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Nike, New Balance, And More Bring Barefoot Running To Their Soles

Below is an article that appeared on Fast Company’s website demonstrating that shoe manufactures (even Nike!!) are continuing to produce minimalist shoes or “barefoot running” shoes.   It’s pretty clear that the shoe industry has been effected by this movement.  We have demonstrated and continue to demonstrate that the old paradigm of prescribing a shoe based on arch height is no longer indicated, and that form matters more in running injuries.  We have many options to choose from now and even those options are constantly being refined creating outstanding shoes.  I am excited about the literature that is being written now on running shoes and injuries and look forward to more in the months to come.  As always I will do my best to update the public and medical profession on these studies and continue to help runners.  I like to think that things are just getting started here…..

MARCH 18, 2013

At first, the barefoot running movement seemed to threaten shoe companies. If runners believed cushions could induce injuries–by throwing off our feet’s natural balance–how can that be monetized? The answer: cleverly. Vibram did it in 2005 with its toe-hugging FiveFingers shoes; others followed. The latest from industry heavyweights and smart upstarts take many forms.

(From image; top to bottom)

[1] Iguaneye

Designer Olivier Taco modeled the Iguaneye slip-on shoe after Amazonian jungle-dwellers, who created the first rubber shoes by dipping their feet in latex from the Hevea tree. The single-piece shoe (no seams, no glue) shields the foot, and a cork insole sits atop ventilation channels. ($67, iguaneye.com)

[2] Topo Athletic

Japanese tabi shoes have long given outdoor workers agility by separating the big toe from the foot. Topo Athletic–a new brand by Tony Post, former CEO of Vibram U.S.A.–has adapted this trick for runners. “The shoe feels more connected to your body, and ultimately more secure,” Post says. ($100, topoathletic.com)

[3] New Balance Hi-Rez

These paper-light runners weigh in at a sprightly 3.9 ounces, compared to the 12 ounces of a standard shoe. New Balance ditched the single block of foam that usually make up the sole, instead crafting one from 42 independent rubber pods that flex in closer union with the foot.($120, newbalance.com)

[4] Nike Studio Wrap

Yoga and Pilates are strictly practiced without shoes. But Nike argues that our bare feet lack proper traction, not to mention support. It created a modular shoe that morphs from a washable neoprene wrap into a shoe for trekking home from the studio. ($110, nike.com)

[Photo by Kent Larsson]

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