Minimalist Shoes: For Everyone?

anatomy foot Jun 06, 2022

Minimalist Shoes for Running

Functions of the foot:

The foot functions to absorb shock as well as to become rigid to propel the body forward.

When the foot strikes the ground, it absorbs shock by moving into pronation and relying on the longitudinal arch to cushion the load.

Conversely, when a foot pushes off to advance the body, it becomes this rigid lever by moving into supination and stacking the bones of the midfoot.

Both of these motions are made possible through muscles, ligaments, and the biomechanics and osteology of the foot.



A minimalist shoe, for better or for worse, will place a greater demand on the articular interactions of the foot and ankle joints.

Here’s where everyone starts to argue.... 




Team minimalist shoes 

Suggests that the human body is inherently capable of adapting to the demands of gait without additional support. 

Sometimes this is true, but there is a significant variability in the structural and functional anatomy of the foot.

Someone with slight rear foot varus and a strong, dynamic medial longitudinal arch may do fine in a minimalist shoe, whereas someone with a generally flat foot may not be as set up for success. 

“But can’t they just strengthen the arch of the foot and adapt?”

...maybe, maybe not...

Is it worth the time? It depends. If you're not sure, it's better to discuss with a professional and have your foot biomechanics and gait pattern assessed before trying to force the barefoot shoe trend on your foot and risk injury.

Bottom line

If minimalist shoes work for you, cool.

If they don’t, cool.

Don’t push the barefoot shoe trend if it’s not working for you; there are many factors, such as foot biomechanics and loading patterns, that play a role.

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