The Pros and Cons of Minimalist Running

The Challenges of Minimalist Running

Coster reminds runners that, when it comes to minimalist running, "You have to work on it like anything else."

It's important to start slow, he explains.

"Universally, the biggest mistake we see is for people to take on minimalist running too quickly. They'll just go buy a pair of racing flats and swap them with their old shoes," he says. "Your body will need time to adapt."

Another mistake that many runners make when taking up minimalist running is that they run exclusively on concrete and asphalt. These surfaces are hard on the body, as opposed to grass or dirt, which can help smooth the transition to minimalist running.

More: How to Transition to Minimal Shoes

"It's not so much the pounding from the impact," Coster says. "It's the rotational forces and the acceleration of the foot's interaction with the ground that are the big things."

Going out too quickly or spending too much time on hard surfaces can create problems for the minimalist runner that will prevent them from enjoying any benefits.

"Metatarsal stress fractures are common," Coster reports. "Those usually develop in runners who have not developed enough foot strength. We also see some of the ailments that are common in all runners, like tendonitis, but they come on quicker with minimalist running.

"In this case, going slow is the best way to go."

More: Best Tips for Barefoot Running

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