What the heck’s the difference?? Let’s go through each & highlight the differences.
Thus, if you’re thinking of a switch, there will be insight into why…
Minimalist – these are a line of shoes developed by most of the major (& not-so-major) running shoe companies. Over the past few years, they have jumped on the band-wagon in response to many runners being motivated by the book ‘Born to Run’ to run in LESS. There also has been more research into the merits of mid-foot vs. heel-strike running, barefoot running vs. shod running etc. These shoes run the gamet from the NB Minimus to the Nike Free. They now go to a ‘zero’ heel drop & thickness & weight that rival racing flats. The problem is many still have a toe lift & still have a rather thick sole ‘protecting’ the feet from Mother Earth.
Barefoot Shoes – these include the Vibram FFs, Adidas AdiPur, the Merrill glove to name a few. Generally, the original, ‘classic’ version of these get you about as close to barefoot without being barefoot as possible. They have zero drop & zero toe raise – thus permitting a better toe flail, better grip & better mid-foot push-off. Again, though, you have a layer of durable material separating you from Mother Earth
Pure Barefoot – this gets your sloes in direct contact with the running surface. There is instant proprioceptive & nerve stimulation that in turn activates all of the foot muscles/tendons/ligaments to fire & support the running action. You learn quickly the importance of tight, light, compact, forward running & the toughening up of the soles. Once you gradually progress to caressing & scooting on Mother Earth, avoidable soft tissues injuries will be a thing of the past. You will come to love the feel of the instant feedback & the resultant smooth, quiet, powerful forward action as you run.
This is simply my interpretation based on personal experience & training 100s of people in the squat/scoot style of mid-foot/barefoot running.
Learn to Run, INJURY FREE! Sign Up for an upcoming clinic or seminar.