Minimalism: What is it?

Hey friends!

Sorry for the short disappearance. I had work to do, unfortunately. College kills me sometimes.

Obviously, today’s post is part of my Minimalism series.

A lot of people know about “minimalism”, but some assume it’s just about crazy people running barefoot through the woods.

Others associate it with those funny, sometimes colorful foot gloves that people wear. The “FiveFingers”.

Some say it’s a trend, some think it’s here to stay. But what is it?!

Minimalism is distinct from barefoot running, first of all. While barefoot running is a type of extreme minimalism, I believe that you can be a minimalist without running barefoot. Let’s be specific on what barefoot running is – it is, essentially, running in your bare feet or with socks on.

I do not think that running in Vibram Fivefingers is barefoot running. I think it’s minimalist running. Yes, the shoe is “barely there”, but it’s still a shoe. But a minimal shoe.

So anyways, back to minimalist running.

Happy minimalist!

A minimalist runner can define a range of people – but they all have one thing in common. They use shoes that allow the foot to work in a more natural way. This can be done by significantly less shoe, a wider toebox, and a lower heel-to-toe drop.

What does this do? By having significantly less shoe, it allows your feet to feel. Our feet are extremely sensitive, but putting a bulky running shoe takes away from that – essentially, it’s like blinding an explorer. When you have less shoe, your feet can feel the ground, feel the impact of it, and react, adjusting your stride and impact better and more naturally to fit the kind of surface your running on. Minimalist runners often strike the ground on their forefoot or midfoot, as opposed to traditionally shod runners, who may heel strike, which is harder on the joints.

A wider toebox allows the feet to work more, strengthening the feet. And when you strengthen the feet, you strengthen the arch of the foot, which was evolved to be shock absorbent. I’ve seen a lot of minimalist runners who had problems with collapsing arches in shoes have this condition get better when their foot was allowed to earn its keep.

The lower heel to toe drop reduces the chance of heel striking, and allows the calf muscle to lengthen, more efficiently mimicking a barefoot stride.

Merrell minimalist shoes are perfect examples of an ideal minimalist shoe!

There are varying levels of minimalist shoes, which I’ll go over next week. I hope you enjoyed this for now, and if you’re thinking about transitioning to minimalism, please remember that it must be GRADUAL. GRADUAL, GRADUAL, GRADUAL. Or else, you could seriously hurt yourself. I will be talking about the transition eventually, but for now, if you’re seriously thinking about minimalist or barefoot running, or just interested/want to check my facts, look at this website from Harvard:

http://www.barefootrunning.fas.harvard.edu/index.html

Lots of science has gone into their study, and this is where I got most of my facts. I hope you enjoy! Have a great Sunday friends! 🙂

Any questions about minimalism? Have you ever incorporated some barefoot work? How’s the weather where you are?

It’s snowing here, so I’m off to the gym for a 10 miler.. My mind may implode.

Chelsea

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10 thoughts on “Minimalism: What is it?

  1. great post chelsea!! I think minimalism is pretty cool, I hate people who are all up on their high horse about it (you’re not one of them obviously) because it’s more where your feet land in relation to your body that determines how your foot hits the ground. I am lucky to be a natural midfoot striker, so I haven’t tried minimalist shoes, but I do often do my post-run strides and drills barefoot so that has the same effect on my arches, and I love it!! I really can’t wait till I’m healthy enough to be doing all that again. And I defs love the lighter shoes! I’m wearing Mizuno Wave Enigma right now, which is definitely light but not quiiiiiiite minimalist lol.

    • Thanks Kate! I totally love the way you put that.. It’s all about form, and for some people barefootedness/minimalism is the way to get that form. Some people have it naturally, like you, and I’m jealous. 🙂 I had to relearn running form completely and minimalism helped with it, so it works for me.

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