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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan. 21, 2007
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    In the South, ya'll.
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    783

    Default Minimalistic Shoes

    Okay, so I bit the bullet and after years of struggling to find a good fit and shoe that didn't seem to encourage a heel strike landing pattern, I bought some New Balance Minimalist running shoes.

    I've been off running for about 8 months now (thanks to that lovely heel strike causing shin splints and whatnot) and following the advice of my brother, a marathon runner in the 5 fingers with similar foot conformation to mine, bought the shoes.

    Now: I've read the reviews, guidelines, but practically speaking, any COTH'ers with minimalist running shoe experience and can chime in with their reviews/opinions?

    I tried a bunch of shoes on, and for my big & wide footedness, the New Balances seemed to fit best.
    Worry, doubt, fear and despair are the enemies which slowly bring us down to the ground and turn us to dust before we die.

    ~ Douglas MacArthur



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun. 12, 2007
    Location
    Westchester County, NY
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    5,929

    Default

    I have the Vibram Five Fingers Bikila LS and the New Balance Minimus 10 Trail (mens version). I preferred the shorter length and wider width in the Minimus- so they fitted me in the mens instead of the women's. I'm very happy in both shoes.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun. 14, 2006
    Location
    VA
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    11,372

    Default

    If you're having heel strike/shin splint issues, you really might want to consider five fingers and modify your stride. Checkout the books on barefoot running. With that (and with five fingers) you're not doing the heel toe thing. Shorter strides, ball of foot, etc etc.

    My husband and several other avid runner friends have switched to five fingers and while it took them a little while to modify their stride, they really like them and have had less injuries.
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep. 29, 2009
    Posts
    2,576

    Default

    Those 5 finger shoes hurt my feet something awful. Made my hip hurt, feet hurt, upper back hurt, and knees hurt.

    Went back to my regular running shoes.

    I do spend alot of time barefoot, or with slippers. So go figure.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct. 29, 2007
    Location
    TN
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    1,870

    Default

    Minimalist shoes are meant to be used with a forefoot strike running style, and if you don't work on that it's probably going to hurt. There's a ton of videos on youtube about how to work on your stride, but the basics are:
    -Land on the ball of your foot, not on your heel
    -Kick your feet up high behind you (like you're trying to kick your butt)
    -Don't reach out in front of you with your stride, instead your feet should fall just under you or just a little ahead
    It feels weird at first but you get used to it. I had a little epiphany the other day when my 4 y/o niece ran ahead of me, and it was exactly how she runs!

    And start slow with the minimalist shoes. The muscles in your feet and legs are used to heel strike, so you need to build up the right muscles slowly. I've heard the #1 reason people get hurt or dislike minimalist shoes is because they jump right in without enough transition time. Wear them around the house for a while, then start with short slow walks outside and work your way up.
    "Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out." ~John Wooden

    Phoenix Animal Rescue



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec. 10, 2004
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    3,636

    Default

    Yup, agree with the above. You have to work yourself into them. I have the NB minimalist trail. The vibram sole is awesome, but you need to find the level of barefoot that is most comfortable for you, because each shoe is different. Mine is about 3mm. My mom has a zero she started with, but now her preffered is about a 4mm. Merrell has some great runners with the vibram sole.

    You need to start slowly. At first, if you are not running correctly, you will feel pain in your calf. They will teach you how to run correctly, but when you are starting, do not do more than 1km of running in them. You have to gradually work yourself back up, so start them on your shorter runs and use your regular ones for longer stretches until you've worked yourself up slowly.

    And be careful with them on a rugged trail. I've given myself a couple wicked stone bruises in them.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan. 21, 2007
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    In the South, ya'll.
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    783

    Default

    I figured since I've been off running for so long and will have to start slowly to get back into in, now would be the perfect time to start with minimus shoes. I'm looking forward to actually running properly.
    Worry, doubt, fear and despair are the enemies which slowly bring us down to the ground and turn us to dust before we die.

    ~ Douglas MacArthur



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct. 29, 2007
    Location
    TN
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    Default

    I always hated running until I tried that forefoot strike! It hasn't (fingers crossed!) given me any knee pain and so far the only calf ache is that 'new muscle' feel in the back of my calf, instead of the beginnings of shin splints like I used to get.
    "Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out." ~John Wooden

    Phoenix Animal Rescue



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb. 19, 2009
    Posts
    4,832

    Default

    I've been through two pairs of NB Minimalists and while I love the feel the shoe gives, I've been disappointed in the Vibram sole (both pairs had the sole start to peel off). One disclaimer though-I'm not a hard core runner, I am a CrossFitter, so those shoes were put through a lot more than just pounding the pavement. Definitely helped me develop my forefoot strike in running, and improved my running tremendously. Absolutely no pain from running either.

    I now currently have a pair of Innov8 barefoot shoes that were developed specifically for CrossFit and so far have been great (and actually are more minimalist than the NB).



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb. 24, 1999
    Location
    MD
    Posts
    3,450

    Default

    I have a pair of the Merrill barefoot running shoes and I love them. Not that I've been running much lately, but when I do I'm a huge fan. I feel like they have helped my shin splint issues dramatically.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct. 12, 2001
    Location
    Center of the Universe
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    7,061

    Default

    good for you for looking into "how to run properly"! Your feet, knees, hips, and back will thank you later!
    Just take it a bit slow, because you have to build up your feet muscles, and you may also have to retrain your body to move in a more natural way- you may need to consciously force yourself to strike the ground properly and use the arch of your foot instead of doing the choppy damaging heel-strike that most people who grew up in "traditional" shoes learn to do. If you have a beach handy, try walking slowly up and down it, then jogging slowly (barefoot), the sand really strengthens the feet well and basically forces you into moving normally- try heel-striking on the beach, you'll probably fall down.

    I much prefer the five-fingers over any of the other available shoes, but the NB ones are pretty close to allowing full natural movement as well. If you need more protection from rocky footing, the vivobarefoot trail shoes are a good compromise between protective sole/ natural movement. I really dislike the Merrell barefoot shoes- the soles are too thick to allow full natural movement but not thick enough to provide any protection, and they have a structure built into the sole that prevents you from using the arch of your foot fully.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan. 21, 2007
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    In the South, ya'll.
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    Default

    Well even more incentive for me to run properly is that I plan to be in the AF for a long, long time, and PT is a obviously a very big part of that, so I best use this opportunity to learn to run properly while I have it, otherwise I'm going to be in and out of the Doctor's office. I love my Doc and all, but I would like to see less of him for ankle & foot issues.
    Worry, doubt, fear and despair are the enemies which slowly bring us down to the ground and turn us to dust before we die.

    ~ Douglas MacArthur



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan. 21, 2007
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    In the South, ya'll.
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    Default

    Update: Had my first mini-run in them today. (Total around 7 minutes haha) and the shoes were GREAT! It felt so...easy to run in them. I naturally wanted to run on my mid-forefoot and it was great.
    Worry, doubt, fear and despair are the enemies which slowly bring us down to the ground and turn us to dust before we die.

    ~ Douglas MacArthur



  14. #14
    Join Date
    May. 26, 2005
    Posts
    410

    Default

    LOVE my Vibram 5Fingers. Haven't run in anything else for almost two years now (wow, time flies!). Granted, I am not a frequent runner. I try to get a 5k in after work/riding as much as possible. But let's be real. Not as much as I would like.

    For the winter season, I'm restricted to asphalt trails mostly during the coldest part of the day. I am wanting to get a pair of the Nike Free Run 3.0's to have on hand as the asphalt+vibrams just do not mix after so many miles in the cold weather. Has anyone tried these?
    Thoroughbreds: classic

    Turn. N. Burn.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct. 8, 2002
    Location
    Maryland
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    9,666

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by wendy View Post
    I really dislike the Merrell barefoot shoes- the soles are too thick to allow full natural movement but not thick enough to provide any protection, and they have a structure built into the sole that prevents you from using the arch of your foot fully.
    Have to say I agree. When I first tried them on in the store they felt great, but every time I wear them they end up causing a lot of pain and stiffness in my feet. Granted, my feet have been all kinds of weird since I had the baby last winter, the joints seem to get creaky and they are just uncomfortable, but the Merrells made it much worst for some reason. Have not had any similar issues with my five fingers, and in fact have two pairs. I really like running in the bikilas. I haven't quite perfected the forefoot strike, and my foot seems to naturally want to slap down level instead*, but this hasn't caused me any stress or pain and my legs feel better after than they do in other running shoes (including several pairs that were "fitted" by professional running shoe people)




    *this is partly because I jog pretty slowly as I'm out of shape. I've noticed it's much easier and more intuitive when I run faster, but my wind isn't there yet!
    "smile a lot can let us ride happy,it is good thing"

    My CANTER blog.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Oct. 12, 2001
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    Center of the Universe
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    Default

    I am wanting to get a pair of the Nike Free Run 3.0's to have on hand as the asphalt+vibrams just do not mix after so many miles in the cold weather. Has anyone tried these?
    I haven't tried those- they have a very thick sole and padding and are certainly not "zero drop", so I wonder how they can provide a "barefoot" experience?
    I too am "seeking" something for winter running- I love the five-fingers, but warm they are not, nor do they keep the water out, which isn't fun when it's melted snow that's leaking in. I'm thinking the vivobarefoot line is the way to go for winter- they are supposed to have some actual waterproof shoes. I bought a pair of their Neo Trail shoes I'm currently using on very rocky, rough trails, and I quite like them, but they aren't waterproof. Can wear wool socks in them though, a plus. Can't afford another pair of shoes this year, so maybe next year.



  17. #17
    Join Date
    May. 26, 2005
    Posts
    410

    Default

    I haven't tried those- they have a very thick sole and padding and are certainly not "zero drop", so I wonder how they can provide a "barefoot" experience?
    There is a very specific version: V4 i think? They are supposed to be super thin, maybe not quite 0drop. Of course, they are darn near impossible to find. I swear Nike just doesn't want me to have the ACTUAL barefoot-ride shoes, and keeps looping my search back to the $135 custom option. ::headdesk::
    Thoroughbreds: classic

    Turn. N. Burn.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jun. 19, 2001
    Location
    Washington, D.C.
    Posts
    2,080

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by HunterJumperGin View Post
    For the winter season, I'm restricted to asphalt trails mostly during the coldest part of the day. I am wanting to get a pair of the Nike Free Run 3.0's to have on hand as the asphalt+vibrams just do not mix after so many miles in the cold weather. Has anyone tried these?
    I haven't tried the Free Runs yet ( I want to) but I do have a pair of the Reebok Realflex Runs (these) because I wanted to start easing into the whole minimalist thing without going full Vibram, haha....they're built with the same idea in mind, though from reading reviews, the Realflex shoes are more flexible than the Nikes, I believe.

    They definitely don't have a zero heel drop--they're kind of hybrid between a "regular" running show and a barefoot. The sole is soft but thin and very flexible, and the whole shoe is really light. I love them--I always had odd achilles pains, knee strain, and other general aches in traditional shoes, and they all disappeared when I switched to the Realflex. I also think they look pretty awesome.



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