U.S. Army MWR

Running Shoes: Traditional Vs. Minimal

Traditional Running Shoes
Between work and Family life for a Soldier, it’s important to stay in good shape, both for your job and your personal health. While there are a variety of ways to do this, running is one of the best and one most soldiers have had a lot of practice at over their time in the military. However, a debate has been raging in recent years over what types of running shoes are better for a Soldier’s feet.

A new invention in running shoe design is known as the barefoot running shoe, or minimalist running shoes, in which the whole foot is allowed to hit the ground mirroring the way a runner’s foot would touch the ground if they weren’t wearing shoes. This is supposed to be one of the purest forms of running that will give your legs the best work out and not make you have to move in an unnatural way, as the bulkiness of running shoes make you do. The barefoot shoes wrap around the foot very closely and offer a very minimal amount of cushion, mainly protecting the foot from sharp or small hard objects that you may step on when you are running.

However, despite the growing popularity of these minimalist running shoes, a 10 week study published in the Human Performance Resources Center showed signs of injury to their foot bones, while runners who used traditional shoes showed none of these injuries. The types of injuries that runners showed were early signs of inflammation, which may be an early sign of joint dysfunction, though that is not always the case. While more factors need to be evaluated through research to see what exactly the cause of the symptoms were, it may have to do with the lower amount of cushion on the shoe itself and the style associated with barefoot running.

In other words, if you’re planning on doing any long distance running this year or training for it, wear regular running shoes as opposed to the barefoot ones at this point, so that you don’t run any risk of injuring your foot, something which could cause you real problems in the future. For more lifestyle advice regarding what types of running shoes to wear, entertainment, sports, travel or dining ideas, contact your local Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR).

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