Questions about Minimalist Running

related to a post entitled Bare Naked Feet which can be found here:

Do any of those sponsored athletes wear Saucony's Hattori or Brooks' Pure Drift? Why doesn't Vibram sponsor athletes?

Do you think what's "natural" for runners from populations that have been shoeless throughout their natural history
is different for runners from populations that have had something between their feet and the ground for thousands of years?

Do you think what's appropriate for super-efficient, 125-pound elite runners might in general be different than what's appropriate for biomechanically-sloppy 180-pound average joes?

from J.Christian


Regarding the historical differences between populations and their running background, I think you'll find most share common biomechanical characteristics up until a certain point in their evolution--perhaps coinciding with the advent of the "supportive" running shoe and maybe even jogging for fitness--neither of which are necessarily healthy.

I acknowledge that each individual will have particular strengths/weaknesses specific to him/her. Indeed, that's why I perform a variety of extensive assessments which analyze everything from length/tension relationships to neurological function to how one thinks, breathes, drinks, eats, moves, and sleeps. But I also recognize that it's quite common for specific modalities of exercise to be prescribed (in this case running) without any pre-req's being met. Thus, the therapist/coach who breaks the chain of developing flexibility and stability before strength and power will eventually break the client/athlete, as well.

I've always said that one should wear as much shoe as you need and as little as you can get away with. I prefer to BUILD support rather than buy it. So in regards to your hypothetical athletes above, the biomechanically deficient one is going to get injured regardless of footwear if care is not taken to develop a program appropriate for him. Yet, sadly, most people have neither the time nor the expertise to assess the athlete or the demands of the chosen sport. And if you're not assessing, you're guessing.

I'm glad you're out there paying attention and asking questions. Another one you should consider is what happens to the motion/forces which would have occurred at the foot during pronation when you don't allow that motion to occur. As for why certain shoe companies don't sponsor certain athletes, I could guess but try not to make a habit of that. You'd be better off asking Saucony, Vibram, etc. I suspect you're just playing devil's advocate. I dig that. But if you really want to get into a deeper discussion of biomechanics and kinesiology, just let me know--I'm game. In fact, I love to play.

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