Minimal shoes

Discussion in 'Health & Fitness' started by OTMPut, Nov 25, 2013.

  1. OTMPut

    OTMPut Hall of Fame

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    I took a chance with my NB minimus shoe for a fun hit on the court. Ended up playing nearly two months in it - few local league matches and a singles tournament.

    I found them very comfortable, very good traction on hard courts and carpet courts and super light. Feet are relaxed in these and that keeps my legs relaxed and that improves foot work and speed.

    Anyone else tried these?

    [​IMG]
     
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  2. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    Which Minimus shoe is this? It looks like NB has at least 5 different Minimus shoes for running, a 20v3 trainer and a Minimus 80 Multi-sport. I have been using the NB 730 (v2) for a few weeks now. It is supposed to be similar to the Miminus running shoes. I often use them for walking and tried them for a short time playing badminton. However, I not believe that I will ever use these for an extended period on the tennis court or the badminton court.

    http://www.newbalance.com/NB-Minimus/minimus,default,pg.html
     
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  3. OTMPut

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  4. OTMPut

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    I think i am going to stock up a few pairs. These are going to be my tennis shoes.
     
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  5. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    Is this shoe really appropriate for tennis? Your link has the Minimus 10 listed as a Hiking/Multi-Sport shoe whereas the link I provided shows the 10v2 to be a running shoe. Are these not the same shoe? If not, NB's marketing and naming convention leave something to be desired.

    Running shoes are designed for forward motion and, as such, are not suitable for tennis. Tennis includes some forward motion but also requires frequent starts/stops, pivoting, jumping and considerable lateral movement. I have seen/heard some staunch advocates of minimalist shoes for running indicate that their beloved shoe was not really suitable for tennis.
     
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  6. goran_ace

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    Do those shoes leave black marks all over the court?
     
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  7. WildVolley

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    I like the idea but not the shoe price.

    How's the toe box width? How is the durability on hard courts?

    The lower stack height on minimal shoes makes them better for lateral movement than you'd think, if the construction is strong enough to handle the cutting and stopping.
     
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  8. Say Chi Sin Lo

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  10. Say Chi Sin Lo

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    Those finger shoes? Naw no thanks. They make my feet look like claws.
     
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  11. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    You might want to hold off before you invest too heavily. I would give a few more months, maybe 6, to see how the shoes hold up on courts that are hard & abrasive. Ditto for your feet, your shins, your knees, your hips, etc.

    I currently have 2 pairs of minimalist shoes -- one pair of Sockwa's and the pair of NB 730's that I mentioned previously. Also thinking about getting a pair of Nike Free 5.0's (which have a little more support than my other 2 pairs). I would walk/run and workout with these shoes but, if I used then for tennis, it would only be for some casual hitting -- not for hardcore competition.

    I don not believe that any pros are using minimalist shoes for tennis. Not aware of any high level junior or collegiate players using them either. Note that Roger Federer is promoting the Nike Free 5.0 shoes but, to my knowledge, is still using the Nike Zoom Vapor 9 (Tour) for tennis. Check out Roger's ad for the Nike Free shoes. A good study in movement & very entertaining:

    http://www.nicekicks.com/2013/05/14/nike-free-trainer-5-0-fly-swatter-ad-featuring-roger-federer/

    If you hold off for a while, it looks like a tennis-specific minimalist shoe will be available in 2014. VivoBarefoot is expected to release a tennis zero-drop shoe next year, followed by a similar approach from New Balance, to be released in 2015. "Tennis is lateral and linear," says Ken Thornby, a marketing executive for New Balance. "We are seeing how foot strike would benefit from a zero-drop shoe. We're finding the foot is more responsive."

    http://www.mensjournal.com/health-fitness/exercise/barefoot-goes-beyond-running-20130605
     
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  12. Povl Carstensen

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    Nike Free is not really minimal. Too high a sole for that, which make them laterally unstable, I agree. With minimal shoes, being so low too the ground, it is the opposite, stability wise.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2013
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  13. WildVolley

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    The Nike Free do have sole flexibility but the drop is pretty exaggerated, though I've seen guys who shave them mostly level.:shock:

    In my experience of trying a pair on, I was shocked at how tight the toe box was. I would have ripped the sides out on those in no time at all. Nike Free shoes seem to be made either for people with narrow feet or whose toes have been squashed inward from years of wearing constricting shoes.

    I'm still hoping for a zero-drop tennis shoe made with a legitimate hard-court outsole. Ideally one with an outsole durability guarantee and a very low stack height. That would be awesome.:)
     
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  14. WildVolley

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    I didn't read your post carefully. I'm definitely excited about a zero-drop NB tennis shoe, especially if I can get it in a slightly wider last.

    Interesting to note that those who own Roger's actual shoes note that they are built on a custom last and are noticeably wider than the commercially available Vapor 9s. So it is good to know I'm not the only one who finds Nike shoes usually too narrow.
     
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  15. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    This depends on which of the Nike Free shoes you are talking about. The Free Run 2 or Free 3.0 shoes are closer to barefoot (< 4mm drop) than the earlier Free 5.0 shoes (8mm drop). The moderately-cushioned Free 5.0 are supposed to be about half-way between barefoot and a conventional (fully cushioned) shoe.

    http://www.runningtechniquetips.com/2012/05/the-new-2012-nike-free-range-explained/
     
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  16. OTMPut

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    @ SytemicAnomaly:
    My feet are reasonably strong with soles callused.
    I usually run barefoot (use huraches on trails). Just an a half marathon barefoot in 2:00. I also squat/deadlift decent weight barefoot.
    So i am OK on the courts with the minimus 10s.

    When i grew up i did not have shoes until i was 14. Even played basketball and ran track barefoot in school! I find tennis shoes a bit clunky and my feet feel as if they are in a cast.
     
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  17. Povl Carstensen

    Povl Carstensen Legend

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    To me, none of the Free's are minimal shoes, but you are right that the 2's and 3's are closer to the ground.
     
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  18. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    ^ Altho' it has a bit of cushioning, the Free 3.0 has a very minimal feel to it IMHO. Ultralight weight, very flexible, only a slight drop and it fits/feels like a sock.

    http://www.runningwarehouse.com/runningreview.html?pcode=NF3V5M6

    OTOH, I prefer the less barefoot feel of the Free 5.0 shoes. This can be a great transition shoe for many that don't want a radical switch to the extreme barefoot feel of a true minimalist shoe. As such, it can still function as a foot-strengthening tool according to several reviews.

    http://www.runningwarehouse.com/runningreview.html?pcode=NF50SM1

    Reminds me of my own childhood. My 1st four yrs of school were spent in the Hawaiian Islands. It's not that I went barefoot all that much myself. Many of the locals, however, did so quite a bit. Many had no problem walking on hot pavement or loos gravel. Some had feet that were so tough that they would run and slide on the loose gravel in their bare feet.
     
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  19. Posture Guy

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    This is interesting. I had no idea shoe companies were looking to make zero -drop tennis shoes. I've got super narrow feet, I wear 12/B. I'm interested in trying these.

    At our clinic, we are HUGE fans of minimalist shoes and recommend them to nearly all our clients, with great results. I'm partial to the Merrell Barefoot line, but there are a number of good ones out there. But I wear clunky New Balance tennis shoes, only ones I can find that fit.

    It's funny, I did go out one night in my Merrells for a light session with the ball machine. My achilles and calves felt like crap the next day. I do have questions about how good it is to wear a minimalist shoe in a sport like tennis that requires so much explosive lateral and front/back movement. I'll wear the Merrell's to go for a run, no problem. But tennis? No way.
     
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  20. WildVolley

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    I really haven't spent that much of my life barefoot, but I've never had any issue cutting or doing explosive front/back movement while barefoot. I've done this playing tag on grass as a kid and messing with my dogs as an adult, playing football on the beach and volleyball, and messing around with soccer. Soccer cleats used to be flat soled.

    It seems to me that a flat/low sole is safer for quick changes of direction than most tennis shoes with raised heels and high stack heights. The issues for minimal shoes and tennis for me are that I've grown accustomed to hard heel planting into shots and abrasion resistance (don't want to destroy an expensive shoe). I'd have no issue at all with a zero-drop tennis shoe, but I'd definitely have to change my footwork if I went to a true minimal version.

    Was your heel problem due to bruising or perhaps just a shortened achilles due to years of wearing raised heel shoes?
     
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  21. Posture Guy

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    WV.....have you tried playing soccer or football barefoot on concrete? I can play football barefoot in the grass, no problem except for traction when cutting, but stopping hard, turning, changing directions quickly, VERY different on a tennis court than on a grass field.

    I can run in my barefoot shoes without issue but after a light hitting session my achilles was really tight. Surprised me.

    And I spend 98% of my time either in 0-drop minimalist shoes or barefoot. Only time I ever wear a structured shoe is either playing tennis, or going out somewhere modestly fancy with the wife.
     
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  22. WildVolley

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    I've played soccer barefoot on concrete, but that was a long time ago when I was younger and I wasn't super serious. I've also hit some tennis barefoot on hardcourts, but again, I wasn't doing it very seriously, so I haven't really put it to the test.

    Sounds like you are used to zero drop, so I'll have to adjust my theory. My assumption was that it was probably more due to impact than to having to change direction rapidly on a harder surface if you are used to zero drop. I'm just not ready to accept yet that the higher heels do much of anything on hard surfaces beyond provide more cushioning and impact protection.

    I have a pair of Altra Sampsons that I can perhaps use to play tennis, I'm just wary about chewing them up quickly on hard courts.

    I play tennis mostly in Yonex 304s because my feet love the last shape, but I'm not happy that they have significant drop and stack height. I'll definitely be in line to try the zero-drop NB tennis shoes if they become available. As I recall (perhaps incorrectly) essentially zero-drop tennis shoes were available back in the 1980s, though they still had significant cushioning.
     
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  23. OTMPut

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    If you are used to regular shoes, then you most likely heel strike every time.
    With barefoot or minimalist shoes, you need to use the balls of your feet (and heel more as a gentle balancing part). If you are on balls o your feet you will be very quick.
    But if you wear minimal shoes and you are on heels, you will suffer.
     
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  24. Posture Guy

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    OTMPut...i agree. Given that I rarely wear regular shoes, I don't heel strike when I run. You're right, if you try to run and heel strike in minimalist shoes, you'll pay a price.
     
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  25. Povl Carstensen

    Povl Carstensen Legend

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    If you run or play barefoot there is very little risk that you heelstrike, it feels very wrong. The effect is the same in true minmalist shoes, although a little less.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2013
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  26. Posture Guy

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    yeah, even when I'm in my New Balance tennis shoes, I'm on the balls of my feet the entire time I'm on the court. Was trained to do that when I was a kid.
     
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  27. cheers

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    If you like NB's Minimus line, check out Joe's New Balance Outlet online. Minimus shoes go on sale regularly down to $29.99. I have 3 pairs from there at that price. Love 'em. I also have vivoactive's, inov8's, and Vibram fivefingers and the NB are great deals for $29.99.
     
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  28. BMC9670

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    As a serial toe dragger, I'd chew through these in one session. Even wrap around bumpers only last so long. It's a problem - but I can't seem to not do it.:-?
     
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  29. boramiNYC

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    Heelstriking feeling very wrong is very wrong. Heelstriking is essential in balancing ability and well controlled propulsion, both of which are critical for sports like tennis. BTW I wear NB minimus in the gym but on the court it will tear within an hr.
     
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  30. Lefty5

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    I run in minimalist shoes like these, its fine but you have to be disciplined with where your foot strikes. You have to work hard to change your form or you will get injured. Same goes for Tennis I'm sure, you can't play the same way, you have run differently, lunge for balls differently, all with a mid or forefoot strike. With that said, I can't wait to try them. I didn't know they came out with them for tennis already. Thanks
     
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  31. racertempo

    racertempo Semi-Pro

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    Wow, I cannot believe that people would be able to play tennis is shoes so light......the lateral support just is not there, so I guess you need very very strong ankles.
     
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  32. WildVolley

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    Your comment shows a lack of understanding. If a minimal shoe is too loose on the foot, the foot may actually go over the side causing the shoe to roll around the foot, but this won't cause a roll-over as with a sole with a higher stack height because the foot is already on the ground.

    In other words, lateral support is needed in shoes primarily because of the built up outsole/midsole of the shoe. When your foot is on the ground it doesn't need lateral support. Cutting hard while barefoot is extremely easy. The danger becomes not the ankle roll but sliding out or abrasion on the bottom of the foot.

    It is easy to understand this if you imagine trying to play tennis in platform shoes. You'd want those to be high boots with a lot of lateral support or else you'd roll your ankles constantly.
     
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  33. racertempo

    racertempo Semi-Pro

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    What? Seriously? so when I plant to change directions you are saying that a shoe does not need lateral support? When your foot is on the ground and you are pushing off to go in the other direction, lateral support is absolutely. Your weight is completely moving to your right but you plant your foot and are trying to push off to go in the other direction. Without lateral support your ankle rolls over in this situation. I have and love several light weight shoes similar to these NB Minumus shoes, but on the court in singles it would destroy my ankles on those push stops and push-offs.

    Cutting hard while barefoot is easy? Really? You have amazing ankle strength because I cannot cut easily barefooted. I can plant and cut without major issues while bare footed, but no where near at full speed. At full speed my ankle would crumble with that plant foot and my weight pushing in that direction. There is a reason that 99.9% of all tennis shoes are thicker and heavier on the sides, lateral support. Just look at a running shoe and a tennis shoe and tell me the difference.....the only difference is the side strength of the shoe as that is not needed for running shoes.
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2013
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  34. WildVolley

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    The shoe needs strength if it isn't going to rip apart. You partly have a point if the sole sticks hard to the ground and the foot keeps moving. If it slides off the outsole it tends to want to roll the ankle. But this is minimized in a minimal shoe because the foot doesn't go off much of a ledge as it slides off the sole.

    So I'd agree the shoe needs strength or tightness to the foot but not "support" in terms of a rigid sidewall. Perhaps I just don't understand your definition of support.

    Perhaps I just have better ankle strength but I can cut at full speed on grass or dirt and I'm not slow, though I can no longer run the 100meters in under 11 seconds as I could when I was young.

    The problem with cutting barefoot is primarily one of traction and that tends to cause me to slide out rather than roll the ankle. It isn't fun falling when sliding out, but if my foot isn't up on a shoe I don't roll an ankle.

    I did roll an ankle last year but that was due to a hole in the ground containing the end of a pipe. The grass had grown up and I didn't see it. The inside of my shoe came down on the pipe end and my full weight came down on my rolled ankle. I was on crutches and a walking cast for more than a month.
     
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  35. racertempo

    racertempo Semi-Pro

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    I think we are on the same page just saying it differently. I am a defensive guy in most matches and get to everything under the sun so I like light shoes, but for me the stiffer side support is crucial to me not killing an ankle. I have been back on forth about buying a pair of these minimus shoes just for casual use though. My wife will kill me if I do though, i have a thing for really really light weight shoes and own several similar ones already :oops:
     
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  36. WildVolley

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    I think I'd destroy a minimus shoe in short order on a tennis court so I'd advise against it for tennis use. My most minimal shoe at the moment are a pair of Altra Sampsons, but I won't use them on the court because I think I'd destroy them quickly and I prefer to use them for lifting and walking.

    There's talk about New Balance making a more minimal tennis shoe with true zero drop. Hopefully the stack height won't be too tall. The modern tennis outsoles really are more durable than those from the past and that's worthwhile.
     
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  37. Povl Carstensen

    Povl Carstensen Legend

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    No, the low height to the ground puts less strain on the ankle, less lateral force. Less torgue.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2014
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  38. Povl Carstensen

    Povl Carstensen Legend

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    You can touch the ground first with your heel without slamming it into it. Actually it tilts naturally upwards so the whole foot takes the full impact. It happens naturally. Unless you unnaturally tense your muscels for it to take the whole force, sort of the Charlie Chaplin way of walking.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2014
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  39. RudyHuxtable

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    Cool idea, but I wouldn't recommend playing in minimalist shoes long-term.
    I wear minimalist shoes for frequent trail running, and occassionally for road runs because they match my natural stride much better.
    However, tennis is not so much a natural set of motions.
    Lots of hard cuts, twisting, and planting on a hard, compact surface. Over time, it could be harmful to your finer ligaments and joints not to have a bit more support.
     
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  40. OTMPut

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    A lot of the inefficient movement we execute on the tennis court is also due to the massive protection from the regular tennis shoes. At rec level you see a lot of stomping, thumping and dragging.

    Try minimal shoes, you wont be able to do crazy stuff and actually to some extent, your footwork improves.

    More people are using these on trails and road running. I dont see why these cannot be used on clay, grass or carpet courts.
     
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  41. Povl Carstensen

    Povl Carstensen Legend

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    Yes I only do it on clay and Rebound Ace.
     
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  42. Royce

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    What's harmful to your finer ligaments is not using them.

    Using them will only make them stronger and less prone to injury. People who say the opposite are people who don't use their feet. I don't know how the whole nation got coerced into believing that it's okay to keep our feet weak and supported but well played capitalism, well played.
     
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  43. Chas Tennis

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    I was not too careful in researching tennis shoes and just received a pair Nike Zoom Vapor 9.5s. I wanted:
    1) flexibility at the ball of the foot
    2) less drop from the heel to sole.

    They are probably somewhat more flexible than my current tennis shoes but not as much as I had hoped for.

    I found some measurements in a TW thread for the heel-to-sole drop and am disappointed in the spec for the Nike Zoom Vapor 9.5 that I just received. Thanks newyorkstadium for posting.
    I also received some NB Minimus ..MX20s.. shoes, heel-to-sole drop 4 mm. They are my wear everywhere shoes now, gym shoes, etc., but I don't intend to play tennis or run hard in them.

    Recommendations for a tennis shoe with some minimalist features - flexibility and smaller heel to front sole drop?

    Especially, I want get the flexibility of my big toe back into the normal range and don't want my shoes to work against that goal. http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=516823
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2014
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  44. Povl Carstensen

    Povl Carstensen Legend

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    I see no reason why you should not be able to do so. Just my 2 c. Exept ofcourse you by running hard mean, doing it in a way that would hurt yourself, but you can do that in any shoe.
     
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  45. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    My first reference on minimalist shoes, Running in Boston, says that most people, because of shoe designs with thick heel cushioning, have ingrained heel-first running patterns and cautions against making quick changes for running. I was led to this subject recently because I have mild plantar fasciitis in one heel. I want my next tennis shoes to be more flexible at the toes. ....but I have been tempted to wear my NB Minimus shoes for tennis.

    I am interested in the subject and am researching it. I'd like to see more neutral research reference.
     
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  46. Povl Carstensen

    Povl Carstensen Legend

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    One problem is that the best way to most effectively change your way of moving, is to start out barefooted. The feedback from the ground is more or less guaranteed to make you not slam your heels into the ground for instance. But I believe you can do it in minimal shoes too. But ofcourse: the more cushioning, the less feedback and vice versa.
    I still feel that you should be able to do sports in the Minimus, that is what they are build for. To me, they are sort of a hybrid shoe, with heel cushioning and all.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2014
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  47. Chas Tennis

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    In my precarious circumstances, not young and already injured with a heel injury, I'd like the gradual change rather than the revolutionary change approach, especially since proponents, such as the authors of Running in Boston, seem to advocate a slow and cautious approach to minimalist running.

    In my reading, I heard mentioned briefly some injuries in minimalist runners but have not researched that issue yet.
    I believe that the foot feed back issue is particularly emphasized when wearing thickly cushioned shoes and just walking. Sometimes even my balance seems to be affected. There seems to be better balance feedback when the cushioned soles are by dynamically compressed when running on the court.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2014
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  48. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    Just read in The Runner's World Complete Guide to Minimalism and Barefoot Running

    Running in shoes with lower heel and mid-foot strike require more from the plantar fascia. .....weak fascia......an increase in work load can cause injury.....

    I am going to totally avoid running in minimalist shoes until I am well past my current plantar fasciitis. Only would do after research on know injuries. I realize that the common cushioned shoe designs also have their own issues.

    Some other common injuries in transitioning to minimalist footware are discussed.

    Anyone have some references or experience injuries after starting running or tennis in minimalist shoes?
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2014
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  49. Royce

    Royce Semi-Pro

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    Just by looking at a diagram showing the area of pain you can see what types of things might be able to cause it.

    [​IMG]

    I can totally understand the logic behind "forefoot/midfoot striking require more from the plantar fascia and can cause injury". It sounds like it could be true, but it's not.

    I only had injuries to the area shown in the diagram when I used to walk on my heels all day. This is because you "dorsiflex" a lot more whenever you walk or run with a heel strike which causes a lot of stretching and stress on the plantar fascia.

    [​IMG]

    Go ahead, take off your shoes and try imitating both the foot poses in the two pictures I linked. Dorsiflexing will cause more stress on your foot.

    Honestly, all you need to know is this: everything in your foot can be strengthened. When your foot is strong it is not prone to injury.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2014
    #49
  50. Povl Carstensen

    Povl Carstensen Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2004
    Messages:
    5,755
    The thing is, when you run without shoes, you automatically run cautious, unless you are very insensitive or...stupid. Ofcourse you should take it easy the first times you run barefoot or in minimal shoes, because you are involving some new muscels. But it is really not dramatic if you just use some common sense.
    Many studies show that 50% or more runners in shoes get injured every year (most recently a study here in Denmark). I have not seen documentation that barefoot or minimal shoes should be any worse than that.
    But I second that you should be sensitive to your injury, shoes or no shoes.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2014
    #50

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