What happened to minimalist running?

My local running store RunningFit is having a panel tonight on "Whatever Happened to Minimalist Running?"

Here's the hook for getting you to come to their "clinic".

A few years ago, all we heard in the running world were the phrases "Minimalist Running!" and "Barefoot Running!" Well, what happened?

..listen and interact with a panel of minimalist aficianados, those who have returned to traditional footwear...

First off, it sounds like they've already figured out what has happened to minimalist running -- it's dead. People have migrated back to wearing shoes and they are happy about it.

This isn't true of course, but it makes for some enjoyable "me too" discourse.

What really happened? Many folks read Born to Run and came away with the impression that running barefoot, or with minimalist shoes, would resolve their injury issues or make them a better runner.

Those people acted on their feelings: some ran barefoot and promptly got hurt, others bought "barefoot shoes" and promptly got hurt.

Meanwhile running stores were grumpily forced to sell those barefoot toe shoe things. I've gotten the impression that most stores have always been uncomfortable selling anything not seen as a typical running shoe.


Minimalist and barefoot running is not a panacea. There is a significant amount of damage you can do to yourself by pursuing it, especially pursuing it zealously.

Minimalist running usually means changing your stride from a heel strike to a forefoot/mid-foot strike. That change alone, even if done in typical running sneakers, is enough to take 6 months to a year. That's no easy task, nor one that should be undertaken lightly.

So, what has really happened to minimalist running? Nothing.

It's still here, it's still thriving. Maybe it's not as in your face anymore. Ken Bob has been running barefoot for decades and running his website since the late 90's.

At the end of the day, do what works for you. Do understand though that what works for you, may not work for others.