The barefoot running phenomenon is hogwash. The Army told me so.
The barefoot running phenomenon is hogwash. The Army told me so.
So the benefit of the minimalist shoes is basically that they cause pain when you take a long stride and lead with your heel. Barefoot running and minimalist shoes force you to run differently, in a way that is healthier for your joints.
Quote from the army article [emphasis added]: "A minimalist running shoe is extremely flexible and low to the ground to create the sensation of barefoot running. By running in a shoe with minimal cushioning, most runners will naturally reduce their stride length to avoid landing painfully on their uncushioned heel. This change in running form reduces initial joint impact and promotes a return to what some consider a more natural foot motion."
The fact is that we can accomplish this same change in most of our regular shoes. And, it is worth mentioning that this would only benefit to those of us who had poor form, leading with their heels and causing excess wear on joints.
This makes sense to me, as I have hated shoes with a large, square heel. It explains why a pair of Sketchers boots that I bought for a job years ago hit the donation bin very quickly: they were flat throughout the bottom and the sole was too stiff, so they promoted an unhealthy heel-first stride.
All that said, I cannot share in so many others gleeful endorsement of barefoot running, True shoes, or minimalist footwear. Like most equipment, it is not the product you buy, but how you use it. There are some well-known terrible shoes (Chuck Taylors, flip-flops, construction boots, etc.) that should come with a warning label that they will cause pain. Plus, there are some more recent (last 5-7 years?) developments in golf footwear that seem unhelpful: making a thick sole and prominent heel (many of the Adidas and Nike "moon shoes").
If you need shoes, just stay away from flat and square, and don't get moon shoes. Everyone else can't go wrong with learning a bit about how to stride properly and forming the best habits. (Of course, nobody stands to profit from promoting a healthy running stride.) That is all.
I don't know if I'd go so far as to say it causes pain - I can run barefoot and heel strike without pain - but most people will almost naturally NOT run that way because it's slightly less comfortable, slightly less efficient, slightly less "the way our bodies evolved to be used."
Barefoot running and minimalist shoes gently "force" you to run differently, and a bit more healthy, yes.
You can, yes, but it's a good bit more difficult. It's easier in minimalist shoes, and of course even if you can land on the mid-foot with a "modern" shoe then you're still missing out on the strengthening of the muscles in your feet and calves.
Geometrically speaking, it's not as easy when the shoe has a large heel drop, because the added padding in the heel increases the likelihood of a heel-first landing.
But yes, I agree in general with your post, and just wanted to contribute a little bit to this.
And to make sure we're not talking just about running, note that when you walk a heel first landing is the natural movement. It's kind of awkward to force fore-foot landing. It's even awkward (less so than fore-foot) to force a mid-foot strike when walking. But still, shoes like the TRUE or other "non-structured, flat, wide, flexible" shoes with a bit less padding will work, while walking, to increase foot strength.
I don't know Erik. I used to work with a guy who was on UC track team who ran bare footed. I understand that our feet were built well but I'm not exactly an athlete. My arches kill without "support" shoes. I kind of think I was made to not run. Is it less correct to run heel first? That is how I feel the least impact and least effort, particularly on the long runs.
Perhaps your arches kill because they've been weakened by "supportive" shoes. I don't think anyone should transition to walking around in shoes or barefooted right away, but you can start out slowly and take it gradually.
This thread isn't about running, so I've not responded to those comments. Hope that's okay.
Thanks for the tip! The True Linkswear site looked too pricey for me, but that might be more doable.
Also, as a fellow tifoso, I must give kudos for the great username!
Looks like along with Nike, Adidas is taking notice and just announced their own "natural" shoe.
I have been keeping a close eye on the Nike Free shoe that is supposed to be coming out at some point. After this review I decided to check out the True shoes. I wanted to try them in person so I went to the PGA Superstore since they were the closest place that had them in stock. I tried them out and bought a pair. They are extremely comfortable. I went to the driving range yesterday with them and I am really happy. They seem to have as much grip as normal soft spike shoes. I can't wait to walk 18 in them and see if how my feet feel. My other golf shoes hurt my feet after about 9 holes. A couple of things:
- Living in Arizona and not having a work dress code, I wear sandals all the time from April to November. You can't wear socks with sandals, you just can't :) so during the colder months I wear shoes. Lately my arches have been really sore everyday. I was thinking I needed more arch support, but after wearing the True shoes for about 10 hours yesterday I think the opposite might be the case. My feet are used to no support and the shoes I am wearing lately are too constricting. My feet felt better after wearing the True shoes for half a day.
- For those of you wanting to order on-line the sizes seem to be right on. I almost always wear a 12 in all my shoes and the True shoes in a 12 fit just right.
- As I said before, after one range session, the shoes seem to have as much grip as normal soft spikes.
- I am exited to try more "minimal" shoes running etc. I am wearing my True shoes all day today to test them out further. Hopefully I don't wear the spikes out too fast :).
- I am in no way affiliated with True.
I recieved my True Linkswear Tour shoes yesterday. I walked 18 holes today in 2 hours 15 minutes. These are the most comfortable golf shoes I have ever owned, actually almost as light and comfortable as my Nike Pegasus running shoes. I didn't have any issues with slippage either, but I don't have a 120 SS either. I am sold on True Linkswear!!
It was a little over 2 hours and 15 minutes! I teed off at 1:30pm and walked off the 18th green right around 4pm. I was playing speedgolf! LOL! I just purchased a new CaddyTek push cart and was actually jogging to the ball on a few holes. Put it to you this way, a guy riding in a cart let me through because I was rushing him... first time for that! LOL! Those shoes really made a huge difference, so comfortable!
I'll get my first opportunity to try them out tomorrow at Tour 18 in Dallas, a replica course of many famous holes in American golf. I did mess around with them a bit while I was out chipping in my wet front yard after the 3"+ of rain we got this week, and tried my best to get the shoes to spin out, and had no success in doing so. I wore a pair of my old New Balance 805's today, which have a similar stance to train my feet to be used to the lower heel, so tomorrow should be a breeze.