Minimalist shoes, worth it or a risk.

Im slightly overweight after spending the summer recovering from a knee op.  Ive had meniscectomy on both my right and left knees.  I am really enjoying my running since beig able to doso again but about a week and a half ago I pulled my calf, not too badly but will probably take another week or so to be OK to start again.


I have been looking at minimalist shoes and was wodnering if they are a good idea?  I have a fairly neutral gait and run in Pegasus 28's.  I am 'heavier' being about 87kg just now but once I lose my injury weight I will be about 84ish.


Question I have is whether minimalist shoes would be a good idea?  I have been looking at kinvara as they seem to have a good write up and there are some decent deals on them.  I have read about using them sparingly at first and building up but with my knees and weight are they a good idea?


Any advice or recommendations would be much appreciated, thanks.


  • XX1XX1 ✭✭✭

    What are you hoping to achieve from running minimalist shoes?

  • The main thing that I am hoping to achieve is a better/more efficient running technique and stronger calfs etc.  


    I will hopefully be playing football again in the next couple of months so I normally run to and from and have recovery runs in betweeen training and games.  Havent given up on football just yet so it is the main focus but was thinking something minimalist would give me a bit more from my recovery runs etc.

  • RicFRicF ✭✭✭

    If you have any respect for your knees, you'll give up football. They've given you one warning already which is why you needed surgery on them.

  • The common mistake many people make when transitioning to a more minimalist shoe/ style is that they don't give themselves enough time to allow the body to adapt to the change.

    Often less heel-toe drop in a shoe coincides with a move forward of where the foot strikes the ground, a more foreward strike will put more pressure on your calves and that's why you'll find plenty of people with PF, achillies tendonitis or shin splints after trying a more minimal shoe.

    Basicly if you want to give it a go I'd say be prepared to drop your milage back by quite a bit at first and then gradually bring it back to where it was before. It may feel frustrating or like a step back, but give up a few months to getting that transition right and you will reap the benefit of years of running with a more efficient, more joint friendly style.


  • Agree with all that's been send however, would like to add to the question...

    I'm currently transitioning to VFF Bikilas - up to 5 miles today image In 3 weeks I'll be starting Marathon training in 'proper' running shoes.

    My 'plan' is to do my recovery runs in the VFF's and build up my MLR in them as well leaving my speedwork, LSR in 'proper' shoes - is this liable to cause more issues?

  • Depends on you fella, VFFs are a whole different kettle of fish. I would just go with maximum caution.

    Slowly slowly cathie monkey!


  • I have been told I need some support and have run in brooks adrenaline and adidas supernova. Always had problems with my hip/ glute medius. About a year ago I bought a pair of cheap kinvaras to try. I really liked them and didn't find i needed much of a transition period - have now run up to marathon distance and don't use anything else unless doing xc. I also have very few problems with my hip now.

    I am a fairly light runner but not natural midfoot striker, find I run a bit more mid foot in the kinvaras without trying 

  • RicF I know what you are saying, Ive had that thought already and if it means that playing football means that I will not be able to run/keep fit I will be giving it up.  I do however love football and played for 12 years on the other knee with a similar op without any bother.  I am going to take it easy though, starting off with a few light games of 7s and then consider going back to my amateur team.


    Im thinking the Kinvaras, not really wanting to go as far as VFFs unless anyone has any other suggestions?

  • XX1XX1 ✭✭✭

    DT17 -- I get where you are coming from in terms of your decision to try out minimalist shoes...  I think it's important for you to understand what a "better/more efficient running technique" actually is, as theoretically you could achieve that In structured shoes.

    I wasn't aware that a mid/fore foot strike would equal more pressure on the calfs but I could be wrong on that...  I thought it was the smaller heel-to-toe drop, that allows the calf to elongate more when the heel hits the ground, that causes more pressure on the calfs.

    Totally agree though that you should at least cut right back on the training, or possibly even start from scratch and build back up again.  Good luck all the same...  Do come back at some point and let us know how you get on image

  • Thanks Taxi, I have read that due to the lack of cusioning you change your technique to more forefoot strick and with the heeldrop means the calf is under more pressure.  I know that this can probably be done in normal trainers (which is how I managed to injure my calf a couple of weeks ago).


    Now, which trainers to go for???

  • I know nothing about minimalist shoes but....

    Why don't you try transitioning to a mid/forefoot strike before you buy new shoes; then, if you find the change in style comfortable and it's not causing you any problems, buy some new shoes.

  • Lou, I see where your coming from however, I'm currently transitioning to running in bikilas and find downhill tough, I imagine it would be even tougher mid/forefoot striking downhill in 'normal' shoes with built up heels? I'm sure peeps manage it though?

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