What is YOUR experience of minimalist running?

I'm looking for some feedback from other runners who have ran in minimalist footwear - testimonials etc.

My wife and I are writing a webpage about minimalist running which will be published next week (we author www.myrunningtips.com )

We have about 2 years experience - my wife runs exclusively in minimalist footwear while I do most of my running barefoot nowadays and VFF at other times

The research papers and anecdotal evidence circling the web are mostly about runners who got injured (metatarsel fractures, for example) and we have little said about runners who have had a positive experience when going minimalist (maybe you have?)

As we understand it the underlining issue with the runners who injured themselves was that they failed to transition slowly enough for the bones and muscles to recover - in fact many of the runners we read about continued to run their normal weekly mileage (30-40 miles) when transitioning to minimalist footwear... oh my..!

I'm sure there are runners on here who have had good and bad experiences from running in minimalist footwear and with this in mind I wondered if you would share these experiences with us...

[Our own experience of running in minimalist footwear has been good. I have personally overcome an old knee problem by running both barefoot and minimalist vs conventional shoes. My wife Julie has had less ankle troubles - she used to have support bandages on her ankles constantly when she ran in padded shoes, now she has been bandage free for many months]

- BUT rather than giving our readers the benefit of only our own experiences, we also need some feedback from folks like you to give us a more complete picture

So feel free to tell us your experiences (good or bad) and be sure to include as much detail as you wish.

Thanks in advance for your replies

PS. I will link my page to this page when the posts appear, I won't just use your posts on my site.

Andy and Julie


  • I was an avid athlete all through my school years. However, once in college I didn't have time to be active. Then I got married shortly after, and then came kids. Before I realized it, I was 31 years old and about 35 pounds over weight. That may not sound like much, but on a 5'-5" frame it is huge. I chose to start running again to shed the pounds. I did what many people returning to running do. I went to a running specialty store and got videoed on a treadmill and fitted for the "perfect" running shoe. I started up slowly only running 2 miles at a time, but within 3 weeks I was starting to get pain in my shins, knees, hips, and lower back. Six months into it, it had gotten to the point where I had to put frozen peas on my shins and take NSAIDs after each run. I thought I needed better shoes. At least that is what all the fancy shoe manufacturer adds were suggesting. I went to another running specialty to get fitted to another "perfect" shoe. I left the store with some $200 shoes and a promise that they would solve all my problems. The next day I laced up and went out in the new shoes for the first time. By the time I was 3/4 a mile into the run my shins hurt so bad I thought they were on fire. I was so furious I took the shoes off and ran back home in only my socks. Amazingly, by the time I got home my shins felt so much better. I though how is this possible? Later that night I Googled for Barefoot Running and a whole new world opened up for me. Within a week I owned my first pair of Vibram KSOs. I slowly started to run in the KSOs. Since it completely changed my running form and targeted different muscles, I was extremely sore, but not hurting. With more research I discovered Pose Method running by Dr. Nicholas Romanov. I attended a training course in Pose Method running 4 months into my transition. That was the best money I ever spent. It corrected all my form problems and eliminated the last bit of my running pains. It also got me to slow down to prevent future stress fractures. I had one setback that taught me some very valuable lessons. Back in 2010 I broke my foot in a hiking accident. Because my feet had became so strong from VFFs all the muscles and ligaments set the bones back into proper position. This prevented me from having surgery. The Orthopedic doctor was amazed at how strong my feet were and how fast I healed. He didn't even prescribe physical therapy for me. I made a thread about it and documented my recovery here -->  https://forum.birthdayshoes.com/barefoot-activities/hey-look-it-matches-my-red-bikilas!/

    So, I've been running in VFFs for years and have never looked back. I know I would not be running now if it were not for discovering barefoot running form and VFFs. I owe my health and life to minimalist running.
  • this is my recent post (just today)

    I'm still committed to this and I believe its right for me. I just think I clearly did it wrong and that is why I injured myself. I do believe I transitioned slowly but I did not run with proper form. :(
  • If you are struggling with running form I can give no higher recommendation than a certified Pose Method running coach. Most offer reduced cost "mini-clinics" if funds are tight. Although a full running clinic is the best, many form issues can be resolved in a mini-clinic. See below link for a list of instructors in an area near you. I don't have any financial interest in Pose, I'm just a completely transformed and happy runner.

  • my introduction:

    my 13 year old daughter used to have knee pain after her athletics training even with specially adapted inner soles in her padded shoes .
    She bought herself a pair of VFF because they looked cool.
    Of course she couldnt resist training on her brandnew VFF, and found out that the knee problems basically disappeared .  ???
    i dont think she has trained on padded shoes after that ( 3-4 training a week for about a year now)
    she has a natural forefoot strike, so adjusting to the VFF took her a couple of weeks.

    me i am still struggling after 4 months :D
    i used to have knee and back pains running on padded shoes, to my amazement so far both my knees and back are just fine.
    i am just doing a lazy 12 miles a week , so i am not claiming succes yet,
    but barefoot running got me back to running,
    i have tried a couple of runs on padded shoes, but after the VFF they feel so restricting that it takes the fun out of running.
  • on 1377681439:

    i have tried a couple of runs on padded shoes, but after the VFF they feel so restricting that it takes the fun out of running.

    What I find is that the toe box of most shoes (even VivoBarefoots) is not wide enough to allow my toes to splay the way they have now become accustomed to. I have narrow feet and low arches, but benefit from the toe spread that VFFs give you.

    (I'm not a runner.)
  • Sorry I haven't posted back sooner, some really good responses thank you.

    Thought I'd let you know,

    We have written 2 pages about minimalist running since I posted last but the page I want to link this thread with has been put on the "back burner" for a month. We just need to polish up on some research before we finalise the page and these things can take time

    In the meantime we have published 2 pages regarding minimalist running - one which explains the best way to make the transition to a minimalist shoe and another which is a guide to buying them:



    Feel free to have a look!

    I'll pop back when we publish the "minimalist running debate" page ;-)

  • Running is a highly personal thing. It is generally not advised to tell someone that they are running wrong. This normally doesn't end well. When people do ask me about my minimalist running I tell them that it is not necessarily for everyone, but if they are interested in it I will talk to them about it.
  • Well I hated running at school, and I was also told I ran "flat footed" and "like a duck." So it wasn't my favourite pastime...

    Years later I bought some barefoot shoes - Vivobarefoots - mostly for casual walking about, and I liked them so much now I only wear barefoot shoes. I've been wearing them exclusively these past four years. I have Vibram Fivefingers, Vivobarefoots and Freet shoes.  I like how they don't crush my toes up like other women's shoes do, (most shoes and trainers are always too stupidly narrow and leave blisters on my toes) My knees have felt better as well.

    I have ran a bit in them, (I did a gently-paced 5k one year, after a 2-3 month period of slow breaking in to barefoot)  and actually discovered that running is not so bad, and enjoyable with such light, minimal shoes on. I don't like jogging so much, but I do like to sprint in my Vibrams.  I run very little though, but even then have never experienced any injury from the shoes at all. If anything though I can walk much further than before, because my toes no longer cramp up after a short distance, as they used to in skate shoes / trainers.
  • on 1381417217:

    Well I hated running at school, and I was also told I ran "flat footed" and "like a duck." So it wasn't my favourite pastime...

    I also "ran like a duck", my legs having lots of lateral movement. I hated cross-country with a passion and would normally be last back in, having walked most of the way.
  • Former duck runner here as well, but I suspect it was mostly due to the huge sneakers I was wearing. I have much better form with VFF's.
  • The orthopedic shoes have really given me pain relief from my year long battle with orthopedic. I have are so comfortable and really helps my orthopedic fastidious. Able to walk now even long distances without much pain. Will definitely be buying another pair from orthofeet! I would recommend them to anyone with any kind of foot pain. Wonderful support all the way around.
Sign In or Register to comment.