Why are minimalist running shoes bad?

Do you wear minimalist running shoes occasionally or regularly? Well, let’s assume that you wear them for both instances, and you want to ascertain why they are wrong! So, first things first, let’s dive into what is meant by minimalist running shoes & what purpose they serve, ideally.

Minimalist shoes refer to a particular type of shoes designed in such a way that they eliminate the shoe’s implications on gait and the foot. They do have standard features such as minimum padding, zero pitch heels, flexible upper materials, a wide toe box, and minimal arch support. Minimalist running shoes are used by individuals who want soft, lightweight, and zero-drop features.

Whether minimalist shoes are wrong or not is determined by looking at what the shoes are supposed to do for the runner. Shoes are expected to provide enough protection against adverse prevailing temperatures, foreign bodies, undulating terrain, and foot infections, etc.
Minimalist shoes may fall short when worn by people with varied weights.

They may not be ideal for stepping on rocky terrain, and other environments requiring extra health and safety measures. All these points to a possibility for injuries that may occur to you when you decide to go by minimalist shoes. Such damages include plantar fasciitis, arch strain, muscle strain.

Such leaves us with no other option by to conclude the relative lack of proper cushioning, better-sized heel, risks several injuries like forefoot and heel pain, among others.

What are minimalist running shoes?

As mentioned above, minimalist running shoes provide a more negligible effect and changes on gait and the foot. They offer a natural-like feel to your feet. This is because of their standard features such as zero pitch heels, flexible upper materials, a wide toe box, and minimum arch support. There are variations between people that require artificial input.
Minimalist running shoes are preferable to runners who would like to switch from a particular running style to another.

Podiatrists recommend forefoot strike and midfoot strike running when wearing minimalist shoes. Given their minimal cushioning and zero-drop heel level, resorting to a heel strike running technique is discouraged.

Why are barefoot shoes wrong?

Barefoot shoes refer to those types of shoes that have a form and structure that encompasses a zero-drop sole for both the heel and toe. They also have special features designed to replicate the natural foot’s movement. Barefoot shoes have a lightweight upper construction.

They have a wide toe box construction that encourages temperature regulation for drying up moisture. Their sole has a minimalist stack height and super thin minimalist soles.
Barefoot shoes stimulate proprioception, i.e., our feet’ ability to feel the ground.

One disadvantage associated with barefoot shoes is their limited comfort. They have little cushion for heel strikes when walking on rocky terrain and other hard surfaces.

Are barefoot shoes good for being on your feet all day?

Barefoot shoes are suitable for being on your feet all day, considering their features help maintain your feet naturally. For instance, your feet will have a lot of room to flex given a wide surface giving your toes enough space.

Moreover, the whole foot anatomy finds comfortable breathing space, including the bones. Barefoot shoes do not compress your foot into an unusual shape that leaves it prone to blisters and heel pain like plantar fasciitis. It will be apt and appropriate for an athlete to put on barefoot shoes the whole day as they still maintain your feet in a natural state.

What’s a proper minimalist shoe?

Authentic minimalist shoes provide a protective covering to your feet while maintaining more of a natural shape to them. There are four fundamental features that make them versatile and malleable. These are zero pitch heels, flexible upper and sole materials, a wide toe box, and minimum arch support.

Flexible upper material and sole material are vital as they determine the number of issues, such as the shoe weight and foot comfort. Where the upper material is not waterproof, it encourages breathability to your foot such that moisture-wicking and socks drying time speeds up.

A zero pitch heel means an entirely flat sole that benefits your calf muscles from the heel to the toes. Quite familiar with Tom’s minimalist shoes are the flexible sole that bends or can twist in multiple directions.

Minimalist shoes have many pros and cons that influence one’s health. To begin with, the pros for the minimalist shoe are light weighted. A combination of the shoe’s sole, material, and a zero-drop feature helps to explain why you can find them comfortable. They are pretty appropriate if you struggle with blisters.

They discourage perfect conditions that give birth to blisters, such as sweat and waterproof upper shoe material.

Considering that your foot carries itself in a more natural form, minimalist shoes are the best option to provide conditions that make it feel next.

Minimalist shoes have limitations like terrain one can take them to; for instance, they are unsuitable for rocky and hard surfaces. They have limited ability for shock absorption, such that if you are a heel striker person, you may find yourself in deep pain after a distance.
Minimalist shoes’ effects on gait and foot strike.

They present natural conditions that do not include motion control technology. Moreover, when running or walking, you hardly find yourself changing your gait and foot strike. This tends to be a forefoot strike or midfoot strike. Essential tips you need to consider when buying minimalist shoes are to try them and see if they fit you well.

Check that they have a balanced sole height from your heel stretching down to the toes. To find out if the sole is flexible, you need to get both ends on it, one holding the heel side and the other by the toe side. Bend it by the midpoint and see if it does so instantly instead of being firm and folding gradually.

Minimalist brands include Vivobarefoot, Lems Primal Shoes, Ahinsa Bindu Barefoot shoes, among others. So good look in your pursuit for a genuine minimalist shoe!

Are minimalist running shoes bad?

Minimalist shoes do provide a lot of benefits to some runners. They offer better shock absorption and decrease the risk of injury. Minimalist shoes are helpful because they allow a natural foot gait. They also will enable the development of the low arch and stable foot.

However, minimalist shoes have been associated with heel fractures because of the lack of heel cushioning. People with high arches and rigid foot types tend to face problems with minimalist shoes.

What is the point of minimalist shoes?

Minimalist shoes allow the feet to function inside the shoe the same way as barefoot. They also help with ankle flexibility, toe engagement, and encouraging overall foot strength. When you wear minimalist shoes, you practice foot striking rather than heel striking.

Some manufacturers are biased when it comes to designing minimalist shoes. Minimalist shoes act like protective clothing or ornamental dressing that protects your foot. They lack the concept behind the invention.

Most minimalist shoes have a wide toe box that allows a natural toe splay. Tapering toe boxes aren’t a feature of minimalist shoes.

A minimalist shoe has no heel elevation or toe spring. It should be flat-soled from heel to toe. The sole is easily bent or twisted in many directions.

Another point of minimalist shoes is that they should provide stability to your foot and ankle, allowing your foot to be strong and enabling natural arch support.

Minimalist Pros

  • They reduce foot injuries.
  • Allow a natural foot gait.
  • Improves foot muscle function
  • Improves foot strength


  • Using minimalist shoes for a long time can reduce the mobility and flexibility of the foot.
  • They can cause heel fractures, especially to people with high arches

Running shoes minimalist vs. traditional

Minimalist shoes are lightweight with a minimum degree of cushioning. Traditional shoes offer a maximum level of cushioning with a heel drop of about 10 mm.

Traditional shoes have more substance in the heel compared to minimalist shoes. The heel is ideal for people who suffer from Achilles tendonitis.

Minimalist shoes allow a more natural running gait compared to traditional shoes. Traditional shoes will enable you to depend on the heel.

Minimalist shoes add less weight to a runner’s foot; the runner will move faster. Traditional shoes have a bit of weight which can cause a speed reduction.

Minimalist vs Maximalist

To understand the difference between minimalist and maximalist shoes, you must understand their features. Minimalist shoes closely mimic barefoot. The purpose is to allow the foot to behave the same way as barefoot. Maximalist shoes have ample cushioning and wide midsoles. You can quickly identify a maximalist shoe by just looking at its midsole. If the midsole seems more significant than the shoe itself, it’s probably a minimalist shoe.

Minimalist shoes have a low stack so the level of cushioning is very light.      

Maximalist shoes have a lot of cushioning that is a high stack.

The heel drop of minimalist shoes is low, ranging from 0-4mm. Maximalist shoes have a high heel drop going between 10-12 mm.

There’s a lot of motion control in maximalist shoes and contains many motion control features. Minimalist shoes are flexible with no motion control features.

Because of the difference in cushioning levels, minimalist shoes are generally lighter than maximalist shoes.

Is it reasonable to run in barefoot shoes?

Conventional shoes have been reported to cause many foot conditions. The more cushioned heel makes it difficult for the foot to rehabilitate effectively.

Barefoot shoes aren’t only best for your feet, but they allow you to run naturally, like when you are barefoot. They are foot health positive and reduce a lot of foot injuries.

Additionally, they assist in providing body and foot stability and add on foot muscle strength. There’s a lot of activation in your ankle muscles, legs, and hips, necessary for balance and coordination.

Are barefoot running shoes safe?

The purpose of barefoot running shoes is to offer protection on your feet while ensuring desirable aspects of running barefoot. Barefoot shoes mimic the natural barefoot in several ways. The boots look like gloves rather than shoes. They are very light, lower to the ground, and are significantly less cushioned.

Barefoot running shoes are flexible, allowing you to gain foot stability and foot strength. However, if you want to start using barefoot running shoes, you have to take your time transitioning. Barefoot running shoes may cause a lot of pressure on the foot. Some injuries may come with barefoot running shoes and if you have foot problems, consult your podiatrist first.

Pros and cons of going barefoot

Going barefoot used to be a none common thing. Nowadays, it seems to be something that podiatrists even recommend. It is more natural and good for your feet.


  • It strengthens your feet.
  • Allow overall sensory coordination.
  • Minimizes the possibility of foot injuries or foot conditions.
  • It allows fungal-free foot growth. Going barefoot helps with foot aeration, which reduces the chances of getting foot fungus.
  • Provides a good balance by strengthening the feet and leg muscles.


  • Barefoot running can put pressure on your feet, leading to foot pain.
  • Some environments require your foot to be protected and aren’t suitable for barefoot, for example, hiking and public places.
  • You may slam your feet, leading to injuries.

Do minimalist shoes strengthen your feet?

The answer is yes. Because minimalist shoes mimic barefoot, they allow foot muscle strength. There’s a lot of stability, allowing a natural foot gait. When you want to start the minimalist way, always take your time in transition to avoid any injuries.

Are minimalist shoes a fad?

With many benefits of using minimalist shoes, they can’t quickly become a fad. Some podiatrists and doctors recommend minimalist shoes for foot health and protection. A lot of runners still believe and see the benefit of minimalist shoes. Many designs are being introduced each time with different manufacturers. Some old designs of minimalist shoes are fading, and because nothing stays forever, eventually, they will become a fad.

Do marathon runners use barefoot shoes?

Yes, you can always run a marathon with barefoot shoes and most marathon runners do so. You have to take your time starting with shorter distances and moving on to longer distances.

You have to master the basics of barefoot running to start a marathon with barefoot shoes. Train yourself first to run using barefoot shoes, doing exercises, and running shorter distances.

Start by excelling in a 1k run, a warm-up exercise. Mark any pains you feel and listen to your body.

Move on to taking 5k runs and team up with other runners to get some motivation.

Proceed to half a marathon and test your body to manage running long distances with barefoot shoes. Always check for any foot injuries paying attention to any pains. Relax and always proceed when you feel better. With time, you will see that your patience will guarantee a healthy marathon barefoot shoe run.

Hi there. This is Clare. Dave and I manage this site. We are outdoor enthusiasts. Most of the content is about products that we love using or have researched.
Latest posts by Dave & Clare Thompson (see all)


We’d love to keep you updated with our latest news and offers 😎

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Leave a Comment