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So, has anyone tried "minimalist" running shoes?

(12 Posts)
oohdaddypig Wed 29-Aug-12 21:09:15

Just getting back into running after a few years out being pg etc.

Used to swear by Saucony Omnis. Running shop tells me minimalist shoes are all the rage now...but you have to change your running style and ease into them.

Any thoughts/recommendations? I'm an overpronator with high arches so a bit sceptical.

oohdaddypig Wed 29-Aug-12 21:10:27

DUH the title should read "minimalist" running shoes.. what is UP with my computer...

LurcioLovesFrankie Wed 29-Aug-12 21:33:11

I've opted for a sort of half-way approach. I've consciously tried to change my running style to more of a forefoot-strike (which is knackering, ups my cadence quite a lot, but does feel a lot less plodding). I'm running in Saucony Fastwitch at the mo - they're a racing flat and recommended as a don't-want-to-go-all_way alternative to vibram 5 fingers. They weight about half what my old New Balance trainers did, and have much lower heels. The one downside I've experienced (which is talked about in some books/websites) is shinsplints - had a month out, trying to build back up. It's worth googling the Harvard barefoot running site - a lot more balanced and less hyped than "Born to Run" (very clear that there just isn't statistically robust evidence that barefoot=less injury, just as a running st evidence that barefoot=different force profile through the stride). I'm sticking with it because it just feels a lot less clumsy style.

LurcioLovesFrankie Wed 29-Aug-12 21:35:45

Should add it's important not to do more than about a mile at a time of forefoot strike running to start with (you can do the rest of the run using a heel-strike if that's what you're used to). All the websites, from scientific through to messianic, agree you mustn't overdo it to start with. Take about 6-8 weeks to build up gradually from there.

JRsandCoffee Sun 02-Sep-12 12:26:48

Hello, before being pregnant I ran in a pair of Vibram 5 fingers. I walked in them before I ran - so walked the dog etc, wore them to the supermarket (funny looks galore...) and round the house for a few weeks and then just wore them out on shortish runs before putting together longer ones. I must say though that at this point I wasn't running more than 5/6 miles and mostly cross country so couldn't comment for just on road running re shock etc. I was very aware that you overdo it in them at your peril at the start as you can do quite a lot of damage. But I do absolutely love them and my friend who I used to run with commented on how much lighter on my feet I was in them and how much bouncier I seemed and indeed how miserable I looked one very soggy day when I reverted to my normal trainers!! I also suffered terribly in normal trainers with sore muscles no matter how much stretching down I did and this was much much less of an issue in the five fingers.

I'm not a very techy runner although did manage a half marathon in 2hrs 5 on first attempt so not that much of a slouch despite lack of style. Getting into the barefoot thing I just did what felt right and found that my body naturally experimented with stride etc and how different ways of moving felt through my whole body/ joints. Any attempt to try and think of toe/ heel strike would panic my pea like brain to the extent that I'd be a nettle stung hedge ornament in minutes if I tried to analyse what my heels and toes were doing as I was going along so if that also applies to you I'd run with the take it easy and try and listen to what your body is telling you re different ways of running.

Off to the supermarket.....they are by the front door, how tempted am I with my big baby bump??? Wondering if they might actually be quite comfy for fat lady?? But then don't want to irreprably stretch them.......mmmmmm

oohdaddypig Fri 07-Sep-12 20:56:03

thanks lurcio and JR. that's really helpful.

I know exactly what you mean about "plodding" - I feel like such a plodder at the moment - still in my Saucony Omnis. The new style of running looks exhausting but I'm quite excited about it - shall report back...

JR - you have a big bump - ANY shoes are allowed! congratulations. I think I would overthink changing my stride - I'm not v coordinated - so will bear in mind just letting it happen.

thanks again

bigbuttons Fri 07-Sep-12 20:59:18

I can only run in vibram 5 fingers, can't do normal shoes. If you use them you must must start off slowly.

holmessweetholmes Thu 13-Sep-12 21:12:37

I changed to a forefoot strike after having foot trouble (possible stress fracture). It really improved my running and I've had no foot trouble since. More recently I switched to minimalist shoes (saucony kinvara). I find them generally very good, but my arches (which are quite high) ache a bit after longer runs. Incidentally, if you are interested in the minimalist running style, 'Born to Run' by Christopher McDougall is really worth a read.

holmessweetholmes Thu 13-Sep-12 21:14:21

Oh, forgot to add... completely agree with everyone else about changing slowly. Forefoot strike is very tough on your calves and achilles until you're used to it.

Abzs Sun 16-Sep-12 12:22:15

I would agree with the advice to change over gradually. I've always used fairly minimal shoes as I only run off road; hill/fell running shoes tend to be designed that way.

However, in changing from my regular Walshes and Inov8s to the Merrell Pace Glove I can really feel it in my calves. I think I overdid it first time out and am going to have to be a bit more careful.

oohdaddypig Fri 21-Sep-12 21:37:05

thanks for additional comments. just thought I'd post an update.

I've run about 4 times in the new shoes now - now up to 20 minutes at a time. they do feel good - I'm w-a-y less achey than in my other shoes (bearing in mind I'm still not "running fit"). not entirely sure I'm doing the stride quite right, might have a look at that book.

sometimes it feels like I'm raising my knees higher as a result - looks quite oodd! at least the nights are drawing in and I can run in the dark.

if only they invented shoes that stopped me peeing when I run (9 months since baby and it ain't improving)

cheers for comments.

Meglet Sat 22-Sep-12 12:40:16

Those that use Vibrams, do they rub or stretch much? If I can save up then I will make a special trip to a running shop to try some. I'm just terrified of wasting money on a pair that hurt within a few days.

I don't run much, the odd 30 mins here and there, but I think my body would prefer the 'bare feet' feel.

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