in a pair of those epic douche 5-finger shoes, I will consider a pair. But right now the only people I see wearing them are guys lifting at the gym, NEVER running in them. At the Tough Mudder in Beaver Creek I passed 100 people in the those shoes so apparently they don't make you faster at all, just a really expensive accessory to show off.



    I never understood why people have such a personalise reaction to these. Its like they literally cause people to become upset... Nobody ever said they make you faster, necessarily. Just that they are about 15,000% better for your legs, lessen the impact on your joints on each strike, and redevelop your muscles in a more natural and safe way.

    Not sure why you seem so threatened by them. They're just shoes.

    The reason why people lift in them is they give you more of a sense of stability. I really feel that I can control the weight better when I'm doing dead lifts, squats, lunges... etc. But I ALSO run in them. (Komodo Sports, here!)

    I switched to Vibrams just over 2 years ago because In was consistently developing terrible Shin Splints in the course of my Rowing training. Mind you, I was in Scotland, not in the USA, so I was not influenced by all the hype that every lax bro douche and their brother was on about how with cool theses were. It was a switch recommended to me by my physical therapist, the other alternative being surgery. In the past 2 years, I have had almost ZERO shin pain whatsoever, even with a highly increased amount of running compared with before. For the first time in my life I got myself to run a sub-7 minute mile. (Just did this a few weeks ago!!! Very excited icon_smile.gif So I have nothing but positive feedback. Not saying they're going to make you Usane Bolt, but they certainly might help with the muscle tightness, joint pain, and heal-strike side-effects.

    I'm looking forward to studies 10+ years down the road about the need for knee surgeries etc. and how it correlates to these shoes. I certainly know my fair share of folks who have had surgeries due to running who have NOT used these shoes...
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    Nov 03, 2011 5:40 PM GMT
    I don't think lifelong runners are necessarily "threatened" by them. They're just a new shoe fad (like Crocs... hehehe), and when you've been running in proven running shoes for 20+ years it makes it hard to take seriously something that's quickly become popular as much for aesthetic reasons as for the so-called science behind these shoes.

    You kids, keep your fancy-schmancy five finger shoes off my lawn! Don't make me wave my cane atcha!
  • DareJ

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    Nov 03, 2011 5:44 PM GMT
    Love my Vibram Bikilas and KSOs—I've been running in them since May 2010—but the real revolution for me has been starting to run barefoot. Of course I run more gingerly (which has shifted me from being a heel striker to being a forefoot striker), but the amount of feedback I get from the earth is amazing. The soles of my feet have toughened up andmive done up to 1.5 hours barefoot. Yesterday I had an amazing, sensuous (no other word for it!) run through a farmers field and some dirt trails. Makes me feel like a kid again. My goal is to eventually run a marathon barefoot. (I've done Boston twice in conventional shoes).
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    Nov 03, 2011 6:00 PM GMT
    endo saidI don't think lifelong runners are necessarily "threatened" by them. They're just a new shoe fad (like Crocs... hehehe), and when you've been running in proven running shoes for 20+ years it makes it hard to take seriously something that's quickly become popular as much for aesthetic reasons as for the so-called science behind these shoes.

    You kids, keep your fancy-schmancy five finger shoes off my lawn! Don't make me wave my cane atcha!


    I can understand that, and I suppose some people do walk around (pun?) trying to tell all the olde-school runners they've been doing it wrong since sneakers were invented. My argument though: Doesn't this new 'science' just make sense? How does some little aboriginal or bush man run around in Africa or the Outback? They certainly aren't running heal to toe. And from a personal sense... It literally feels better, so shouldn't that signify it might be right?

    Not saying there IS a right and a wrong way, it's up to each person individually. It's just funny how RUNNING SHOES seem to be the next "Apple/Windows" civil war.
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    Nov 03, 2011 6:14 PM GMT
    Jeandeau saidDoesn't this new 'science' just make sense?


    It doesn't to me. Running is hell on your knees... good running shoes provide cushion and support.

    I mostly run on sidewalks where you need the cushion. But I can see the appeal (for tree-hugging fairies!!! JK) of running barefoot thru a meadow. I live in frickin' Arizona though... run around barefoot here and you're gonna get a dozen thorns stuck in your feet, get bit by a rattlesnake, or scald the bottoms of your feet on boiling sand.
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    Nov 03, 2011 6:23 PM GMT
    I'm going to say yes, but only to a certain degree. I don't think running completely on your forefoot is good for the body either (it could hurt your calves and it isn't natural unless you're completely barefoot), so I try and go for a mid-foot strike.
    Try and copy Bekele and Haile if you want to look at ideal running form.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLg4j4gMzqA
    My shin splints went away as soon as I started minimalist running so I'd definitely recommend it. I say get something like the Puma Saloh or the Street Kosmos.
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    Nov 03, 2011 6:36 PM GMT
    I'm all about Five Fingers. I backpack in them. I can't imagine wearing hiking boots again. Five Fingers have also had a very positive impact on some low back issues I've dealt with for years. My posture has improved. My legs are straighter. My core is more stable. When I put on regular shoes now, they feel strange. I don't feel nearly as stable or strong in them. I've been wearing Five Fingers for about three years now but decided to go 100% barefoot about 6 months ago. I was blown away by how good my feet felt every day on my last backpacking trip. Strongly recommended, but go slow and work up to longer runs, etc. or you'll be in some serious pain initially.
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    Nov 05, 2011 3:34 AM GMT
    Check this out -- The Once and Future Way to Run
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/06/magazine/running-christopher-mcdougall.html?pagewanted=1&_r=2

    I'm not a fan of McDougall: poor writer, bombastic, and picks his evidence to support his hypotheses. But this is compelling.
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    Nov 06, 2011 9:08 PM GMT
    Hm... I read through the NYT piece this morning and watched the attached video about "100-ups," the miracle exercise. It looked... oddly familiar. So finally the quarter dropped, and I realized that it's almost identical to the old high-stepping exercise from marching band. Except I think we were supposed to touch our palms to our knees during drills. What's next? Calibrating eight steps to five yards?

    <_<
    >_>
    Dang. Now I'm going to have to go outside to see if I can still do that.
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    Nov 06, 2011 9:13 PM GMT
    I can run much farther, with fewer aches and pains, since switching to forefoot/minimalist about a year ago. But I'm wearing Newtons, not the super-minimalist zero-drop five-finger shoes.
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    Nov 07, 2011 10:55 PM GMT
    I've worn Newtons, and they guided me to the forefoot strike. For the past 6 months, I've worn the Altra Instinct...a zero percent drop. Took a while to get used to them, but now, I love them. A much lighter impact; they force one to think more about picking the foot up rather than striking the ground. Both Newton and Altra (and others) have great videos explaining their philosophy.

    No shoe is going to make one a faster runner. But, getting the right shoe can enable tone to avoid injury and to improve endurance.