Saturday, March 26, 2011

Injured Running in Minimalist Running Shoes – Don’t Blame the Shoes

I’ve written about this before, but the message is worth repeating.

I’m hearing a lot more about people getting injured running in minimalist running shoes.  Frankly I’m not surprised. However, it’s not shoes, it’s the way people are running in them.  Here are my “rules” for minimalist running.
  • If you don’t have good technique, then don’t do long or hard workouts in minimalist running shoes.
  • If you don’t have good technique, and you do a lot of running in minimalist running shoes, then don’t blame the shoes for your injuries, blame yourself.
  • Don’t believe for one minute that just putting on minimalist shoes is going to “force” you to adopt good technique. This is wishful thinking by people too lazy to invest in their running technique.
  • Learn how to run with good technique! Then you’ll be able to wear almost anything you want when you run. Within reason of course.
Almost every week I see someone running Vibrams. I have yet to randomly spot a runner in Vibrams who wasn’t landing on his or her heels.  Sometimes they are landing so hard, it takes every bit of self-control I can muster not to tackle the runner in question, and start lecturing him or her on technique.  Of course I don’t do this, I couldn’t afford the law suits, nor do I like getting beaten up. But the take away is that it’s not about the shoes it’s about the technique. If your technique is crap, then minimalist shoes are not going magically improve your crappy technique.


  1. So you've blamed people but don't offer any tips on running technique...nice job coach

  2. Perhaps you didn't notice, but this whole blog is about tips on running technique.

    If you are going to criticize, you have an obligation to have some idea of what you are talking about. Nice job Jesse!

  3. I agree, dont blame anything specially your shoes because it wont help you develop your technique in running. Rather, just focus on the training and listen to the running coach, so that you will improve you running technique.

  4. I also agree with this. And aside from the fact that you can't just blame the shoes because its still your choice what will you use in a particular activity. There are lots of choices you can choose from. There are appropriate shoes for running.

  5. For running with proper technique the most appropriate shoes are minimalist shoes or no shoe at all. However, you cannot expect go from wearing modern running shoes and running with poor technique to running with minimal or no shoes and running with good technique overnight. It takes time to build up your attrophied foot muscles, and to learn how to land on your forefoot under your center-of-gravity.

  6. "Of course I don’t do this, I couldn’t afford the law suits, nor do I like getting beaten up"

    Interesting statement, I would've quite welcomed somebody who has a good understanding of running technique to point me in the right direction. I took up POSE running about 6 months ago but only really found out about it by accident, before this I was unaware my technique was so bad and that major improvements could be made.

  7. AndyB - I was just attempting to be humorous. Tackling is not a good way to get someone attention. Unfortunately, when I do have a chance to approach people, very few are interested in hearing my message.

    1. Fair point. My comment sounded better in my head then it did as a post. Anyway, it's good that coaches like yourself have started writing about running technique and helping to make more people aware (for those that are interested anyway) of it.

      POSE has been great for me and I've tried pointing my friends towards websites like this.

    2. Thanks! Please feel free to contact me anytime if you want to ask questions or discuss technique.