Always check with your doctor prior to starting/modifying any exercise/nutrition program. The information presented on this site constitutes my opinions/viewpoints and should not be used as medical, personal, training, or professional advice.

"Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success
when they gave up." - Steve Prefontaine
Running Shoes
Disclaimer: The information presented on this site is based upon my opinions and experiences and should not be used as medical, personal, training, or professional advice or recommendations. "Individuals with underlying health issues are at increased risk for medical complications during the running of a marathon...The majority of serious marathon-related health complications are caused by pre-existing cardiovascular conditions...Discuss your plans for marathon training and participation with a professional health care provider...Your medical provider may wish to conduct some form of cardiovascular disease screening prior to participation."*1

There is no single brand of running shoe that will work for everyone. Depending on your arch type and gait mechanics, you may overpronate, oversupinate, or run "just right". The Shoe Dog from RoadRunner Sports can give you some idea on shoes that may be suitable based upon your answers to gender, terrain, arch type, mechanics, injuries, and other specifications. A good running store (preferably one that can do a gait analysis) may also help you select appropriate shoes.

After having tried just about every brand out there (Nike, Asics, Brooks, New Balance, Pearl Izumi, ECCO Biom, and Newton), I have finally settled on minimalist running shoes (Terra Plana Evo, Nike Free, and Vibram FiveFingers Sprint) that are as close as you can get to barefoot running without actually running barefoot. These shoes may not be for everyone, but they're the ones that feel right for my feet and running style.

I was often barefoot during my childhood. I ran, cycled, and played outside without shoes. When I started running, I would buy bigger shoes and leave the laces loose because I could not stand the confined feeling. And the cushiony/motion control shoes made me feel like I had bricks on my feet. At the time, minimalist shoes weren't available. So I went with neutral lightweight shoes. It wasn't until I switched back to heavier, less flexible shoes (and increased my mileage) that the injuries started.

I was thrilled when Nike Frees, Vibram Five Fingers, and Terra Plana Evos became available. Finally, someone came out with shoes that didn't feel like bricks on my feet. I will note however that if you run incorrectly on hard surfaces in these shoes, you may end up with stress fractures or shin splints. You have to have the proper running technique and elasticity in your tendons/ligaments for minimalist running shoes.

Very Important:  Minimalist running shoes require a very gradual adjustment period and a proper midfoot running form. These shoes are not for everyone and may cause injury in some people. For me personally, they strengthened my feet, ankles, and calf muscles so that I could run naturally with less impact. Even with a gradual adjustment period, I noticed some muscle soreness. It was because I was using muscles and soft tissues that normally did not get used when I was wearing the "bricks on my feet". As I slowly increased my time in the minimalist shoes, my ankles, feet and lower legs became stronger. When I would get tired and revert to improper running form (heel striking), these shoes let me know about it. With no padding on the heel, you learn really quick not to land on the heel.

I came across a really interesting article called "The World is Flat if You're a Foot". Even if you don't agree with minimalist/barefoot running, it is definitely very interesting material. I'm not sure there is presently enough long term data and studies on runners using minimalist shoes or running barefoot on hard surfaces to make a conclusion for or against minimalist shoes. However, because minimalist shoes feel right for my feet, I continue to use them. If my body starts to "break down" at high mileages on concrete, I may consider reverting back to my neutral lightweight trainers (Saucony Kinvara). But I will never go back to the "brick-like" running shoes.


*1 Boston Marathon Medical Directors: Pierre d'Hemecourt, MD (Co-Medical Director), Sophia Dyer, MD (Co-Medical Director), Aaron Baggish, MD