trying not to open a can o' worms; runners, anyone using minimalist shoes?

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  • trying not to open a can o' worms; runners, anyone using minimalist shoes?
  • i’m currently running in mizuno wave inspires which i do like, but before xmas i bought some inov 8 talon 212 with a 6mm drop which to me run better. even on road they feel great.

    so i’m toying with getting some inov 8 road-x 255, 9mm drop, and giving them a go. hoping it will give me a bit better running form and possibly help with the little bit of runners knee i’m trying to sort.

    so anyone gone minimalist and had a good experience?

    Premier Icon molgrips
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    Me.

    I’m using New Balance Minimus almost exclusively, and my other shoes are Innov8 somethingorother trail shoes with a 0mm drop.

    The main reason for looking for these shoes was because I wanted to try running without a heel, to allow my tendons and muscles to act as shock absorbers. The theory (in my head) being that the could give me back some of the energy absorbed from my landing, instead of having it dissipated in cushioning.

    Not sure if that’s worked, but now I run nicely on my mid or forefoot and I’m happy. On the upside the NBs are very light, all other shoes seem like weights now. Downsides for those particular shoes are that there are no insoles so I get the odd blister now and then if I don’t use cushy enough socks.

    Using the flat shoes has really helped my form I think. I’m far lighter on my feet and I can really feel my feet working and moving, which is a nice feeling. Cushioned shoes now feel like trying to play the piano in boxing gloves.

    Normal cushioned heeled shoes feel awful now, can’t stand to run in them.

    EDIT this is all on road btw.

    Premier Icon stever
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    I have the 212s and can’t imagine using them on the road! If you get on alright with them, 255s seem a reasonable option (they describe them as transitional rather than full on zealot). Can be had cheap too.

    Premier Icon zilog6128
    Subscriber

    so anyone gone minimalist and had a good experience?

    Not so much “gone minimalist” as never used anything else, since I only started running a few years ago and I went straight for them. I get on very well with them.

    I should mention that I “learnt” to run using the Chi-running system (similar to POSE I think) but even though I thought I was doing it properly, I had a few sessions with a Chi-running coach who filmed me running. Turns out I was still heel-striking most of the time even though I was trying to mid-strike (and thought I was!) But the coach gave me some good pointers and a video at the end of the second session showed a massive difference. (I think the point of that little ramble is that zero-drop shoes won’t automatically make you toe/mid-strike).

    I prefer to think of the main benefit as being the lack of drop rather than specifically just having a “minimal” sole/padding although these do tend to go hand-in-hand.

    FWIW the only people (and I know a few!) who have become injured through using zero-drop/minimalist shoes are existing runners who have swapped over but just kept up their regular mileage rather than cutting back and working up gradually.

    edit: most of my running, especially longer runs, is on trails. I have done a lot of shorter runs on pavement though and have found the shoes fine for that too.

    emsz
    Member

    It varies. I use F195 from Innov8 for fast work ( track days) and Kenyan hills and wot not. For longer runs 2 hours or more I use a pair of normal Adidas cos I can never concentrate about what my foot is doing and I’m all over the place, normal shoes just mean I don’t have to think about it.

    It’s interesting, lots of people in my club tried minimal shoes, lots have gone back to regular running shoes apart from stuff like X country or track stuff

    Premier Icon footflaps
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    I’ve been using a pair of these:

    had a few problems with shin splints, but I reckon I can just train through it……

    I did, and got on very well with them for 8-9 months. I subsequently had big problems with my Achilles’ tendons. This developed as I began increasing my distance above 5 miles when training for the GNR. I don’t know if the shoes contributed or not to be honest. I think it was the distance, because if it were the shoes wouldn’t it have occurred sooner?

    Premier Icon MSP
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    I have various saucony running shoes with the 4mm drop, still with some cushioning so not minimalist as generally pecieved by most. The low drop really works for me.

    I also wear merrell barefoot shoes most of the time when not doing sports. They do some quite acceptable leather ones that are fine for work etc. Since I have been wearing them I think it has improved my general posture, and I certainly get less calf tightness than I used to. Feels odd when I wear shoes with a normal heel now.

    Premier Icon cliffyc
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    I use Merrell Trail Gloves 0mm Drop,felt odd when I first got them but you acclimatise (odd “rocked-back” feel).I wear with Sealskinz socks if wet.I would not recommend them to anyone with a history of knee/leg pain though as there is little shock absorption.

    djglover
    Member

    I can’t get on with inov8 road shoes, although I can run 20+ miles in x-talon 212 on the fells. I did try running with the road ones 255 I think…but kept getting posterior tibial tendinitis. I now use New Balance baddeley 890 and they have a similar drop but more support on the inside meaning no issues. Really good road shoe, the best I have ever tried

    Premier Icon ahwiles
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    (I’ve got wide feet)

    new balance minimus: i like them, but a few of the sharper stones do sting a bit, they’re grippy, but not fell-mud-spike grippy.

    new balance 101’s: i like them, they’re more ‘protected’ than the minimuses, and a bit grippier, they move around on my feet a bit though – not ideal.

    walshes: i’d like to like them, but the heel is too wide, and the toe-box too narrow, even though i’ve got a ‘wide fit’ pair. When it’s proper filthy i wear them for the grip – but they’ll be going straight in the bin if when they fall off in a bog again.

    i’ve had inov8’s, but they eat my feet.

    i’d like something with the ‘hold’ of a minimus (enough but not too much), the protection of a 101 (enough but not too much), and the grip of a walsh (loads and loads)

    cynic-al
    Member

    I started road running 3 years ago on std 12mm built up asics, after 18 months & 2 marathons, tried some Gel lyte 33s (I think), 6mm drop, much lighter, but still encourage heel-first, which just feels wrong to me.

    I have some Skechers go-runs i got cheap on SP and they are my favourites. 4mm drop I think, and a firmer mid-sole (under the arch) which encourages mid/front stroke.

    Not sure what I’ll try next, will depend if I get into trial running after my next marathon, which I suspect will be my last serious one.

    mogrim
    Member

    I also wear merrell barefoot shoes most of the time when not doing sports. They do some quite acceptable leather ones that are fine for work etc. Since I have been wearing them I think it has improved my general posture, and I certainly get less calf tightness than I used to. Feels odd when I wear shoes with a normal heel now.

    I’ve been thinking about getting some of these for work, you’d recommend them then?

    The model I’ve been looking at is by Vivobarefoot rather than Merrel, but I suppose it’s basically the same.

    Premier Icon zilog6128
    Subscriber

    I’ve been thinking about getting some of these for work, you’d recommend them then?

    The model I’ve been looking at is by Vivobarefoot rather than Merrel, but I suppose it’s basically the same.
    I got some of those Vivo leather shoes when they were cheap on SP, don’t really like the fit. It’s a lot different to the Merrell Trail Gloves (which I use for running). YMMV

    Since I have been wearing them I think it has improved my general posture, and I certainly get less calf tightness than I used to. Feels odd when I wear shoes with a normal heel now.

    I either wear no shoes (when at home) or zero-drop shoes (mainly Converse All-Stars or “minimalist” shoes) when out or at work.

    Wearing a shoe with a heel seems a bit odd now to me too. I wonder who decided that was a good thing and why the idea took hold. I mean, it’s fine for strippers/hookers, but everybody else?

    karnali
    Member

    run in nb with a i think a 6mm drop and some merrel bare access which are 0 drop but have 4 mm of cushioning on whole sole, short runs once a week in merrel others in the nb, like them both, have a pair of inovate’s for races as they are very light but i think hav alimited lifespan

    Premier Icon MSP
    Subscriber

    I wonder who decided that was a good thing and why the idea took hold

    iirc heels were just used by Spanish horse riders to aid positioning in the stirrup. From there it just spread to be a fashion.

    cheers guys. the inov8s are 40quid posted so worth a punt then i think. i can get the 233 for a few quid more, but although the same 6mm drop as the talons i’m thinking its best to go easy into it. i can always get the 233 in the summer as race shoes.

    the talons and the minimal thing interested me because on a recent longish run of the moors we ended up with a 2mile road run to the end. normally when i’m nailed my head goes down and i get really heavy on the heels but for whatever reason i had non of that.

    for what its worth i don’t run huge mileage weekly. generally one club 10k a week at reasonable pace depending on who i try to keep up with, two speed sessions (one on 3g surface) and a bit of short blast interval running at my weekly circuits. then maybe another one or two 30 – 40mins easy pace runs on my own.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    (I think the point of that little ramble is that zero-drop shoes won’t automatically make you toe/mid-strike)

    I think that they would make it difficult to heel strike a lot though. The consensus seems to be that a slight heel strike isn’t a big deal.

    EDIT well.. actually, it’s the amount of cushioning altogether. So a zero drop shoe could still have lots of cushioning at both ends…

    dragon
    Member

    Cushioned minimalist shoes are great. Personally I’d recommend looking at something from Saucony’s range, the Kinavara or Mirage are good shoes and seem popular with the 40-45min 10k crowd at races I’ve done. I also wouldn’t rule out Nike they have some decent looking minimal shoes. 9mm drop Innov-8s seem too stacked to me I’d look at something else in their range with less drop if you are really keen on the brand.

    I wouldn’t touch Merrell’s for proper running due to lack of cushioning, plus I’ve never seen anyone at a race in a pair. (NB: I have plenty of Merrell casual shoes, so not anti the brand).

    mogrim
    Member

    I wouldn’t touch Merrell’s for proper running due to lack of cushioning, plus I’ve never seen anyone at a race in a pair. (NB: I have plenty of Merrell casual shoes, so not anti the brand).

    I’ve seen a fair few, only trail though. I’m not sure I’d want to use them extensively on tarmac.

    Pieface
    Member

    The grip on the Inov8 road shoes is rubbish.

    Premier Icon ahwiles
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    dragon – Member

    Cushioned minimalist shoes are …

    … kinda missing the point.

    Settled after some experiment on a compromise

    Asics DS trainers and DS racers. Mainly the former, but the latter for something really short.

    I use Innov8 baregrip 200. I only run on muddy/boggy hills and they are great. I only run for an hour or so at a time though, and only twice a week. They do not have a midsole so here is zero padding and zero drop.
    I guess the soft ground is a lot more forgiving, as they give me no problems.
    On the odd occasion I run on harder ground I use f-lite195. They seem good too.

    I bought some vivobarefoot Ra shoes for everyday use. They are 100% my favourire shoe ever, and I do not really like any of my other casual shoes now. These are about the thinnest sole I have seen so maybe they have helped me get used to the whole zero drop/no padding?

    surfer
    Member

    I dont run in minimalist shoes. In fact I dont know what they are as the definition appears to change per thread! Is it the same as barefoot running, you know the one where you buy expensive shoes?
    All of my mates who are various standards up to international are oblivious to the fuss from what I can see.
    I have concluded that it is just a marketing gimmick so doesnt really apply to me.

    jambourgie
    Member

    I’ve been running for about nine years. Up till about two weeks ago I used an old pair of Nike Air Max that I had at the time. I ran in them until they literally fell apart. I then glued them back together until they finally gave up the ghost. I couldn’t find another pair anywhere, apart from in the private collections of US rappers 😀 . And the amount of conflicting advice around what trainers to wear for running was just confusing so I thought I’d just do something completely different and try the five-finger jobbies.

    Two weeks in and I think they’re great! I’m not running as far because it’s actually harder (not having big air sacks on your feet probably). And the weather means your toes are wet and freezing, but I’m noticing strength in my toes, which actually move now, and working muscles I didn’t even know I had. And I’m bloody knackered when I get back 😮

    I think they force you to run correctly because it bloody hurts if you smash your heel down first. To be honest, when I first started running I used to pound down with my heel and soon started getting pain in my knees, so changed to a more mid/outer sole strike early on. Hence I think the change to barefoot wasn’t that strange for me. Different for everyone though…

    alaslas
    Member

    Mirage 2s were my first proper road running shoes and they’re very good too, though they feel clompy against my NB MT110s. The latter are about as close as I’m going to barefoot. On the roads without proper conditioning of the foot, leg and ankle they hurt, frankly. Amazing off road though.

    You can run properly in any kind of shoe but the ‘minimalist’ low heel-toe drop ones make heel striking more problematic. However, I can also vouch for the strain they put on the achilles. Flat shoes should be standard really. Save the cushioning and pronation support for marathons.

    gt900uk
    Member

    Got back in to running and was having issues with knee/ankle and hip pain. Got a set of vivobarefoot neo’s and am now mid foot striking and having no issues with the pain I was having so have found the change to be great.

    Premier Icon zilog6128
    Subscriber

    surfer and his mates discussing the relative merits of minimalist shoes:

    Premier Icon molgrips
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    I have concluded that it is just a marketing gimmick so doesnt really apply to me.

    Not really. Whatever the ‘minimalist’ term might mean, and however different the shoes are to each other, there is a difference between them and heavily padded ‘normal’ shoes ie the more common kind.

    dragon
    Member

    dragon – Member
    Cushioned minimalist shoes are …

    … kinda missing the point.

    Nope I’m not, cushioning isn’t a bad thing it’s how it’s laid up. As my understanding goes minimalist shoes offer cushioning but with small heel-toe height differences, a slightly more sturdy race day shoe if you like. You have to be mental to run on stone pavements with no cushioning. I don’t care how good your form is, some protection from jarring is a good thing.

    Premier Icon molgrips
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    Some offer cushioning, some don’t. However I’m sure almost all offer little cushioning, much less than normal shoes.

    One other thing I notice is that my minimal shoes have a wide toe box so my toes can move around and work, like jambourgie above.

    Premier Icon ahwiles
    Subscriber

    You have to be mental to run on stone pavements with no cushioning.

    i’ve got LOADS of cushioning in my feet+ankles+knees, it adds up to inches worth.

    much more than the 1/2″ of squidge you get from even the softest ‘cushioned’ shoes.

    jarring

    you’re doing it wrong.

    Premier Icon zilog6128
    Subscriber

    i’ve got LOADS of cushioning in my feet+ankles+knees, it adds up to inches worth.

    bollocks, you’ll be telling us it’s possible to ride off a kerb without 6″ of travel next

    Premier Icon ahwiles
    Subscriber

    nah, you’d die, instantly.

    piemonster
    Member

    Zero drop shoes make my knees explode.

    Admittedly not literally.

    They work for some, not others. My happy balance is a 6mm drop.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    In what way did they hurt? Curious, as I never had knee pain (not unless you count the whatsit ganglion thingy on the outside irritated by ITB, but that happened regardless of shoe), for me it was more instep and achilles taking a battering.

    piemonster
    Member

    Swelling, with developing ache shifting into pain around the outside of the knees.

    If I shift to a ‘light’ tap on the heel then go into a largely(to what I perceive)mid foot strike I can run all day.

    the teaboy
    Member

    I have 11mm drop on my road shoes and 6mm on various pairs of off-road shoes. It’s not something that particularly bothers me as I’m reasonably efficient and run with a neutral, midfoot style.

    I guess those who will see benefits would tend to be those with big potential efficiency gains? For me, it may be a way of tempting me to part with my money…

    Ro5ey
    Member

    Minimalist is sooo 2010 …. it’s all about MAXI shoes now.

    Get with the program

    http://runnow.eu/2014/02/shoes-gear/12-facts-about-maximalist-shoes_2449

    Or

    Just get out and run

    Premier Icon molgrips
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    I guess those who will see benefits would tend to be those with big potential efficiency gains?

    Certainly the case with me 🙂

    surfer
    Member

    there is a difference between them and heavily padded ‘normal’ shoes ie the more common kind.

    Ahh the old straw man!

    not unless you count the whatsit ganglion thingy on the outside irritated by ITB, but that happened regardless of shoe

    How many shoes did you try? Also did you develop the injury then try a different shoe? Bit like “opportunity cost” really. Once you have done one thing you cant go back and change it can you?

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    Oh give me a break.

    You know what I mean. Most ‘normal’ running shoes, that you will see around Docklands at lunchtime being worn by recreational 9m30 runners, are well padded. That’s what I mean by ‘normal’ shoes. But enough of that.

    How many shoes did you try?

    I’ve owned and run lots in 4 pairs of shoes and always had the problem. The symptoms never changed. Foam rollering solved it.

    surfer
    Member

    You know what I mean. Most ‘normal’ running shoes, that you will see around Docklands at lunchtime being worn by recreational 9m30 runners, are well padded. That’s what I mean by ‘normal’ shoes. But enough of that.

    Except that you seem to want it both ways. You try to create this image of a “normal” “heavily padded” shoe etc and whilst there are excessively padded shoes with large heels and thick midsolses there are also much flatter shoes and these shoes have been around for as long as I can remember (and I have been running competitively for over 30 years!)
    You are the victim of a fad. If you want the shoes you describe there are lots of them around and there always have been.

    I’ve owned and run lots in 4 pairs of shoes and always had the problem

    Thats not a fair sample

    Also what happened to “barefoot” running. or have they all died of Tetanus?

    Premier Icon ahwiles
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    so, it’s a fad, but they’ve been around for ages.

    so, which is it?

    🙂

    “heavily padded”

    the shoes you describe there are lots of them around and there always have been.

    molgrips uses minimus, they’re about as padded as a plimsoll – only much wider, and with a usefull grip.

    i guess he doesn’t care* if they’re a ‘new’ idea or not, he likes them – is that ok with you?

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