Minimalist Running Shoes & Orthosis – The Best of Both Worlds

When minimalist running first hit popular running, we warned to some of the obvious challenges and dangers of doing so.  Traditional running shoe companies, like Nike & Newton, rushed to design new shoes to simulate the barefoot experience while protecting the foot. The most interesting of these shoes are probably the Vibram Five Fingers®, which according to ‘Born to Run’ are modified deck shoes originally designed for sailors.  We caught news of a lawsuit against the company quite a while back and are keeping an eye out for the results of that litigation.


Regardless, there are many runners whose feet and body mechanics excel without foot wear.  There are many college running coaches who utilize barefoot running as part of the training regime.  While there are more and more runners trying barefoot and a few historical instances of marathon runners finishing barefoot, not everyone has feet that are up to the task.  Anyone, barefoot or shod, can sustain a running injury and Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists are here to get you healthy again. 


Part of your treatment may involve orthotic therapy.  Inserts that are custom made for your foot and your mechanics have long been part of your podiatrist’s arsenal. Since orthotic therapy is contraindicated with Five Fingers, you may be thinking of abandoning your expensive device or avoiding your Austin podiatrist’s recommendations.  Since most of us spend a good eight hours or more a day at a job that probably requires footwear, living you life like the Tarahumara is not a likely option.  Just like the college athlete utilizing barefoot running in their training, you won’t see them attending classes without shoes on or completing any competitive running barefoot.  Similarly, you should be sure to utilize your orthotics in your shoes.  They are specially designed to address the structural abnormality affecting your foot that was causing your discomfort.  By using your orthosis throughout the day and slowly transition part of you run to using these minimalist shoes.   You can avoid many common injuries by going barefoot for short periods of training.


Dr. Craig H. Thomajan, DPM, FACFAS, FAENS
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Founder and Managing Partner of Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists
I have really liked wearing minimalist shoes when I run. I have been training for a race, and they are some of my favorite shoes to wear. However, I have really flat feet, and it hurts my feet after a while to wear these shoes. I would really like to get some orthotics, I have heard they are incredibly helpful in preventing foot pain. I will probably try them out soon to see if they can help me out!
by Grant Harper February 23, 2015 at 04:11 PM
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