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Transitioning to minimalism

posted almost 6 years ago | Report

I really want to make the transition to minimal (and eventually barefoot) running. I tried using 5-fingers a while back, and I think I just did too much too fast. I couldn't walk like a normal person for days since my calves were so sore. I know that some soreness is expected, but this was the likes of which I've never experienced in my life.

I'm thinking of getting some "in-between" shoes to start the transition. Any suggestions? I'm currently wearing Asics Nimbus, I have a very high arch, and I actually supinate. I have had problems with plantar's fasciitis in the past, and I don't want that to become an issue again, so I'm looking to take the transition super slowly.

Any advice would be awesome, and feel free to FR me, I'm always looking for more motivation, advice, and support!


  • I've been testing the waters with a few different types. I really like my Brooks PureConnects, though they are somewhat tight across the top of my foot, so they may bug your arch. You might want to consider Saucony Kinvaras--they are a good transitional shoe w/a 4mm drop, but still decent cushioning in the heel. I have a pair that I enjoyed quite a bit. They have a wider toe box than I'm used to with my Nike LunarGlides, but were a fair bit lighter. They were not especially durable, but I think would be just right as a transitional shoe. In any regard, work into minimalism very gradually or you will likely experience that excruciating calf pain more often. Each spring, I try to spend some time running barefoot on the grass at local tracks to help add variety to my training--it helps building up to minimalism, too.

    posted almost 6 years ago

  • Jessie, my feet are just about the opposite from yours (I have almost no arch and I pronate) so the shoes I like might not feel good for you. I run mostly in in-between shoes (Brooks PureFlow, Saucony Mirage, Mizuno Wave Musha) and I do about 1 run per week in 5-Fingers - usually an easy run of 3 to 4 miles.

    I actually started with the 5-Fingers rather than an in-between shoes, but I went very gradually. I started by walking and hiking in the 5-Fingers, then I added running. I would run in other shoes, then change into the 5-Fingers and do a quarter mile. Same thing the next week but I'd up to a half mile in the 5-Fingers. And so on.

    I used to run in motion control shoes and in those days I had a lot of hip pain and shin splints. Don't have much of either of those now, though whether it's changing to more minimal shoe or just having trained longer and been smarter about it, I can't say. I do like the way it feels to run in 5-Fingers and lightweight sneakers - it just feels more fun to me.

    posted almost 6 years ago

  • Hi Jessie! I am very similar to you with high arches and supination. I used to run in Brooks Adrenaline but about 6 months ago I won a pair of Sketchers GoRuns at a running club raffle and I tried them out. I am in LOVE with the Sketchers GoRun shoes! They are incredibly light and promote the mid-foot strike. My husband runs in Vibram 5 fingers and sometimes even totally barefoot but I never had the desire to do that. The GoRuns have a decent amount of cushion, they are not zero drop but are designed to move you toward a mid-foot run. After I started using them, when I would wear my Brooks, I felt like I had 10lbs on my feet! I actually got a second pair to leave at work for use at the gym. The other nice thing about the sketchers is that they are moderately priced at $80 and I have been able to buy them for as low as $55 online with a coupon. You may want to give them a try.

    posted almost 6 years ago

  • regardless of what shoe you choose it wont protect you from TMTS...

    I run in a whole variety, including actual barefeet, just need to make sure you dont over do it.

    posted almost 6 years ago

  • Glad you asked this question! I've been wanting to do the same thing. I have a pair of Merrell Barefoot Dash Gloves on the way to me. They are a 0mm drop shoe, so I plan to start veeery slowly with them. I'm currently running in Asics as well, but would love to get a lower heel drop shoe to use when I'm not practicing with the Merrells.

    posted almost 6 years ago

  • Gotta say, Newton Sir Isaac's seem to fit what you're after Jessie. They're designed to aid transition to a natural style.

    I've run in Newtons for about 5 years now in total - I wish I'd had the Isaac's back when I started. Newton also have some great running form videos which are worth watching whether you buy into them or not..

    I did get some Brooks Pure Grit's at the start of winter (I love trails) but didn't get on with them so well. Ended up with a new pair of Newt Momentus' instead (they're like offroad Issac's a bit).

    posted almost 6 years ago

  • A friend of mine owns a shop called Distance Runwear in Vancouver... he has a little video segment showing some of the brands of shoes that are good for transitioning...

    posted almost 6 years ago

  • The following is by no means backed by scientific studies or in any way proven to be correct. It is by my personal experience (been minimal running for three years) and should be taken with that in mind:
    I NEVER used a transitional shoe. Just ease in to it. You are right in that you probably did too much too fast, as I also jumped right in to Vibrams and experienced calf pain. What I learned to do was to wear my Vibrams on easy, short recovery days, and only those days. I stuck to my regular shoes for all my other runs. Eventually, I increased the distance, and over time have been able to make them my primary shoe. I do still take some breaks from them and wear my secondary shoe (now a minimal shoe as well).
    The biggest thing I have learned from minimal shoes over the past year or two is the drop. It's not necessarily about wearing as little as possible, but to train you to run properly on you mid to forefoot. A zero drop shoe will help you do that. There are zero drop shoes that have cushioning that will allow that. I personally believe that all they hype with minimal shoes in mis-focused. It's all about form and stride. Minimal shoes do help you achieve that.
    With your high arch, I would definitely be careful to ease in to minimal running, but the benefits will be amazing. The stronger your feet become over time, your arches will actually drop slightly (in a good way, and your feet MAY actually increase in size) and with a newer, more proper form, the supination should go away. With strong feet, the plantar fasciitis should go away as well.
    Long story short, go for it, but listen to yourself. You start getting tight or not feeling right, back off. Keep those calves stretched and treat yourself to self foot massages!

    posted almost 6 years ago

  • I went from 12 ounce shoes to 7.5 ounce gradually. I never will do barefoot. Lots of injuries are coming out with too fast transition. It takes 8 months to a year to get into barefoot.

    posted almost 6 years ago

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