Sustainable Injury-Free Running
The Minimalist Way
From our personal experiences and over three decades of running, we believe a good natural running form AND a good pair of natural running shoes is the key to sustainable injury-free running. Additionally, throw in cross training like cross fit, cycling, walking, etc. to work other muscles on your body and exercises (like P90X) to build or strengthen your CORE.
Natural Running Form
The Natural Running Center has a treasure trove of articles on natural running forms and injury-free running. Whether you are a Chi Running or POSE or Natural Running fan, a natural running form will be the foundation to pave the way to sustainable injury-free running. We expect to see more studies and metrics published in mid- to late-2015 on the impact of running form and shoes that may allow you to make an educated decision on preventing running injuries.
The strict primary requirements for a great pair of minimalist running shoes:
- Soft and breathable uppers
- Wide forefoot toe box (fits 2E+ width feet)
- Lightweight and preferably less than 7 ounces
- Shoe tongue does not slide when running or walking
- Soft, thin, and flexible outsole (laterally and longitudinally)
- Smooth footbed allow running sockless without hot spots or blisters
- Midfoot/Toe stack height of less than 15mm
- Low to zero drop differential
- Great traction on rubber track for speed work
- Great traction on asphalt and hilly non-technical trails
- Shoes lace materials does not make it come untied easily
- Heel does not hurt when walking in the shoes
- Affordable pricing
Shoe manufacturers that offer at least a few models of minimalist shoes meeting these primary requirements include: Altra Zero Drop, Brooks Running, Inov-8, LEMs Shoes, Merrell, New Balance, Newton Running, Skechers Performance, SKORA Running, The Primal Professional, Topo Athletic, Under Armour, Vibram Five Fingers, VIVOBAREFOOT, Xero Shoes, and ZEM Gear. Links to purchase from any of these vendors on our Where To Buy page.
Obviously, you can select a pair that is narrower if you have narrow feet, or a little more cushioning for your recovery runs, or a little more protection and stiffer if you are running gnarly trails.