Whether you just read Born To Run, are in the midst of a lingering injury, or want to improve your questionable running form; switching to minimalist or barefoot running shoes can be a great choice if done correctly. Here are recommendations to make it a painless and fun experience.
Don’t break the bank
Who wants to spend a ton of money on a pair of shoes your have not idea you’ll use or like?! The great part about these type of shoes is that a decent pair of barefoot or minimalists can be purchased for under $50 or even cheaper online. Don’t go big until you’re absolutely sure, and make sure your old pair of shoes aren’t completely worn out so you’ll have them while your transition.
Personally, I’ll try a few pairs on at the Sporting goods store, then go home and buy the pair I liked online for a fraction of the price. This will save you cash, and not make you feel as guilty if they end up not being your cup of tea.
Start VERY slow
When I say very, that is an understatement. Bottom line, the first few weeks wearing these shoes should just be around the house, walking, or doing everyday activities.
Do not go for your long run the first day you buy these shoes!
After a few weeks around the house, gradually work them in to your cross-training activities like Crossfit, biking, or weight lifting. This gives you the opportunity to slightly break them in.
After a week or two begin wearing them for one short run, every other day for one week. Add one or two miles per week until you are fully transitioned.
Back off (meaning reduce your mileage, or switch to your other shoes) if you feel ANY pain, or you are heading down a road to chronic injury. Minimalist shoes are not to be messed with, they can blacken your toes and tear your Achilles and calves so bad you’ll be crawling back to your Asics after months of recoup time.
Don’t be afraid to call it quits
Again, barefoot or minimalist shoes aren’t for everyone, and sometimes just don’t work out. Do not force the issue. If you’ve got 6 months with these shoes and you’re still walking like Frankenstein when you wake up in the morning, it’s time to throw in the towel. Running should be fun, not painful.
Enjoy the freedom!
If they do work out (Woohoo!) enjoy your newly strengthened calves, ankle ligaments and all around stellar running form. You will notice the spring in your step and enjoy running even more. Hopefully this guide set you on the right course toward your next wonderful run!