File this under “Things that make me go AAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!”
This just in, another article about barefoot vs. minimalist vs. maximalist that really just demonstrates unclear thinking.
The article: “Maximalist Shoes: The Latest Running Craze?” would be better if it started without the question mark.
But, more importantly, it makes the same mistakes you’ll see over and over and over and over (pardon my repetitive redundancy and repetition).
First, in conflates barefoot with minimalist by including both ideas in the same article without delineating the differences.
For the record: Barefoot = NO SHOES
Minimalist = SOME SHOES
(I’d argue, of course, that Xero Shoes are as close to barefoot as you’ll get, and dramatically closer than any “minimalist shoe”)
No barefoot runner, myself included, has ever suggested that the benefits we think come from being barefoot are attainable in a minimalist shoe.
Interestingly, the article says that world-champion runner, Leo Manzano:
… still sometimes runs barefoot to keep his feet strong
The article focuses on Leo, who now wears Hoka maximalist shoes for some of his training.
The real dishonest thing about the article, though, is using Leo’s experience getting benefits from maximalist shoes while simultaneously bashing barefoot.
Why is an anecdote about Leo more relevant than any of the similar anecdotes from the barefoot world? Leo, it says, got rid of his plantar fasciitis wearing Hokas.
Okay… but was it the Hokas that did it? Was it something different he was doing in the Hokas? What about all the barefooters who’ve gotten rid of PF by taking off their shoes? What about the people for whom PF simply cleared up on its own? What about the people who had PF symptoms but were really suffering from tight calves?
Why do articles continue to quote doctors who say that “barefoot = injury” despite proof of that claim, and allow stories about “maximalist = healthy running” without any proof.
I’ve had the pleasure of watching Leo run before he turned pro. He’s a great runner. As I mentioned, a world-champion. He is not like the vast majority of recreational, or even competitive runners. So what Leo does is, possibly, completely meaningless for you and me (especially me, since I’m a sprinter).
It’s no secret that running shoe companies have NEVER in their 45 year history proven that their products reduce injuries — 50% of runners and 80% of marathoners get injured every year, despite the changes in “technology” in running shoes. You would think that, given the $6 BILLION spent on running shoes every year, that some company would want to prove, once and for all, that their shoes are, at the very least, better than other shoes.
Still hasn’t happened. And my bet it is on: never will.