Barefoot Lessons

I’ve now been training in the new Mizuno Evo range for a few weeks and feel I’ve had a good chance to really test them out and get in to training in a minimalist shoe. It’s definitely had an impact on my training, both positive and negative, and I thought I’d share my top tips on moving to a more minimalist shoe!

1. Start small

Taking away the support of a more traditional running shoe will have a lot more impact than you imagine. Don’t go out thinking you’re Scott Jurek and take on your weekly long road run because your legs will put up a fight and you’ll end up doing more damage than good. Start with a couple of miles a couple of times a week and build from there, to allow your lower body to adjust and grow stronger.

2. Warm up

This type of training puts added strain on your lower body but your calf muscles, feet and ankles in particular, and so it’s worth taking the time to fully warm these muscles up to minimise the risk of injury.

3. Stretch!

Similarly, make sure you stretch after you run! Although this is important whatever shoes you run in I think it’s especially important to properly cool down and stretch out the muscles after putting them through their paces in some minimalist or barefoot shoes.

4. Be realistic

If you’re a chronic over pronator or one of those freaky supernators then there’s a certain amount of support you’re going to need from your running shoes and it might just be that you can’t run the whole time in a minimalist shoe like the Mizuno Wave Evo. I think there’s a place for a minimalist shoe in everyone’s wardrobe and if you have a far from neutral gait there’s definitely strength and technique gains to be made, but they may just not be your every day shoe.

5. Assess your technique

Minimalist shoes like the Cursoris or the Levitas are designed for runners with a midfoot strike, and their form is designed to aid this type of technique. If you’re a strong heel striker then it’s likely that you won’t get the benefits from a minimalist shoe and will end up doing yourself more harm than good. It’s worth putting in some technique practise to get the most out of shoes like this. I can recommend the Running School if you’re after some proper lessons!

Do you have any top tips for transitioning to a barefoot or minimalist shoes? Share your advice in the comments.