Barefoot running shoes may appear to be an oxymoron, but as barefoot running has grown in popularity in recent years, so have barefoot or minimalist shoes. So, what exactly are they, how do they benefit you, and which ones are best for you?
If you've heard about barefoot running and want to give it a try, you'll need to get your hands on a pair of minimalist shoes. Complete barefoot running may appear ideal in your head, but your feet aren't used to being so near to the ground, and it can be risky and uncomfortable. When you consider the number of potential risks on running routes that could cause injury to your feet, it's easy to see why some type of protection is required. Fortunately, you may enjoy all of the benefits of barefoot running while still ensuring that your feet are appropriately protected by using minimalist shoes.
What exactly are barefoot shoes?
Minimalist or barefoot training shoes are not the same as traditional running shoes, and many people say that transitioning away from traditional running shoes has had positive effects on their health. In recent history there has been a trend towards adding more arch support as well as orthotics to help alleviate problems, but doing so also tends to reduce the natural muscle development in feet that comes with going barefoot. Wearing barefoot shoes contributes to building back the muscles in the feet which in the long run will help to resolve problems.
Different Styles of shoes
While there are varying definitions depending on where you look and who you ask, generally speaking, this is what is widely accepted.
Minimalist running shoes
These are barefoot shoes that typically may still have some level of heel to toe drop as well as some level of cushion in them, somewhat of a hybrid between traditional shoes and true barefoot shoes.
Barefoot running shoes
These are true barefoot shoes that are primarily distinguished by a "zero drop" from the heel to the toe, whereas traditional running shoes have a 10-12mm drop from heel to toe. In other words, they are flat just as if you are walking barefoot. They're made to give you the most genuine barefoot running experience possible.
They have relatively thin bottoms that are only designed to protect the feet from risks on the running surface. Ultimately, this is the type of shoe that will give the most overall barefoot benefit. For many people it is recommended to ease into them and not overdue it in the very beginning, sticking to shorter walks and runs to help the muscles in your feet to adjust. Many people find that in a short period of time they can wear barefoot shoes for as long as they want whether they are running or doing just about anything else be it indoors or outdoors.
For barefoot runners, lightweight minimalist running shoes have become increasingly fashionable. Despite the fact that they find running shoes to be uncomfortable and stiff, it is difficult to run entirely barefoot in contemporary society due to the dangers of running surfaces. Barefoot running shoes, on the other hand, give you the natural and free experience of running barefoot while also protecting you from the elements.
Keywords: barefoot shoes, barefoot running shoes, barefoot training sh
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