The weather is finally starting to cool down in South Florida. The dreaded long hot days of the summer are at an end for at least a few months, and the short evenings that grace us for the fall are likely to stay rather cool as we move into the last several weeks of the year.
This cool weather will encourage many people to start exercising more, as the 90 degree heat will cause many people to abandon their running plans for a dip in the pool or an afternoon in the A.C. If you are thinking of gearing up for the winter with a new pair of running shoes, be careful. While all the craze in many running communities, the minimalist style shoes that are so popular right now can actually cause some damage to your feet.
The Risk of Injury
There is a risk of injury in just about any activity, and running is no exception. As a high impact activity, running causes you to strike the ground with your foot in a sometimes harsh way. Running on pavement just makes the intensity of this activity worse.
Many running shoes are loaded with padding to reduce foot pain during your run, but in recent years a movement has shifted many runners away from the highly padded “safety first” shoe and into a more sleek and fashionable minimalist design. The design is said to mimic the bare foot, offering basic protection while allowing the foot to strike the ground in a more natural way, thus improving running form.
If you are going to run in minimalist shoes, keep these tips in mind:
- Wear socks with added cushioning around the heel and toes to reduce impact
- Run on grass or sand
- Focus on your form and ease into them
There are many who will attest to the benefits of minimalist shoes, but before you don a pair for a long run, give them a try on a short trail somewhere. Striking the ground with your heel in one of these non-cushioned shoes may cause severe discomfort or even injury. If you are going to run in minimalist shoes, it is essential that you learn proper form first and that you are comfortable landing on your toes to dissipate the impact of your foot hitting the ground.