Shazam, shazam — if you change to minimal shoes but don’t change how you run, your existing shoe-induced bad form will continue and you are more likely to get injured.
If you don’t want to get injured, you need to change your form. Vivo Barefoot have some excellent resources available on their website.
Researchers from the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse, asked 16 women, all healthy recreational joggers ages 19 to 25, to spend two weeks getting used to running in the Vibram FiveFingers, a snug, glovelike shoe that weighs less than five ounces. The women were advised to use the shoes, the best-selling brand of barefoot sports shoes, three times a week for up to 20 minutes a day.Jodi Hilton for The New York Times
The women then returned to the lab, where researchers analyzed their form, foot-strike patterns and the force at which they hit the ground under three different running conditions — with regular running shoes, barefoot and while wearing the Vibram FiveFingers.
The researchers found that half of the women who switched to barefoot running or minimalist sports shoes failed to adjust their form, resulting in more wear and tear on their bodies, not less.
The study showed that when the women were wearing traditional running shoes, they all used a rear-foot strike, meaning they landed predominantly on their heels. But when the women switched to barefoot running or the Vibram FiveFingers, only half of them adjusted their form, as recommended, to a forefoot strike pattern, which entails landing mainly on the ball of the foot. The other half of the women kept the same form whether running barefoot, in Vibrams or in their cushy running shoes — landing first on their heels as they propelled themselves along.
Women who used the correct form experienced lower-impact forces on the foot while running barefoot or in Vibrams. But among the women who didn’t change their form and continued to land on their heels, the impact forces created by barefoot and Vibram running were nearly twice as high as in regular athletic shoes.
(Source: The New York Times)