Over the past few years, there has been a trend in the running world toward minimalistic shoes. A minimalistic shoe is defined as a shoe that allows the foot to function as close to its natural state as possible. They are generally manufactured with less cushioning and support – overall much less material than standard running shoes.
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There are two primary reasons for this trend. Firstly, the minimalistic shoe is lighter. The energy saved from this decreased weight can ideally be used towards running – not carrying a heavy shoe. Secondly, functioning with “less shoe” can theoretically promote increased strength, balance, and overall biomechanics. The idea is to allow our feet to do most of the work and rely less on the shoe.
But with such a wide range of foot types, the minimalistic shoes may work against you as well. Some people require more support and/or cushioning in order to function at a pain-free, injury-free level.
It is important to remember that running shoes are constantly changing from year to year and one shoe is not necessarily best for everyone. To find the best shoe for you and your feet, a thorough biomechanical exam by a knowledgeable foot and ankle physician may be necessary. Selecting the appropriate shoe is a crucial step in accommodating different foot types and avoiding injuries.