Minimalist Running Shoes & Sandals
For many, we grew up running barefoot. As we grow up, we lose that natural feel and flexibility running barefoot. Skeptics will point to fear-mongering of possible injuries and dangers of running barefoot, but in fact, with proper minimalist footwear, you can run like the "Running People" (Tarahumaras) do in their ancient near barefoot running huarache sandals. As the barefoot movement has grown, so have the options for your running.
One company, Xero Shoes, offers a wide variety of barefoot running with minimalist sandals and shoes. Our favorite would be the Speed Force or their best-selling Prio for competitive running. Don't take our word for it, though the United States Swimming Team also wears Xero Shoes.
What are the benefits of barefoot running?
One of the key components of running barefoot has been increased strength and agility. Barefoot running is believed to promote muscle growth and enhance your proprioceptors, allowing your feed to function better in running activities with increased body awareness. Other benefits can include:
- Reduction of overall injuries
- Increased strength of your gait and feet
Barefoot running forces natural/correct running techniques
Everything you need to know about Barefoot Shoes
A minimalist/barefoot shoes are typically lighter shoes that can be rolled into a ball without resistance. A minimalist shoe will have "zero-drop" along with less than 10mm thickness. This allows the runner to have a natural experience.
Compare that to a "traditional/modern running shoe' that will have thick heel cushion/support and stiff soles. Modern shoes promote unnatural heal strike motions. While claiming to provide "arch support," a traditional running shoe will lower the natural muscles and proprioception growth of your feet.
Numerous brands such as:
- Xero Shoes
- Vivo Barefoot
- Vibram Five Finger
- New Balance
- Body Glove
- Barefoot Ted
All carry a minimalist running shoe, but we highly recommend Xero Shoes due to the variety and number of options that closely mimic true barefoot running.
Yes, the Tarahum has proven for generations the ability to run in minimalist sandals for ultra marathons without the typical modern injuries we have grown accustomed to expecting. Further, there is evidence that authentic minimalist running shoes can help with chronic knee issues because minimalist shoes promote natural toe to heel running motion compared to modern shoes creating a heel strike when running.