Shoes to suit forefoot running

I recently attended a natural running workshop and have been working to try to change my running style to more of a forefront running style (I was never a great heel striker anyway). I have been looking at shoes that might better encourage this transition (e.g. brooks Purcadence). Anyone got any experience of this style of shoe or of making this transition? Anyone suffered injuries in the process?

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  • I didn't change my shoes, but stupidly one day decided to just switch my footstrike to mid-foot from heel first.

    It was great for the whole 5k.

    But the next day I could hardly move and it took about a week to manage stairs without pain.

    A few weeks later, when I could actually run again, I reverted to my normal style, then then next time I went out I did a C25K style normal run for about 5 minutes, midfoot strike for about 50 steps (couldn't be bothered to actually time everything), back to normal run and so on. I built up from there for a couple of weeks and then was fine with the new running style, but downhill is obviously pretty much the whole foot landing at the same time (as gently as possible under the circumstances).

  • I fell into wearing minimalist shoes by accident, solely because I was hunting desperately for something a bit more ethical than the industry usually offers when I bought my very first running shoes (having started in walking boots). I have to keep running as gentle as possible so forefoot running and lightweight shoes work for me.

    I have Vivobarefoot Trails currently - and they have been the most robust of all my running shoes so far (swapped the laces out for locking elastic, as I usually do now) I also have Brooks Cascadia for harder surfaces (eg when I am planning a longer run entirely on one of the local trails, rather than when I'm dodging tree roots and sloshing through bogs) but they feel a bit clunky to me and seem to encourage a more flat footed gait.

    I bought the Vivobarefoot Trails for less than £30... back in the days before I decided that Sports Direct's practices stank just too much.

    I have been running for 5 years and have yet to sustain an injury...

  • I was running on the road and very stony trail with the dog this Morning in my supposedly-retired ancient Cascadias 🙂

    Forefoot running could be because your calves are tight. That's what I was doing. I transitioned to lower shoe but my physio got me to run heel down first for a while and then to use the entire length of my foot from toe to heel til I got stronger. If I get tired now I revert to that. It makes you run slowly but it sort of stretches out the foot beautifully til you can run on again. I go for a mid strike now.

    It doesn't hurt to have several heights of shoes which you can rotate on your runs

    Which of the vivrams have you got Googleme?

  • Could well be that I have tight calves (despite never being a wearer of high heels) - never got my heels down in a down dog yet. Might be a neurological thing (my professional eye is always looking at whether children habitually tiptoe...) But if my heel hits the ground first when running, I know about it all over for quite a while - and brisk walking is still unpleasantly painful. Delicate little snowflake that I am. I am told I have a tiny stride length.

    I agree that having a variety of shoes seems like a good idea (and not mere rationalisation of acquisitiveness...). Cascadias last night because I was planning to stay entirely on the cycle path (even then I'm on the rougher bit not the more packed down bit... although there's a brief stretch I'd not been on before which had the dreaded (by me) Tarmac but with some bouncy stuff in it and felt more like modern municipal playground. That was nice!)

    I have: Vivobarefoot Trails, Brooks Cascadia (4?) and NB Minimus Trail (although I don't wear these often because the outer broke down very quickly over my big toe joint so they don't feel very supportive just there and more importantly it has created a pocket which fills up with bog)

  • Am a bit wary of going out with so little protection given I mostly run on my tarmac and paved seafront promenade. have a very short stride too.

  • I know quite a few 'barefoot' runners (even a few actual barefoot runners) and Vibram V-runs and V-trails (dep whether they are runing roads or trails, obvs) seem to be the most popular shoes among them.

    The thing all of the successful forefooters I know have in common is that is the way they have run all their lives. They naturally strike like that. My elder son is a natural forefoot striker. No idea why.

    I have also known a great number of people who became very enthusiastic about forefoot striking after reading Born to Run and very passionate about the whole 'evils of the cushioned shoe/conspiracy of Nike' etc - I admit i got all excited about it while reaidng that book, before realsing that it was a blend of fact and fiction rather than pure reportage. I don't thnk I know any that transitioned in the long term from mid-foot/heel striking to forefoot. A goodnumber abandoned the epxerient with injuries, and a surprising number ended up going the opposite way and now advocate Hoka One Ones.

    Not wishing to dampen your enthusiasm. Just tread carefully.

  • I do still drink chia iskiate though, btw

  • My enthusiasm is mixed at best. I don't heel strike but my heel does make contact with the floor, it's more that I am trying more consciously to land with my foot under me instead of in front of me. Midfoot rather than on my toes, in other words. I am not keen to go all the way to neoprene toes and would stick to shoes with pronation control, because they've worked for me.

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