Around 2009 there started a trend within the running community towards barefoot running. The craze was to dispose of the arch supporting and padded athletic shoes as they were considered the main cause of most of the injuries that runners had been getting. The fad was supported and touted by a lot of so-called gurus, websites, community forums as well as books. It was heavily offered as the response to almost all of the issues that runners experienced. It was approximated that up to around a quarter of all runners dabbled with the reasoning behind barefoot or minimalist running at the time. Despite most of the rhetoric and claims made for barefoot running, the science and research did not support these claims which were being made. For most of those athletes that tried it, the advantages failed to materialise, and so they returned to running in what they were used to be exercising in. Athletes gradually dropped interest in it and regardless of all the hype and the amount of promotion which was directed at it, the craze began falling by end of 2014 and these days it seldom rates a mention with the exception of historical terms and also by a tiny hardcore group which still undertake it and continue to encourage for it.

The popularity did encourage a great deal of barefoot running shoes which is a dose of a contradiction because how could you be barefoot and still have athletic shoes. However, these types of running shoes at the time were designed to be so minimal and have little cushioning like the conventional running shoes. They were actually simply protective covering of the feet. It had been believed that when by using these kinds of footwear that they are as close as you can get to running barefoot whilst still using some kind of running shoe. There were a great deal of new entrants in to the running shoe market within the back of this craze as the standard running shoe corporations ended up relatively sluggish to react to the change in the market. The standard running footwear companies did respond with additional minimalist shoes at that time. Since that time several of the new entrants have left the market and the range of barefoot running shoes provided by the bigger athletic shoes businesses have been significantly decreased because the interest in these shoes have decreased to the magnitude that they currently comprise much less than 1% with the athletic shoes industry.

Although there isn’t any longer much interest, if any, in barefoot running shoes, there’s a legacy how the novelty has left within the industry. Runners are definitely more aware of the different design characteristics in running shoes such as the magnitude of padding and also the elevation with the cushioned back heel. There are some of the minimalist design features that have been incorporated into the more traditional running shoes. All the different running shoes now available on the market is now much more substantial which range from the minimalist end up to the more padded maximalist end of the range. There isn’t any doubt that the novelty has left a legacy.

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Craig Payne Author
University lecturer, runner, cynic, researcher, skeptic, forum admin, woo basher, clinician, rabble-rouser, blogger, dad.