This just turned up in my alerts “The Re-emergence of the Minimal Running Shoe” …. hmmmm, I was puzzled. I thought the opposite was happening and maybe I had missed a swing back the other way. For example a few months ago, Lower Extremity Review covered it this way: The rise and fall of minimalist footwear. I had to investigate:
The Re-emergence of the Minimal Running Shoe
Irene S. Davis, PT, PhD
Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, Ahead of Print
The running shoe has gone through significant changes since its inception. The purpose of this paper is to review these changes, the majority of which have occurred over the past 50 years. Running footwear began as being very minimal and then evolved to become highly cushioned and supportive. However, over the past 5 years, there has been a reversal of this trend with runners seeking more minimal shoes that allow their feet more natural motion. This abrupt shift towards footwear without cushioning and support has led to reports of injuries associated with minimal footwear. In response to this, the running footwear industry shifted again towards the development of lightweight, partial minimal shoes that offer some support and cushioning. In this paper, studies comparing the mechanics between running in minimal, partial minimal, and traditional shoes are reviewed. The implications for injuries in all 3 conditions are examined. The extension of the use of minimal footwear for other populations besides runners is discussed. Finally, areas for future research into minimal footwear are suggested.
This is actually a good review of the emergence of the minimalist running shoes that occurred from around 2009 and the forces and factors that underpinned it and I enjoyed reading it. For those with access to the full text, it is worth a read.
I need not have worried about missing a new trend that I thought I might have when I first caught the title. The only problem with the above review is that its about a couple of years behind current trends as it does not mention the declining interest in barefoot running and minimalist running shoes that has been occurring since around at least mid- to late 2012. Sales of minimalist shoes have declined pretty much every month since then to the point where minimalist running shoes probably now only make up around 3-5% of the running shoe market. The trend has gone all the way to the super maximal cushioned running shoes to the point now where the super cushioned Hoka One One running shoes probably now outsell the entire minimalist category of running shoes.
As always, I go where the evidence takes me until convinced otherwise…and it does not matter what you and I might think about all this….. runners have voted with their feet.
Davis IS (2014). The Re-emergence of the Minimal Running Shoe. The Journal of orthopaedic and sports physical therapy, 1-19 PMID: 25211531