I became interested in minimalist running shoes after reading Born to Run by Christopher McDougall.
If you haven’t had the chance to read it, it is well worth your time. You can pick up a copy here: http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/Born-Run-Christopher-McDougall/9780307279187
Born to Run is an adventure story that began with one simple question: Why does my foot hurt? In search of the answer, Christopher McDougall sets off to find a tribe of the world's greatest distance runners and learn their secrets, and in the process shows us that everything we thought we knew about running is wrong.
Apart from being an amazing read, McDougall’s theory is that cushioned shoes are what is actually leading to all of these running injuries.
Every year, anywhere from 65 to 80 per cent of all runners suffer an injury. No matter who you are, or how much you run, your odds of getting hurt are the same. It doesn't matter if you're male or female, fast or slow, pudgy or taut as a racehorse, your feet are still in the danger zone.
When you aren’t wearing shoes your feet take in the different sensations of striking the ground. Try running barefoot and landing on your heal. It’s painful! But, your running style will actually adjust so you land properly. But when you are wearing cushioned shoes, you don’t get those sensations. You can land on your heel as much as you want and you don’t get any pain.
Here’s a great video to show you the difference:
You’d think that would mean the debate is over - it is clear we shouldn’t be running in cushioned shoes and instead should be running in minimalist running shoes.
But what’s fascinating is for 2014 some people are predicting a new trend in running to be maximalist running shoes (http://www.theaustralian.com.au/executive-living/moving-on-up/story-e6frg9zo-1226808908867).
It will be very interesting to see if people move away from minimalist shoes and towards maximalist shoes.
Let us know which side you’re on.