Minimalist Footwear: Evolution Theory

Sorry for the lull in posts the past week—I’ve been slammed with work and have neglected the blog and running (longest being 5.1 miles). So, I have a question…

What does Minimalist Footwear mean?

Light shoes? Non-supportive shoes? Vibram Five Fingers? A close friend  and I were talking about this recently. This good friend, Teague, owns a local running specialty store (FootZone) and has been in business in Bend for over 13 years. I appreciate his perspective. He’s been around the block when it comes to footwear. So, what does minimalist footwear mean? His opinion—it depends. “What do you mean,” I asked.

Before I give his answer, I should state that the reason I like Teague—besides our similar tastes in Thump’s cappuccinos, good micro brews, and bluegrass—he’s balanced and grounded. He has an interesting perspective compared to most running store owners. For one, he’s embraced the minimalist running movement by carrying a solid selection of minimalist footwear, including road, trail, and VFFs. And two, he puts up with my newest-and-greatest-epiphany or rant against mandatory vaccinations and water fluoridationdon’t even get me started!

So, what’s Teague’s take?

At the end of the day, minimalist shoes can vary, depending on you (the individual), the terrain you run on, and where you are personally as a minimalist runner. For example, take a theoretical 6″3″, 200+ pound dude who’s been running in a Brook’s Beast and is transitioning to the Brooks Cascadia—is the Cascadia considered a minimalist shoe? In my book and most others, absolutely not…but to Brook’s Beast dude, probably. Could he go to an even more minimalist shoe? Of course. But, for now that shoe is minimalist to him. So, it really depends on your personal evolution as a runner. There are always going to be folks who never get past the orthotics, pronation control and the beefy, high-heeled running shoe—who never will want to take the time to push themselves out of their comfort zone to adapt and will continue believing they need to be corrected in order to run properly. And if they don’t take the time to re-learn, they probably should be corrected.

I have to agree, on a basic level, with Teague. Will I accept it? You know I won’t, Teague. If I can convert just one more to the minimalist cause with my rants to anyone who’ll listen—well, all the better. For me, it’s a natural progression back to how I was designed to run—an awakening, so to speak. Yes, that newest-and-greatest-epiphany. Your barefeet, re-learning and listening to your feet—not putting them in a cast. And, to answer my wife’s recent question—NO, minimalist running DOES NOT mean less shoes, just really cool lightweight ones. 🙂 Speaking of, I can’t wait to break in the fresh new pair of Inov8 X-Talon 212s on tomorrow’s trail run—thanks to my good friend at the FootZone. Giddyup!

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