What to Know About Minimalist Philosophy and Minimalist Orthotics, Part 4

In the last three articles on this topic, youve had the chance to learn a little about minimalist philosophy and minimalist orthotics but not minimalist guidelines about how to get started running barefoot.

Four excellent minimalist orthotics are available for those who want to use minimalist philosophy but dont have perfect feet to run barefoot. To recap, the minimalist orthotics are:

If you do decide to try barefoot running, here are some guidelines on how to do it:

  1. Go slow. Take time to adapt to barefoot running. Your soles aren't used to this right now and you'll have to prepare them to battle the elements such as gravel, rough terrain, etc. For short one-minute intervals, get your feet used to walking outside.
  2. Dont run barefoot for at least a few weeks. Start with simple walking. Your body has to adapt by lengthening your Achilles tendon that has contracted a bit from walking in shoes with a heel. Even athletic shoes have heels. Increase your distance walking barefoot every day.
  3. Soon you will feel ready to start running. The surface you begin on should be somewhat soft, such as wet grass or the beach shoreline. Notice as you run that your running technique has changed. No longer are you stepping on your heel but rather are stepping on your forefoot and midfoot. This is the way you are supposed to run so dont fret. You'll also notice theres no pushoff needed to take a new step. Instead, you simply lift your foot up and place it down again, and repeat the process.
  4. Remember what it was like when you first started running. Only run a short distance in the beginning, and build up longer distances slowly. Add some barefoot drills to your workouts.
  5. Consider your climate. Toes can easily get frostbitten in freezing temperatures.

If you decide to go the route of minimalist running shoes and/or minimalist orthotics, here are some of the top minimalist shoes, as deemed worthy by The Running Clinic:

Xero Shoes Huarache for Men and Women, in these the soles of these minimalist shoes are only 2 mm thick. These shoes are really sandals, not traditional shoes but you can run in them. They are based on the sandals worn by the Indian tribe in Mexico that has clocked up to 200 miles in a day.

InovB Evoskin for Men and Women, these minimalist shoes are not made of rubber but from silicon. They look somewhat like ballet slippers with toes and an ankle/midfoot strap. Silicon doesnt breathe as well as other materials but your feet end up with mega protection from broken glass, sharp rocks and other nasty objects place in your way. The straps are removable.

Zemgear Split Toe Low, these are definitely odd-looking minimalist shoes. They cover the entire foot and will make you think youre a zebra running free, especially when you look down and see that they simulate a hoof. Giddy up!

Sockwa Amphibian for Men and Women, these look like elf shoes not minimalist shoes except they dont have a curly cue extension on the toes that reaches upward to the magic found in the air. The sole is 2 mm thick. They received a high rating although people did comment that your foot may slip once inside them.

Leguano Premium for Men and Women, these are probably the heaviest of all minimalist shoes and weigh in at 5.5 ounces. They feel more like a sock than a shoe and on the sole of them you will find a raised pattern that keeps away broken glass, sharp rocks, etc. The sock comes up past your ankle.

This concludes our series of articles on minimalist philosophy, minamalist orthotics and insoles, minimalist guidelines, and how to start barefoot walking/running.

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