Education

How to Transition to Minimalist Shoes

Posted By Robyn Hughes, ND

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Comments
April 16 2015
Albert Posthumus

Thanks for all the information about transition to the best way of using our feet and toes. Since december last year I started to forefoot strike, and its going better and better. Excellent website!!!!!

Albert Posthumus
The Netherlands

April 16 2015
Natural Footgear

Hi, Albert,

Thank you for your message and your kind words! We are thrilled that you’ve been enjoying our site. It’s our pleasure to be able to offer helpful info and products that support natural foot health. If you have any additional thoughts or questions, please do send them our way.

Kind regards,
Marty Hughes, DC

April 16 2015
Albert Posthumus

What’s your opinion on the B2R shoes with split toe and the training methods of Eric Orton? Running is jumping. What’s the best position of your toes with forefoot strike?

April 16 2015
Natural Footgear

Hi, Albert,

Thank you for your question. I haven’t personally inspected the B2R shoes, but it does appear that they include some foot health-positive features (flat, flexible soles, for example) and other features that are less favorable (tapering toe boxes). I really can’t offer more of an opinion on these shoes without seeing them firsthand. I’m also not familiar with Eric Orton’s training method, so I can’t offer any thoughts here. I’m of the opinion that the best position of the toes for a forefoot strike is splayed (to create a broad landing platform).

Cheers,
Marty Hughes, DC

April 16 2015
Tyler Vincent

This is an absolutely brilliant article and so very helpful for those looking to make the best of what took nature billions of years of evolution and testing to achieve. Thank you so very much.

April 16 2015
Natural Footgear

Thank you SO MUCH for your incredibly thoughtful comment, Tyler! I’m thrilled that you found the post helpful, and I really appreciate your kind words. The pleasure is all mine.

Cheers,
Robyn Hughes, ND

April 16 2015
Josephine Helsabeck

Can a lift (approximately 1/2 inch) be worn in a minimalist shoe? The tibia of one of my legs is that much shorter than the other leg. I am currently using Correct Toes to help correct arthritic toes with bunions and toe overlap. Thank you.

April 16 2015
Natural Footgear

Hi, Josephine,

Thank you for your question. We always prefer a full foot-length lift as opposed to a heel lift (I’m not sure which one you’re used to using), as this keeps your heel and forefoot on a level plane and encourages natural arch support (www.naturalfootgear.com/blogs/education/17920972-what-is-natural-arch-support). You might consider seeking out a cobbler in your area to see if he or she might be able to add material to the sole of your minimalist shoes to balance out your limb length discrepancy (this would render the shoe less minimalist, but it would preserve your foot health).

Kind regards,
Marty Hughes, DC

April 16 2015
Donna Kurimay

My standard walking shoe is a women’s 10.5/5E without toe spacers (with a narrow heal). I have had bunion surgery and bunionette surgery (scraping the arthritic bone on both feet). I also have one surgically “corrected”(?) hammertoe (2nd toe), and on the other foot, the same toe has a cushion underneath. My feet tend to supinate. I wear corrective inserts.

What’s the chance that Lems shoes would work with my feet?

April 16 2015
Natural Footgear

Hi, Donna,

Thank you for your comments. All of the Lems shoes have exceptionally wide toe boxes. And because they’re widest at the ends of the toes, they usually do well to accommodate bunions and hammertoes. You can read more about natural footwear solutions to these problems here:

www.naturalfootgear.com/blogs/education/tagged/conditions.

Most customers find that the Lems shoes accommodate their inserts, though sometimes removing the included (optional) liner is necessary.

If we can answer any further questions for you, just let us know!

Kind Regards,
Andrew Potter

April 16 2015
Karen B.

I received my first pair of minimalist shoes 1 week ago and have worn them almost exclusively since then, for treadmill, hiking, and everyday use. I haven’t experienced any of the things described in the article. I like the feel of the ground and the lightness of the shoes. The only side effect I have experienced is slight stretching pain in my calf muscles. I wore my old shoes to the gym by mistake this morning and didn’t like them at all. Is a transition period necessary for everyone?

April 16 2015
Natural Footgear

Hi, Karen,

Thank you for your question. And thank you for providing some history for us! We’re always happy to hear about individuals who are successfully transitioning to foot-healthy footwear. Calf soreness is quite common among individuals transitioning to minimalist footwear (especially in the lower portion of the calf). In our experience, this transition period is a necessity for most, and we often recommend regulated use for individuals who are undergoing the initial change. As the feet and legs strengthen and adapt, the symptoms usually cease, and this is a good time to fully integrate minimalist footwear into your activities (and hopefully experience the joys of uninhibited natural foot function!).

If you have any further questions or concerns, just send them our way!

Kind Regards,
Andrew Potter

April 16 2015
BillD

Good article. I am trying to figure out how quickly I can transition to wearing minimalist (Altra) shoes, especially when running trails. I have been mostly wearing zero drop shoes for everyday wear for a few months and a 10 mm drop racing flat for running. Everyday I do stretching exercises for running. One complication that I have is that about 6 weeks ago I hit a root buried in leaves while running and fractured the second bone in my big toe. So, I had to take a month off from running and my toe is still stiff. My podiatrist said that my X-rays were good, but recommended a running shoe with a stiffer sole. However, I now seem fine while running. I was a competitive runner in high school and college and now at 67, I want to get my 10k time under 45 minutes. My plan, which started today, is to wear my Altra shoes for warmup and a mile or two and then to switch to the racing flats for longer or faster running.

April 16 2015
Natural Footgear

Hi, Bill,

Thank you for your message. We’re happy to hear that you’re planning to transition to minimalist footwear! It’s difficult for us to recommend an exact amount of time needed for the transition, as all individuals respond differently to these types of changes. We often recommend transitioning to a minimal-drop shoe before fully engaging with zero-drop, but in your case, it seems as though you’re already on your way. Your plan to wear them for a warmup before switching to your racing flats sounds like a good idea. The most important thing is to listen to your body and allow proper healing time if and when soreness occurs.

We hope this has been helpful! Please keep us updated on your progress, and if you have any further questions or concerns, please do send them our way!

Kind Regards,
Andrew Potter

April 17 2015
lotusgdess

Do you have any videos or animated films that actually show visually the way the foot is supposed to make contact with the floor when walking?

April 17 2015
Natural Footgear

Hi, lotus,

Thank you for your question. This is one of our favorite pages for viewing different kinds of foot strikes:

www.barefootrunning.fas.harvard.edu/4BiomechanicsofFootStrike.html

This page is maintained by Professor Daniel Lieberman, a leader in the field of barefoot biomechanics.

Cheers,
Marty Hughes, DC

April 17 2015
Marilyn Raskin

Thanks for all the great info, however I am still not sure of which shoe I should buy if all I want to do is walk and perhaps some mild hiking. Do I need to purchase one style shoe and then transition to another style? Please advise.

Thanks,
Marilyn

April 17 2015
Natural Footgear

Hi, Marilyn,

Thank you for your message. The Lems Boulder Boot (www.naturalfootgear.com/pages/lems-boulder-boots) is a great option for both activities that you mentioned. The Lems Primal 2 (www.naturalfootgear.com/pages/lems-primal-2-shoes) is another fantastic option. Both models are lightweight, flat from heel to toe, and possess a toe box that encourages natural toe splay. If you’re used to wearing conventional footwear, you may want to consider Altra shoes (www.naturalfootgear.com/pages/altra-shoes) as well, as these are great transitional shoes, especially for folks participating in outdoor activities.

Kind regards,
Marty Hughes, DC

June 17 2016
Sherry

I have had two surgeries for a neuroma. I’m studying various options to relieve pain.

June 17 2016
Natural Footgear

Hi, Sherry,

Thank you for your message. And thank you for checking out our article. To help guide you in your transition to minimalist shoes and to help you better understand natural approaches to neuromas, I have included some resources here:

Neuromas:
www.naturalfootgear.com/blogs/education/17888848-neuromas

Neuromas Email Course:
www.naturalfootgear.com/pages/do-you-have-foot-pain

Neuromas and Natural Foot Health:
www.naturalfootgear.com/blogs/education/17888880-neuromas-natural-foot-health

Six Ways to Restore Foot Health After Surgery:
www.naturalfootgear.com/blogs/education/17914760-six-ways-to-restore-foot-health-after-surgery

Neuromas: Conventional vs. Natural Approaches:
www.naturalfootgear.com/blogs/education/17888868-neuromas-conventional-vs-natural-approaches

Please do let us know if you have any additional questions!

Kind regards,
Laura Trentman

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