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So you have decided to take the plunge into minimalist running. If you aren’t ready yet to take to the streets running barefoot, it’s time to start shopping for that particular shoes.
But first consider where or on what surface you usually run. There are both trail and road minimalist running shoes in the market. Since running on trails means rocks and uneven surfaces, trail-specific shoes offer ‘extra’ protection in the form of soles with rock plates, leather uppers, soles with tough tread for greater traction, and increased torsional rigidity. Most road-specific shoes, on the other hand, have features that protect the runner from slipping on slick surfaces, and are lighter.
The outsole in minimalist running shoes is usually made from rubber-tire like material offering great protection without the bounce that is characteristic of ‘traditional’ running shoes. Check for the flexibility of the sole by rolling it into a ball.
Since it conforms to the natural form of the foot, they offer no support to the arch or midsole. Designed to be worn with or without socks, the upper material is usually made of comfortable, breathable fabric with flat seams. The toe backs tend to be wide to allow for toes spreading out when landing on the forefoot.
If it’s your first time transitioning into these types of shoes, give your feet time to adjust. Don’t discard your old shoes just yet, and train gradually till your feet get accustomed to minimalist running.
• Choose between road and trail running shoes
• Check the pair for flexibility by rolling it into a ball
• Road-specific shoes protect runner from slip
Source: Claire Dangalan, Special to Classifieds
The writer is a freelancer