Has the barefoot wave crested?

Has the barefoot wave crested?

The symbol on the tongue of my New Balance Minimus 10v2 Trail shoe is this: <=>. Less equals more.

This succinct message, I am sure infers that less structure, support and sole means more feel, enjoyment and performance. But for many, it probably lead to more calf soreness, shin pain and bone stress.

This may be why, if the rumours are true, that this shoe will be discontinued in the near future. I really, truly hope that this rumour is just that, as the NB Minimus is my favourite shoe of all time bar none- it is the only shoe I have ever stocked-up with multiple pairs, like a doomsday prepper buying up tinned food in anticipation of Armageddon.

But the marketplace rules, and perhaps people are voting with their (sore) feet?
A successful class action against the Vibram 5 Finger in the USA wouldn’t help support persevering with a minimalist range. And anecdotally, I haven’t had an inquiry about transitioning to barefoot or minimalist running for ages (2-3 years ago I would receive multiple inquiries about this every week).

The book ‘Born to Run’ by Christopher MacDougall was the under-sea earthquake which spawned the Tsunami. It was hard not to be spellbound by the shoeless utopia promised to us if we all just kicked off our shoes and made commune with the earth that had become so strange and spiteful to our suffering legs.

But alas, this was a false paradise. Many of my Physiotherapist and Podiatrist friends have reported an increase in bone stress and achilles tendon presentations in their clinics with minimalist running the undeniable culprit.
So minimalist running will probably recede into the halls of past exercise fad, alongside Tae-Bo and Zumba. And hopefully, that is where it stays in the minds of the fad-seekers.

Barefoot or minimalist was never meant for everyone, like we were lead to believe. And perfecting its practice was not something entwined in our DNA if we just gave it a chance. So hopefully the barefoot zealots who did blanket-prescribe minimalist running do move on to some new fad- maximalist running maybe?!

But barefoot running will remain a tool of the considerate and educated health professional, and will be kept tucked away in the tool kit ready and available for when it’s use is appropriate.

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