Going for the drop

Published 6th December 2020 by mymo

At mymo, we are here to help you find your perfect running shoes and that is a personal thing that takes practice. We recently shared a piece about the ways in which people run, and how that differs depending on biomechanics, experience and previous injuries.

Some runners choose to switch to ‘barefoot’ or minimalist running shoes for a variety of reasons, but there are things to consider if you’re making the switch.

What is barefoot running?

It’s not always exactly as it sounds! While you might see runners going completely barefoot, just like legendary athlete Zola Budd, it can be simply running in zero drop minimalist shoes like Vivobarefoot or more traditional huarache-style sandals. Running without shoes is your most natural way of running, which is why mymo measures your gait without the need for shoes. If you are thinking of making the switch, there are definitely some factors to consider.

Why do people run barefoot or in minimalist shoes?

It’s often thought that the most efficient runners are those able to run ‘on the toes’ or on the midfoot, which minimalist shoes are often able to promote. Running coach Anji Andrews specialises in running technique and often finds people are driven to learn to run in this way. “I often get runners coming to me who naturally heel strike, and they want to learn to run from their toes as if it’s a magic recipe to go faster. Arguably, changing the way you run might have the opposite effect and cause you an injury. I would always stay on the side of ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. 

I really want to give it a go

If you’ve done a bit of background reading and decided it could be for you, it’s really important to make the switch carefully if you’re moving from standard trainers to those with zero/low drop or completely minimalist. Zero drop shoes are going to stress your legs and feet in different ways and they require training to avoid injury. You will need first of all to make sure the footwear you choose is suitable for the surfaces you regularly run on and that they are not going to cause you an injury. Next, seek out a strength programme that works specifically on strengthening ankles, feet, Achilles and calves as they are all going to take a different type of load as your body adjusts. There are some great online training examples or you can speak to a running specialist like our very own Sophie Marr and Kev Jeffress.

Finally, take your time over it. It’s not a good idea to switch overnight so take your time by doing portions of your runs in minimalist footwear before building up the time on your feet. 

What are the best brands out there?

At mymo we are impartial and we don’t have favourites, but often we hear Vivobarefoot, Vibram Five Fingers and Merrel are great places to start. All are developing ranges far beyond standard barefoot shoes such as those that can be worn on the trail. Many bigger brands have caught on to the trend over the years, so it’s worth searching brands such as Asics for their own take on the minimalist shoe too, especially if you have found their traditional trainers work for you.   

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