My friend Brian Martin at Running Technique Tips just wrote an excellent post on some work that he recently did at a conference for running retailers in Melbourne, Australia. Brian and I tend to think very similarly about the roles of footwear and running technique in keeping runners healthy. In his post he provides some insight on the state of minimalism in Australia, and he talks about his approach to gradually transitioning runners to less shoe (with no pre-determined end-point) – here’s an excerpt:
“…the question remains about just how far runners need to travel down the barefoot running shoe road to achieve good benefits without subjecting themselves to undue risk of injury.
This journey is generally termed making a minimalist transition from traditional cushioned running shoes with a 12mm heel-to-toe height differential or drop, and various foot support/control systems, towards shoes with more flexibility, less cushion and a lower heel-to-toe drop.
From my personal and professional coaching experience, making this transition does seem to have a logical end-point that is a long way away from all runners wearing thin slippers.
Many runners get good benefit from moving into a flexible lightweight trainer that gives a more responsive feel, while retaining protection from the running surface. Clearly this is an individual thing, but what we’ve seen so far suggests the end-point for a large group of runners isn’t going to be as far as many (including me) perhaps first thought.”
I agree very much with what Brian writes here, and I highly recommend heading over to Brian’s blog and reading his full post. In particular, he highlights what I feel is one of the most pressing issues we now face: given the wider variety shoes now available (which is a great thing!), and the evidence suggesting that our current fitting protocols aren’t all that effective, how do we best match a runner to a shoe (and should runners have more than one shoe in a rotation)?
You can find Brian’s post here: www.runningtechniquetips.com/2012/06/minimalist-running-evoloves-towards-the-mainstream/