In recent years a barefoot running subculture has developed, with people drawn to it in the hope of developing a natural running style. Running shoe companies were slow to respond, but in the last
couple of years there has been an abundance of advertising proclaiming 'barefoot' or 'minimalist' running shoes. For obvious reasons anyone wearing a pair of running shoes is not barefoot running.
There is a place for barefoot running drills in everyone's regular running training. However very few people have the luxury of living in an environment where all their training can take place
barefoot. Footwear selection is vital in developing a more natural running style and therefore particular attention must be paid to the selection of running shoes.
Vibram Fivefingers are excellent shoes which can assist in developing natural running form, however only a seasoned natural runner ought to be considering long distances in these shoes. Newton make well cushioned zero differential shoes. Whilst a superb choice of shoe to assist in the transition to natural running these can hardly be classified as a minimalist shoe. Inov8 make a range of minimalist running shoes with decreasing levels of differentiation which can help progress the runner in the early transition to a more natural style. For those wanting to further their development Vivobarefoot make a range of everyday shoes that allow the natural runner to remain on a zero differential platform throughout the day, even whilst at work.
With all these choices, we feel that runners should seek independent advice to ensure that they use footwear appropriate to their experience and running environment as well as the distances covered. Read more on our blog at http://naturalrunningform.wordpress.com.