does it work?
I'm not a barefoot purist: I don't have a problem with that. I love running barefoot; I've run a grassy/muddy parkrun barefoot, for example. But foot coverings (aka shoes) are useful tools which have their place, just like the body coverings (waterproof coat and warm layer) which stopped me from getting hypothermia out on the SDW50 last year were useful tools. I want to be able to go for long trail runs without having to consider every step what might be hidden on the overgrown path etc. (thinking about how NDW looked last year), and I don't see myself running 50-mile trail races barefoot any time soon.
I've taken out the insert so it is a zero drop. There is some cushioning still but much.much less than my previous shoes. May try and go further next time though put off from running completely barefoot due to strange looks I would get.
Surrey Runner: glad if I've helped. Warning: the more you get used to minimalist shoes the more you will find that standard running shoes feel like planks of wood strapped to your feet. For example, while trying on the Inov 8 Trailroc 235s I also tried to 245s, which have a rock plate (and 3 mm drop), and could tell in a few jog steps around the shop that I didn't want them - not flexible enough. And as for getting back into my old Mizuno Wave Riders - forget it! I -do- recommend trying actual barefoot sometimes - I started by running round a sports field with minimalist shoes on, checking there were no nasty surprises, then running a lap of the field barefoot. An added benefit of being able to run barefoot is that if you feel any tenderness of/over tendons, whether Achilles' tendon or the extensor tendons on the top of your feet, you can try running with no shoes on: if there's no tenderness barefoot then the problem is likely to be pressure from the shoes/laces rather than an actual tendon problem.
Flob: I agree - but while some of the so-called "minimalist" shoes are so far from being minimalist, then "barefoot shoes" seems to be the only naming option left! The ones I'm willing to call "barefoot shoes" in such circumstances (although you're right that "true minimalist" would be a better name) have zero drop and almost no cushioning, are flexible, allow you to spread your toes, enable you to feel the ground underfoot and encourage a "barefoot style" of running (high cadence, short stride, landing with your foot under you and forefoot or midfoot rather than heel striking, etc.) - but do provide some protection from the glass, dog poop, thorns etc. which I, for one, appreciate.
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