Last year in my gym, I saw one guy wear this weird looking ape-like shoe. Well to my amazement he seemed confident, comfortable and he was extremely fit. It took one guy to wear this strange sneaker and the rest began to follow lol . However before I make a purchase to deviate from my usual sneaker shoes, I want to know if this new design is healthy for your feet or is it just a new fashion trend in the sneaker design market.
Barefoot shoes, or minimalist shoes as they’re also known, were around before Born to Run was published, but they had a niche appeal. Today, however, a large proportion of running shoes on the market are barefoot shoes.
The idea behind them is to allow your foot to land on the ground in the same motion as though you were running barefoot, but at the same time to provide some protection. They come in various guises, from those designed to help you transition slowly from heel-first running to barefoot-style running, to those that just provide a thin slither of rubber under your sole, leaving your foot as free as possible.
But experts have warned that the growing number of runners using ‘barefoot’ five-finger running shoes could very easily end up injured.
Researchers at Brigham Young University in the U.S found that runners who make the switch from normal trainers to barefoot shoes too quickly suffered an increased risk of injury to bones in the foot, including possible stress fractures.Women were particularly at risk of injuries, they found.
The researchers say the findings are particularly concerning given that minimalist shoes such as these now make up 15 per cent of the running shoe market.
Advocates of barefoot running claim that footwear constricts our feet and inhibits natural movement, leaving us prone to injuries, pain and postural problems.While some runners completely lose the shoes, others opt for minimal coverage. Barefoot running shoes are act like a glove for the feet and are designed to protect them from glass and other hazards on the ground.While the shoes themselves may not be harmful, it is the transition from them to regular trainers that is often the problem.
‘Transitioning to minimalist shoes is definitely stressful to the bones,‘ said Sarah Ridge, lead author and assistant professor of exercise science at BYU. ‘You have to be careful in how you transition and most people don’t think about that; they just want to put the shoes on and go.’
So before you pull out your cash, check out the reviews.