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This minimalist runner's confession

All minimalist shoes.  98% of my runs occur in these shoes.  I even barefoot run on and off. And I spent most of last summer barefoot running.  I have researched the topic and am convinced that barefoot/minimalist running is really the best for the body.

But, I have a confession.  I have recently put something in my minimalist running sneakers.  Custom orthotics.

Yes, you read that correctly.

Custom Orthotics

I admit, I was VERY opposed to them. I would not even listen to the doctors and chiropractors who kept telling me that I needed them.  Not one could give me a good reason that they would work.  Plus, they were so expensive even with insurance, that I would not even consider them.

What changed?

First, barefoot and minimalist running has been great. It is 1000% better than the motion control sneakers I was in, but it was not without its problems.  I had mid back pain when I got to 5 miles.  I had slight plantar facitiis issues develop.  I got some horrible shin splints.  And I had IT band issues.  So, minimalist running was not the "cure all" for me that I had hoped it would be.

Second, I recently went to a new chiropractor.  She is trained in many different areas and I went to her for scar tissue work.  During my initial meeting with her, she took one look at my feet (I was wearing flip flops) and asked if I had problems with back pain, etc while running.  I explained my myriad of problems and then she, as all other chiropractors had done, told me I needed custom orthotics.

I blew her off.  I told her I barefoot/minimalist run.  I gave her a brief explanation of how I did not think custom orthotics were not for me.  And then she explained something.

Not my foot!
I do not have normal feet.  My second and third toes are both longer than my big toe (It is called Morton's toe).  She went on to explain that that throws of my center of gravity on my foot and so my body has to place the weight differently on the foot because of that.  She did say that people with normal feet benefit from barefoot running because their center of gravity is where it should be.

Then she did a scan of my feet.  And, after a year of minimalist running, my arches were as flat as they were a year ago.  When I saw the scan I was so upset.  I thought, for sure, that my feet would have changed during that time. But they haven't.  And I spend most of my days barefoot.

That convinced me to at least try the orthotics.  That, and the fact that I was able to get them at cost, which is cheaper that I could get them through insurance.

My custom orthotics are in my Pearl Izumi Streaks right now and I will tell you that they do feel good.  It is a totally different feel from the motion control sneakers I used to wear.  It will be interesting to see how they affect my running and my injury rate!


  1. totally giggling over orthotics in minimalist shoes


    but hey-whatever gets you running pain free


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