Comment from: Rachel [Visitor]
Rachel

Great interview! It's nice to hear different perspectives on minimalist running, and I think you nailed it on the head--generalizing what's good for everyone's feet and running style doesn't make sense. Everyone should be evaluating their own individual needs when it comes to support and cushion, or lackthereof. Not every person is built to run barefoot and vice versa. It just seems like common sense.

Thanks for telling your story, Rob!

05/19/12 @ 16:36
Comment from: Tim [Visitor]  
Tim

As with most things in life, do your research and try it for yourself. I'm going to give this minimalist approach a go as it seems to make sense. I've always thought there was something wrong with the way I run and having read up on form I'm sure mine us poor. I think VFF's can help with that but as a few people have said firm I'd that issue not the footwear. I can see the argument for more protection for these ultra types, it would be great to see some real scientific study in this area...

05/20/12 @ 02:29
Comment from: greg white [Visitor]
greg white

I'm curious: are the Altras roomy enough to fit an orthotic insert and still have room for a minimalist's foot?

05/22/12 @ 16:30
Comment from: rob [Member]  

@greg white: The Altras indeed have ample room for orthotic inserts; that's the only way my wife and I have worn them! In general, any shoe that ships with a removable foam insert (Altras included) *should* fit orthotic inserts just fine as the volume of orthotics and inserts *should* be about the same. There are exceptions of course but we've had pretty good luck with over the counter orthotics fitting in most shoes we've worn that came with foam inserts.

05/23/12 @ 16:43
Comment from: Rich [Visitor]
Rich

This interview gives an interesting perspective. Ultimately, of course, no matter how many miles one has run or how fast one is, each person is only a sample of one, and whatever works (or doesn't) for that person is specific to themself. The tarahumara of course run hundreds of miles a week without arch support. So I don't think there's any universal truth as to what's needed and what's not. We all have to find what works best for us.

05/24/12 @ 11:34
Comment from: rob [Member]  

@Rich: You're totally right and that's basically my whole point is that we are all experiments of one and that we all have to find our own solutions of what best works for us. That's what I meant about trying to avoid the dogma and zealotry and to discover for one's own self what approach to take. As for the tarahumara and other tribes in existence around the world the difference is, they were BORN barefoot and are barefoot or in sandals from day one through the entirety of their lives. (As an aside, I don't think they do *hundreds* of miles a week, I imagine some do *a lot* of miles per week ;) ). For the rest of us from the time we're toddlers we're often in shoes with heels and so it isn't easy to reverse those effects some 20, 30, 40+ years later when we start running or come to the realization we don't need so much shoe. I'd also argue there could be genetic differences that predispose some folks to have better body mechanics, bone/ligament structure, etc... that make some take to running easier than others. Like you said, we are truly all different despite having so much in common. One must also take into account the surfaces and terrains we regularly run, what our running goals are, how much we run, etc... all different and unique!

05/24/12 @ 14:19
Comment from: Tim [Visitor]
Tim

@Rob. I agree with you in principle however we can still make generalisations. As a species wearing footwear is alien to us and wearing less of it will be better for us. There will be some exceptions but that is why it is a generalisation. I'd like to suggest we're not all special or as unique as popular western culture would have us believe. We all fit into one group or another and there are far more people than groups. Whilst transition isn't easy, we haven't evolved differently in a few generations. I am sceptical simply because the shoe industry is a multi billion dollar industry and no one had got rich off selling true barefoot to anyone. That's not to say it is particularly practical in the west last of which I'd the dogma for wearing footwear. So much so I'm sure I would lose my livelihood and home if I insisted on it 24/7, which is crazy when it's such a natural state!

05/25/12 @ 03:02
Comment from: rob [Member]  

@Tim. There is no dispute from me that barefoot is our natural state. That much is obvious, we're born barefoot and certainly our ancestors went around mostly barefoot or in very reduced footwear (sandals, moccasins, etc..). However, I don't agree that this is necessarily the way we *must* be or even a requirement. Clearly human beings are amazingly adaptable creatures. We've the ability to survive and thrive in incredibly harsh environments and conditions. We have people living in space, we put people on the Moon! I see no reason that footwear or shoes in general is a bad thing simply because as humans we can and do adapt very well. Sure barefoot may be our natural state but that doesn't imply to me that it's necessarily the *best* state. IMHO, I don't think it really matters at all too much in the grand scheme of things what you wear or don't wear on your feet since as humans we can easily adapt. I also don't buy into the whole giant shoe company conspiracy theory that is so often espoused on forums like this and others. Sure they're out to make money (so what?) but I refuse to believe they're doing at the expense of our health; that they're trying to hurt us in order to keep us buying their line. Ridiculous. I do disagree with shoes having exceptionally raised heels and shoes that aren't anatomically shaped for proper toe spread. Those are two pet peeves of mine with modern footwear. Just about everything else regarding footwear I feel is highly personal and condition dependent. There is no ONE answer.

05/25/12 @ 08:38
Comment from: Rich [Visitor]
Rich

@Rob: thanks for your thoughtful reply. I generally agree with most everything you said about individual variation and no one right way. On the shoe company thing, I think the point is not that it's a conspiracy or that they're trying to hurt us. Rather, they haven't spent the time and money (and it would take a lot of both) to answer, in a scientific way, the hard questions about what works and what doesn't. They probably sincerely believe their products help people run better/safer. Tim's point (I think) is that when a company has a financial motive to do things a certain way, they sometimes don't look too hard at the alternatives. That's natural, but it's something we should be aware of as consumers. A car company is going to try to build a better car - they aren't going to tell you to bike, even if there's some evidence that maybe biking would be better, at least for some people, some of the time.

All of that said, I just bought a pair of cushioned nikes last night because I'm coming back from the latest in a long string of injuries (stress fracture), and my doc told me this is what I need. So it's not like I hate shoe companies - I'm just mindful of what they're trying to do (make money). And what they don't do (run scientific tests that actually prove their products have the intended effect).

05/25/12 @ 11:44
Comment from: Tim [Visitor]
Tim

Rich you are spot on, there is no conspiracy just insufficient understanding and more investigation is needed. The space example was a good one. We have the technology to get us there but zero g messes with our physiology, wasting muscles and bones. Sometimes our technology outpaces our ability to adapt but it's a learning process. As long as we continue to question things I'm sure we'll be fine :)

05/27/12 @ 17:54
Comment from: Abby [Visitor]  
Abby

I'm wondering what kind of arch supports you use and if you wear them in minimalist shoes if you've found that they fit okay? In my experience trying to fit arch supports into minimalist shoes is a struggle because of the curved last of the shoe with the straight last of my orthotics or other arch supports. I feel like not putting the supports on a flat foot bed make me unstable. I've had orthotic arch supports and a traditional running shoe (Brooks Adrenaline GTS) for years and have seen no significant improvement in my running, I still get shin splints or hip pain. I've started running in cheaper arch supports (not from my podiatrist) with Nike Free 3.o and have been trying to focus on mid/fore foot striking. But I want a zero drop shoe and an arch support that work well in it. Are their any arch support/minimalist shoe combinations you can recommend? My feet are very flat and I significantly over pronate, it doesn't make it any easier that I'm a women's size 11.5 running shoe and they often don't make that size, so then I have to try to order men's which gets confusing.

09/16/13 @ 22:20