Of course, on more than one occasion you went out for a run and you were amazed by the casual runner who was barefoot or wearing slippers in the shape of flip-flops.You are not crazy, and neither is he. This way of running is called minimalism or barefoot. While there are many types, most, if not all of them are aimed at improving running techniques to avoid the heel, that is, without dropping with the heel first, with the foot forward. to the body and straight.
“The essence of minimalist shoes is that the most natural way to run is without heel support, that is, landing with the midfoot and moving with the forefoot,” explains Christian Errans Perez: personal trainer and physiotherapist at Sanitas. This way, “the ankles, knees and hips soften the impact on the ground, and there is no need to wear thick-soled shoes for proper cushioning,” he adds.
This is an important change, and not only physical, but also psychological, since the vast majority of people always run with support for the heel, in part because of the shoes, so changing this way of running requires additional psychological effort, as we must think before move.
Those who join this new trend claim they do it because it is less harmful to their joints and because they get better grades. To what extent is this true?
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According to Miguel del Valle, professor at the School of Medicine at the University of Oviedo School of Medicine, it is necessary to distinguish between running barefoot and using minimalist shoes.
“While some studies have shown that running barefoot generates less impact and more efficiency than running shoes (natural or artificial), other studies show that this is not the case.” In his opinion, “neither barefoot running nor minimalist shoes are beneficial to athletes who used normal shoes during the development phase as their feet adapted to complement and protect the shoe.”
So, according to the expert, the key to getting more out of this way of running is to start practicing it from an early age without involving your body in other types of shoes.
Despite this statement, Del Valle also believes that it would be possible for minimalist shoes to “be beneficial for performance and even prevent injury in some athletes, if we think that is a natural way to run.” But achieving this requires a long process of adaptation and consistency.
Success requires a long period of adaptation, which should include a change in technique (difficult to digest) for all those who have not used it since childhood and, above all, the knowledge to use it, ”he elaborates.
Also, it is important to be clear that “only useful for medium to low weight runners, not for heavy runners who require more cushioning and who will injure themselves more often,” he warns. expert from the University of Oviedo.
Another less minimalist form of minimalism
But in addition to running barefoot or with flip-flops or very thin soles, you can often see runners demanding shoes without drips or drips. (0 to 4) is the difference in midsole thickness between the heel area and the forefoot or metatarsal area (i.e.) with very little cushioning.
According to Del Valle, “although some people think it has many advantages, it is usually false or false for people who are not adapted to this style.”
This is mainly because this new way of working “will change the distribution of loads between the forefoot and heel and reduce heel cushioning.” This results in an increased risk of metatarsalgia, tendinopathies and stress fractures. ”
Regardless, you shouldn’t demonize this new running style. Del Valle thinks they are a good option when combined: “Using shoes with different drops for training can be beneficial for runners.”
What seems clear is that previous adaptations are necessary for better results and injury prevention, training that is time consuming.