The Minimalist shoe Rating Scale and Definition

Last year we were two of 42 experts worldwide from 11 countries asked to participate and offer our thoughts in an investigation whose goal it was to come up with a rating scale and definition for minimalist shoes. 

Here is that study: 

A consensus definition and rating scale for minimalist shoes.  Jean-Francois Esculier123, Blaise Dubois13, Clermont E. Dionne14, Jean Leblond2 andJean-Sébastien Roy.   Journal of Foot and Ankle Research 2015, 8:42 

here is a link for that study:

This study was performed by very capable and respected folks so you should pay attention. 

Here was their background statement:

“While minimalist running shoes may have an influence on running biomechanics and on the incidence of overuse injuries, the term “minimalist” is currently used without standardisation. The objectives of this study were to reach a consensus on a standard definition of minimalist running shoes, and to develop and validate a rating scale that could be used to determine the degree of minimalism of running shoes, the Minimalist Index (MI).”

We might not do the study justice if we paraphrased the conclusions, so here they are as written,

“The following definition of minimalist shoes was agreed upon by 95 % of participants: “Footwear providing minimal interference with the natural movement of the foot due to its high flexibility, low heel to toe drop, weight and stack height, and the absence of motion control and stability devices”. Characteristics to be included in MI were weight, flexibility, heel to toe drop, stack height and motion control/stability devices, each subscale carrying equal weighing (20 %) on final score.”

So why is this study important ? Well, it creates a common term, a standardized definition, we can all agree upon which is paramount for clear communication amongst professionals in fields (shoe fitters, shoe fabricators, clinicians and researchers) who are dealing with these types of shoes. This study also create a rating scale that will be meaningful to all users in all related fields, again allowing a common dialogue with standardized meaning. From this study they wisely recommended “the shoe industry use such standardised ratings to orientate the running community when selecting their running shoes”.  

This is an important study, it should be part of your knowledge and vocabulary. You should familiarize yourself to the rating scale. 

Shawn and Ivo, the gait guys