We have been saying what this article talks about all along, even years before the Vibram 5’s hit the market, back when Vibram came to us to ask us for our thoughts on the early versions. You will see our soapbox rant on this topic over and over again in our blog posts and it is the modus operandi behind our new 2012 Shoe Fit program that will likely launch February 1st in several forms for several professions to meet everyone’s needs.
That modus operandi being that not everyone has a foot type, anatomy or biomechanics to get into minimalist shoes, without a possible cost that is.
In this nicely written article by Cynthia Billhartz Gregorian “Barefoot running: Sales grow, but so does debate about benefits, safety” at the link above she lightly covers some of the aspects of the debate. We have read just about every piece that has come out on the barefoot-minimalist trend. Sadly, some of the blogs are mere opinion and it is rare that the honest truth comes out. That truth being our mention above that some folks just do not have the skill, endurance, strength or anatomy to delve into footwear that does not support or protect their physical limitations. Lets be honest, at 5'9’’ I have to come to the realization that no matter how much i practice to be in the NBA I am not going to make it. I just do not have the physical anatomy to be an NBA star. And some people, no matter how much they want to run barefoot or minimalist, just do not have the anatomy to allow it. Someone with a history of foot pain who has a rigid forefoot varus really is not going to do well in minimalist shoes. There are articles written out there that just tell people to bite the bullet and go 100% into their new minimalist shoes, into the natural way they were supposed to run from the very start and force the body to adapt, that the new form they adopt will take care of any problems. Well, in our experienced and educated opinion, that is just not smart. Someone who has a shortened posterior compartment (calf-achilles) after being in heel shoes for years is going to have several flaws biomechanically going to minimalist shoes right off the bat. One example, just one for now, is that the person is going to have premature heel rise and thus premature forefoot loading response around a compromised ankle rocker mechanism. And there are many others of course.
Here is the bottom line as we see it. No shoe company is going to run a commercial or add on their product with the warnings on the cover or in the fine print. We are not talking about cigarettes here. Admitting that some people should not be in their product would be admitting that the product has limitations and risks. What kind of advertising add would that be ? Besides, admitting to limitations or mentioning warnings is a mere step away from liability cases. We are pretty sure of this, after all, look what happened to the Shape Up Shoe in the courts.
Here is what we say to the naysayers, look at the research and use logic. If you are new to the game, leave the extremist blog sites for those that are looking for radical opinions. Because we do not have any openings in our clinics for the next several weeks if you throw caution to the wind.
Good running to you all in 2012, use your head, for the sake of your feet.
Shawn and Ivo
The Gait Guys
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